Voices That Must Be Heard

For too long we have disrespected those who have trained and worked all their lives to be educators.  It is dumbfounding.  We don’t do this with medical doctors.  We don’t do it with attorneys or mechanics or welders or carpenters.  Yet we constantly act as if those who work with children, who have years of schooling and years of experience, have learned nothing and so their knowledge is ignored.

Exhibit ONE for this attitude was when our state board of education hired a state superintendent in 2016 with no formal training in education who never worked a day as a teacher, principal or administrator of any kind.  It was the ultimate expression of disrespect.

And so it is again when the state board is supposed to look at a resolution on Aug. 10 to cast aside millions of taxpayer dollars and countless hours of blood, sweat and tears by teachers simply because someone’s political agenda is not aligned with the common sense of educators.

As we discussed here, once again we will spend time rehashing for the umpteenth time the merits of our Alabama College & Career Ready standards.

I have shared thoughts of bona fide, honest-to-goodness, real life professional educators in the previous post.  But here are two more than must be heard.  One is a principal and one a superintendent.  The principal first:

“I didn’t major in curriculum design.  I majored in elementary education. I have spent thirty of the fifty-two years God has given me on earth in the same elementary school. 

I am not the right person to ask about research and case studies.  I am just one of the puppets continually jerked around by the puppet
masters in Montgomery. I do know that if the folks in Montgomery would decide on SOMETHING, on ANYTHING, and stick with it, it would make life in schools a lot better.

There are several things which should be considered when they waffle yet again on what they want us to do.  What about all of the professional development we have received?  Do we start over?  What about all of our efforts to make sure the teachers had access to the standards, understood them, and were teaching them?  Do we start over?  What about the textbooks that our district
couldn’t afford to buy in the first place?  Do we throw them out and buy more we can’t afford?  Which people will decide on our new standards? 

This is my favorite part of the resolution

Whereas the emphasis on the Common Core standards and accountability may have deterred smart, creative young people from entering into careers in public education

That would be funny if I didn’t know that folks in power in Montgomery actually believe that.  Then it just becomes sad.  The circus in Montgomery makes people not want to do this and makes those of us that do it not want to much longer.” 

The superintendent:

“I am at a loss for words as it relates to this except a couple of words I will not use in an effort to stay professional. Let’s see….eliminate Aspire and go to Scantron for one year…..send out RFP for assessment for the next year.  (Why is RFP on assessment being sent out before standards are defined?)    Very smart move to ensure teachers go two full years without any continuity of data that can be used to drive instruction.

Next begin process to review and revamp standards which if done correctly will take quite some time. Maybe 18 months at best. Does this mean we will end up with Scantron for two years or will we adopt an assessment ahead of decision on standards? Given the assessment must align with standards, not sure how this will work. I suspect the decision on what standards will look like and what assessment will be has been made.  State superintendent should know that decision on standards must come first.

I bet you lunch that if he stays he will put together a committee on standards and on assessment and although he says it will be a collaborative process he will simply lead or have his people lead us to a predetermined place. Again, demonstrating a complete disrespect for rank and file educators.

I hope there will be some positive developments soon. If not, I think we are going to see more people speaking up. I talked with another superintendent this week who is absolutely furious and ready for open rebellion.”

The way things have unfolded in the last 12 months, open rebellion sounds better and better.



One Response to Voices That Must Be Heard

  1. Another effort to repeal the Alabama College and Career ready standards! The Legislature tried it at least 5 times (maybe 7!). Alabama PTA SUPPORTS THE ALABAMA COLLEGE AND CAREER READY STANDARDS.

    Birmingham Sheraton Hotel
    April 19-20, 2013
    Alabama College and Career Readiness Standards
    WHEREAS, Alabama PTA is the strongest statewide organization working exclusively on behalf of children and youth and has a primary objective to strengthen the family unit through parental involvement; and
    WHEREAS, Alabama PTA has, since its inception in 1911, worked to “bring into closer relation the home, school and community so parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the education of children youth;” and
    WHEREAS, the Alabama College and Career Readiness Standards, erroneously referred to as common core standards, initiative is a joint effort led by the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers with representation from educators, content experts, researchers, national organizations, and community groups; and
    WHEREAS, the career readiness standards for English language arts and mathematics define the knowledge and skills K-12 students need to graduate from high school and succeed in college and careers; and
    WHEREAS, the Alabama State Board of Education adopted the Alabama College and Career Readiness Standards, along with selected Alabama standards on November 18, 2010; and
    WHEREAS, by combining both the Alabama College and Career Readiness Standards and other select standards, the Alabama State Board of Education has adopted one of the most comprehensive sets of standards in the nation, ensuring students are prepared for a successful future in a global workforce with full implementation for the 2013-2014 school year; NOW THEREFORE, BE IT
    RESOLVED, that Alabama PTA requests all elected officials in Alabama to support the common core state standards and collaborate with the Alabama State Board of Education to ensure that Alabama students are receiving a high quality education; and, BE IT FURTHER,
    RESOLVED, that copies of this Resolution be forwarded to each member of the Alabama legislature, Governor Robert J. Bentley, and Dr. Thomas R. Bice, State Superintendent of Education.

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