Huntingdon is a small college of 1,100 students here in Montgomery. They have a football team that belongs to the USA South Athletic Conference. They play schools such as LaGrange College, Brevard and North Carolina Wesleyan.
Now join me in suspending reality for a moment and imagine that the Huntingdon coaching staff spends a week at the University of Alabama using a fine tooth comb to analyze every thing Nick Saban and his staff do. They see what their players eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They take videos on all the drills they do in their weight room. They make copies of every routine their University of Alabama counterpart does, from the time practice starts to what time players go to bed.
Now. How many readers of this blog believe that in 12 months Huntingdon will be playing for a national football championship in the Rose Bowl?
By now you are probably roaring with laughter and saying that is the dumbest thing you have ever heard.
But is it? Because this is exactly what is now being proposed in Alabama when it comes to selecting a new math course of study. You can see for yourself by reading this. Scroll down to this paragraph:
“In a statement to AL.com, a spokesperson for Ivey wrote that she wants to reconvene the course of study committee to examine the “correlations between the proposed curriculum and that of the top six performing states on the NAEP.” Those six, according to Ivey’s letter to Mackey, are Massachusetts, Minnesota, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Virginia, New Jersey, and Wyoming.”
Are you kidding me? Haven’t we chased this NAEP rabbit before. Remember when Governor Robert Bentley said that since Massachusetts had the highest NAEP math scores in the nation that we should hire Mike Sentance to be state superintendent because he was from the Bay State.
How did that turn out?
It was a disaster from the beginning because in no form or fashion is Alabama similar to Massachusetts in indicators that tell us what to expect from our schools. And guess what, the same is true for Minnesota, Virginia, New Jersey and Wyoming.
Here’s proof. You need money to spend on improving schools. The median household income in Alabama is $44,509. This is significantly lower than the five states we want to examine. It is only 65 percent of the median in Minnesota. Which brings us to how much each state now spends per pupil. Alabama is $10,142. Wyoming is $17,700.
Only 23.5 percent of everyone in Alabama is a college graduate. That compares to 42.5 percent in Massachusetts. There are more than one million more people in the Bay State who have a college degree than in Alabama. This is a HUGE difference because it means one state has a much stronger “education foundation” than the other. Alabama’s percent of high school graduates is 84.3. This is the lowest of the other five, with Minnesota, Massachusetts and Wyoming being more than 92 percent.
So in every measure that speaks to educational success such as money and a proven interest in education, Alabama is behind all of the folks we will study.
Governor Ivey, I know you are commuted to better schools in Alabama. You have shown this by simply attending more state school board meetings than other governors have. But it does us no more good to compare apples to oranges than it does to think we can turn Huntingdon’s football team into the one they have in Tuscaloosa.
We’ve just had a committee of more than 30 of the best math teachers in Alabama spend more than 20 days and 3,500 hours putting together a new math course of study. And not one of them from Minnesota, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey or Wyoming. And if anyone understands Alabama students and what they are capable of achieving, I believe they do.
Lets forget the make believe world and listen to our own experts..