Tag: Education Reform

Need Your Help:  Ask AL School Board to Replace Common Core Math March 14th

Alabama Must Get Rid of Common Core Math &
Replace it With a Proven, High Quality Math Curriculum

Alabama public schools have an OBLIGATION to provide a sound education for all students.

The proposed Alabama 2019 Course of Study Mathematics acknowledges that “Like more than 40 other states across the nation, the 2019 Alabama Course of Study: Mathematics builds on the Common Core State Standards.” This proposal doubles down on the Common Core approach, which has been a historic failure in our state as well as in the rest of the country.

In the years before Alabama implemented Common Core in math in 2012, our students were making gradual progress in raising math achievement, including on the respected National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The improvement in math stopped after Common Core—in fact, our students are scoring lower on the most recent NAEP (2017) than before Common Core was implemented! (Attached Graph #1 shows the average annual math gain of our 8th grade students before and after Common Core—the difference is like night and day!)

Common Core was supposed to improve Alabama math education but on the most recent ACT math test (2018), our high school students scored lower than all but three states. Similarly, Alabama ranks nearly last among states in mathematics on the 2017 NAEP test (only one other state performs slightly worse).

The greatest negative impact of Common Core in Alabama has been on average and lower students, whose parents are often not able to hire tutors to make up for the flaws of Common Core. The percent of Alabama students attaining at least a basic grasp of mathematics was increasing before Common Core according to the NAEP test, but it has declined since Common Core was adopted. (Attached Graph #2)

Common Core’s lack of success in Alabama is not unique. Before Common Core was adopted by nearly all states, national ACT math scores were slowly increasing but after Common Core the national scores declined! (Attached Graph #3) Alabama’s math achievement problems since we adopted Common Core are not the fault of our students or our teachers, nor are they due to insufficient funding—they are due to Common Core.

The proposed Alabama 2019 Course of Study Mathematics not only leaves Common Core in place in the elementary grades, but it goes beyond Common Core to recommend an even more radical and experimental high school mathematics course sequence. Instead of the standard high school math courses Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, etc., it proposes starting with a combined Geometry with Statistics course, followed by Intermediate Algebra with Probability, and other unusual courses and math content. Internationally renowned Stanford mathematician R. James Milgram reviewed this new high school course of study and was shocked. He writes: “In summary, here is my very strong recommendation. Abandon this approach…It is astounding that anyone with any real understanding of mathematics could possibly think to combine [Geometry with Statistics] into a single course. They have literally nothing in common, especially at the K-12 level…ARE YOU SURE YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THIS? Let me reiterate my recommendation in the strongest terms. Put your current document in your circular file.”

Instead of staying with the failed Common Core or adopting the untested proposed high school curriculum, why doesn’t Alabama adopt a proven math curriculum? Minnesota never replaced its respected math curriculum with Common Core and scores first among the states that administer the ACT math test to all high school students. Alabama should consider adopting the Minnesota math curriculum standards. In our Republic’s federalist system, the states are to be laboratories of democracy where we can learn from one another.

Our State Board of Education has a golden OPPORTUNITY to take our students from frustration to first place alongside Minnesota. Please encourage Board Members including Gov. Ivey to adopt the proven Minnesota math standards and ditch Common Core at their meeting on March 14th.

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Eunie Smith volunteers as President of Eagle Forum of Alabama and Leslie Whitcomb as Education Chairman of Eagle Forum of Alabama

Dr. James Milgram’s Remarks for the Alabama Board of Education

Milgram comments to State Board

Remarks for the Alabama State Board of Education. R. James Milgram, Professor of Mathematics, emeritus, Stanford University.

I have been asked to comment on the very strange high school math curriculum that starts with a course on “Geometry and Statistics”. In summary, here is my very strong recommendation. Abandon this approach. Find a rock solid mathematician who is willing to help you write reasonable standards that are actually teachable in K-12 such as Prof. Larry Gray, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, University of Minnesota, who is largely responsible for the very solid Minnesota K-12 mathematics standards, and follow his advice.   More….

Urgent Action Needed Now to Stop SB280: More than Half of Alabama Counties will Lose the Right to Free Elections for Superintendents of Education

SB280 sponsored by Senator Brewbaker seeks to eliminate local control of County Superintendent of Education elections in more than half the state. The map shows each county in blue that currently elects their Superintendent of Education, but if SB280 is passed each of these counties will be forced to appoint. SB280 is expected to come up for a vote before Thursday in the House. This legislation will have two horrible impacts on local education. First SB280 will force over fifty percent of the Alabama counties to stop holding free elections.

Counties that hold elections for County Superintendent of Education will be forced to have the local board of education hand pick the County Superintendent. SB280 removes current rights from local education leaders and parents who live in the county. That means these Alabama Counties with Elected School Board Superintendents will be forced to stop conducting elections all together for County Superintendent: Autauga, Bibb, Blount, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Conecuh, Coosa, DeKalb, Dale, Elmore, Fayette, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pickens, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, Tallapoosa, Walker, Washington, and Winston.

The second, critical impact of the SB280 is that it also removes local education rights from other counties in Alabama. Counties which currently have an appointed County Superintendent will not be able to hold elections. SB280 is modeled after legislation being pushed by special interests in other states to centralize education and reduce local control. SB280 centralizes power in the hands of a few and harms our communities.

All legislators should oppose SB280 since it completely removes your right to hold a local election for County Superintendent of Education, and SB280 prevents other districts from holding elections in the future. Contact your State Representative today. To find contact information for your Rep. go here ! Calls are needed now from individuals in each county! All will lose control of local election process in their county.

Eagle Forum of Alabama’s Work on Student Data Privacy Highlighted by Alabama Political Reporter

From the Alabama Political Reporter, April 27, 2016

By Brandon Moseley

There are only five legislative days left in the 2016 Alabama Legislative Session, and the leadership plans on burning three of those this week.  Both of the constitutionally mandated budgets have passed, so all that is left is deciding what bills live, and what bills die, when legislators vote to sine die this session.

One of the most controversial pieces of legislation facing the Senate is HB125, sponsored by State Representative Terri Collins (R-Decatur), which would create a State longitudinal data system to track Alabama school students as they progress through schools, on to college, and into the work force.  Read the full story here.

 

 

Update: Urgent Action Needed Now to Stop Creation of New Data Collection Agency

The Alabama State Longitudinal Database System Bill or House Bill 125 (HB125) would create two new state agencies with no accountability and almost unlimited authority.  The agencies’ sole purpose would be to collect information on private citizens.  HB125 is currently back in the House with the Holley Amendment added which forces private schools to comply.

The first new agency created would be the Alabama Office of Education and Workforce Statistics, and the second is the powerful advisory board made up primarily of agency heads.  This bill will apply to all public school students and workers leaving public education.  It will collect private information on individuals, potentially through their entire lives.  The purpose of this bill is to collect information on students, and monitor them indefinitely.  As the bill states, “to create the Alabama Longitudinal Data System to provide for the matching of information about students from early learning through postsecondary education and into employment.” (pg. 1) The stated goal of the legislation is to, “guide decision makers at all levels.”  (pg. 3)  No clear basis or need for this mass amount of data collection on private citizens including students is provided. The bill contains only vague promises of confidentially with no actual method of protection or limitation on the data collection power of these new agencies.  The bill claims to provide protections but provides none. “The protection and the maintenance of confidentiality of collected educational data, including compliance with the Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and all other relevant state and federal privacy laws, and all relevant state cyber security policies,” (pg. 5).  Originally, FERPA was the federal law designed to protect family privacy in education settings. However, the Federal Department of Education gutted the law in December of 2011.  On January 3, 2012, changes went into effect that allowed for the collection of student data by third parties.  Those parties retain ownership of the data and may share or sell it at their discretion.

The first phrase from the bill listed above, is an empty promise, as nowhere in bill are there measures to protect the data.  It is important to note that there are currently no State or Federal laws which apply to this bill in regard to protecting students’ personally identifiable information such as name, social security number, or family information. Even if all the information collected were dis-aggregate (meaning not on-its-own enough to identify an individual) it is still dangerous. Dis-aggregate information becomes personal information once you have just a few data points.  Eagle Forum of Alabama opposes HB125, as it would create two extremely powerful agencies and violate the rights of Alabamians.  If the government is going to seek any private information from citizens, they must provide a sound basis or get a warrant.

The Holley Amendment, which Eagle Forum of Alabama has also reviewed, has now passed.  It does not solve the problems of HB125. The Holley Amendment actually creates additional problems such as requiring private schools receiving any state funding to comply with this data collection program.  Go to Eagle Forum of Alabama’s website to find your legislators. 

Take action now!  Contact your State Representative and Senator and strongly request they oppose HB125.  For more information contact Deborah Love, Executive Director of Eagle Forum of Alabama at (205) 879-7096.

ASK YOUR SENATOR TO SUPPORT SB60 TO REPEAL AND REPLACE COMMON CORE

The following information has been sent to Alabama Senators.  Please contact yours TODAY and ask that they support SB60 (The Alabama Ahead Act) to repeal and replace common core.  You may find your legislator here.
Alabama Drops To “Dead Last” Reversing Upward Trend

[email protected]
alabamaeagle.org

Open Letter to ALABAMA LEGISLATORS
From: Eunie Smith, President
Leslie Whitcomb, Education Chairman

Sadly, the latest NAEP results place Alabama dead last on Math and English, a significant decline from where we were before Common Core when Alabama had been trending upward. The 2011 Alabama State Department of Education document here touted:

“In 2011 Alabama moved from near last to 25th in the nation in overall grades and scores [Education Week assessment] … 12th in the nation for standards, assessments and accountability… data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed a historic gain of eight points in fourth grade Reading for Alabama public school students – the … highest gain ever in NAEP recorded history. Since then, Alabama has maintained its progress in NAEP assessments.”  But that was before common core implementation in 2012 in Math and 2013 in English.  See graphs and charts below.

According to PARCA,

“The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) is a battery of tests given every two years
to a representative sample of students in all 50 states. The test is designed to serve as a national scorecard, allowing comparison of educational performance across the states. 

The 2015 results are out. They’re disappointing for the nation at large, and for Alabama, in particular.
In 2015, Alabama’s average math score, in both 4th and 8th grade, was the lowest of any state.Between 2013 and 2015, Alabama’s average score declined in both grades.
Among U.S. states, Alabama had the lowest percentage of students scoring proficient in 4th
and 8th grade. Only 26 percent of 4th graders and 17 percent of 8th graders scored high enough on the NAEP to be considered grade-level proficient in math.

While Alabama’s higher poverty rate puts it at something of a competitive disadvantage in national comparisons, a deeper look shows it’s not Alabama’s demographics skewing the results. Name the group – black, white, Hispanic, poverty and non-poverty – all perform worse than their peers in all other states.” (The PARCA Perspective, October 2015) http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs111/1106394189560/archive/1122648222121.html

According to nationally recognized standards expert Sandra Stotsky,
“NAEP scores nationally did not go down because (1) Common Core standards are more demanding and (2) teachers need more professional development.  They went down because Common Core is dumbed down math, and NAEP still includes test items based on what we expected kids to be taught by/in grade 4 only 10 years ago.  Today, our kids can’t get these tests right because their classroom curriculum (based on CC math standards) has been dumbed down, [confuses, and neglects the basics].   Nor can our upper elementary grades do well on NAEP test items in reading when their language arts curriculum has eliminated the great children’s literature that got them to read – especially boys.”

Dr. Stotsky, in a 2011 press conference in Montgomery, advised Alabama to continue with its standards upon which success was building instead of adopting the unproven and flawed common core regimen.  State Board members Betty Peters and Stephanie Bell listened and voted against common core.

Again, more than half of Common Core states showed historic declines on 2015 NAEP – declines that have not been seen since the early 90s when the NAEP began, but Non-Common Core States showed NO decline on NAEP!!!!

It’s not just NAEP scores that confirm the inferiority of Common Core.  ACT scores of Alabama students as shown in The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2015 Alabama report shows that only 16% of Alabama students meet the benchmark in all four subjects.  Further, the percentage is down five percentage points from 2014.  See report here.

For Alabama students, clearly Common Core is a Failure with a capital F! 

Who will rescue students from further failure now?   According to Math Standards expert Dr. James Milgram’s research, 4 years of common core type math in California beginning in 1992 resulted in irreparable damage.  California then ditched those standards and returned to what works. Alabama is in its 4th year, as we have pointed out to you before.  When will you ditch the flawed regimen that is common core?

But what would you use?  Just like Alabama has done for years, a committee of professionals and parents could convene.  They could use as a template for Math the pre-common core standards that put California first in the nation; and for English, the acknowledged best were pre-common core Massachusetts.  There are other proven sound standard sets upon which to build.

There is no limit to what our teachers could do for their students if they were no longer constrained by common core and were equipped with the basics that have worked for generations.

You will surely agree with us that it is unfair to our students not to address this ASAP and reverse course before it gets any worse.


All NAEP Scores for Alabama eighth grade students fell since the implementation of Common Core with the exception of eighth grade ELA.  In this instance, the white and black student scores were basically flat with Hispanic scores up 6 points, which raised the overall score by 2 points.

Impact of Common Core on Alabama education
Alabama Accomplishments 2011 prior to impact of Common Core
http://alabamaeagle.org/issues/education
Average Mathematics grade 4 public schools all students: By jurisdiction
http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/statecomparisons/acrossyear.aspx?usrSelections=0%2cMAT%2c5%2c3%2cacross%2c0%2c0
Average Reading grade 4 public schools all students: By jurisdiction
http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/statecomparisons/acrossyear.aspx?usrSelections=0%2cRED%2c5%2c3%2cacross%2c0%2c0
Average Mathematics grade 8 public schools all students: By jurisdiction
jurisjurisdictionhttp://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/statecomparisons/acrossyear.aspx?usrSelections=1%2cMAT%2c5%2c3%2cacross%2c0%2c0
Average Reading grade 8 public schools all students:  By jurisdiction
http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/statecomparisons/acrossyear.aspx?usrSelections=1%2cRED%2c5%2c3%2cacross%2c0%2c0

FOR REAL ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, PLEASE VOTE FOR SB60 TO REPLACE COMMON CORE (ALABAMA COLLEGE AND CAREER READY STANDARDS) WITH THE PROVEN BEST OF THE BEST IN THE NATION.

Obama Administration Reveals GOP Leaders’ Betrayal on Common Core in Ed Bill

The Pulse

Media/News/Publishing

By on

Anti-Common Core activists tried for months to warn Congress that the new federal education bill (the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA) was a disaster that would cement, not overturn, the odious progressive-education philosophies of the Obama Administration. Except for 64 House members (click here to see how your member voted) and 12 senators (click here to see how your senators voted) who were brave enough to buck Republican leadership, their warnings were dismissed. Now comes confirmation that the activists were dead on…..Read more here.

The GOP’s Corrupt Obamacore Bargain

National Review Online

 

Education Reform: GOP’s Corrupt Obamacore Bargain | National Review Online
The success of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz this year is a great and anguished shout from Republicans voters to the powers-that-be in Washington: The system is broken; it’s not working for us.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/428383/no-child-left-behind-extension-deal-corrupt-gop

Top 12 Concerns About Every Student Succeeds Act (S 1177 & HR 5)

Truth in American Education