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In the last decade, Alabama has dropped from 26th in the nation to 52nd and now the 2021 ACAP scores show that:
- only 22% of Alabama students are proficient in math
- only 7% of black students
- only 11% of low-income students
- over 70% of Alabama school districts have less than 25% of their students proficient in math
- there are 28 Alabama K-5 schools have ZERO% of students proficient in math
WHAT CAUSED THE CRISIS?
The adoption of Common Core Standards: In 2012 Alabama implemented K-12 Common Core math standards but renamed them, Alabama College and Career Ready Standards. The K-5 math standards were word-for-word Common Core. These standards were in use through 2019. In the fall of 2019, a mathematics task force “edited” the K-5 math standards. For example, some sentences were turned into bullet statements, sometimes a word was exchanged like “identify” changed to “recognize”, sometimes sentences were switched around. But the content was still total Common Core as you can see in our side-by-side comparison. They named these “new” standards the “2019 Alabama Course of Study: Mathematics”. They were adopted by the State School Board in a 5-3 vote on Dec. 12th, 2019 and Gov. Ivey and State Superintendent Mackey said that we no longer had Common Core. These Common Core standards will be used in the Numeracy Act.
“THE NUMERACY ACT” = THE WRONG ANSWER
- SB171 is a 53-page bill that will cost taxpayers $92M/year
- The approximately 700 math coaches will NOT be working with students in the classroom but rather directly with teachers and administrators. (BTW: We already have a serious classroom teacher shortage so is finding 700 math coaches with the required Masters’ degrees even feasible?)
- If college-educated, K-5 teachers need math “coaches” with Masters’ degrees to show them how to teach, write lessons for, and test K-5 math students using the same failed standards we’ve had for 10 years, then you know the standards are bad! We didn’t need 700 coaches before Common Core! (BTW: We’re talking about teaching simple K-5 math: addition-subtraction- multiplication-division)
THIS BILL IS AIMED AT TWO THINGS:
- Continued professional development for K-5 math teachers
- Building the bureaucracy of the ALSDOE. This new, expensive layer of bureaucracy includes these new entities:
- Office of Mathematics Improvement
- Elementary Mathematics Task Force
- Post-Secondary Task Force
- Alabama Instructional Leadership Framework
- State Academic Intervention Framework
- School Turnaround Academy
- And hires an “external consultant”
- These entities will NOT be assisting children in the classroom!
WHAT ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY?
This bill rewards and lines the pockets of the people and organizations who are fully responsible for adopting, implementing, and re-adopting Alabama’s atrocious standards, that have resulted in Alabama dropping to dead last in the nation. (And that led to the horrible stats listed above.) This bill puts them (by name) in charge of K-5 math in Alabama under the creation of the Elementary Mathematics Task Force. It’s time to hold these people accountable, not reward them with more contracts and resume` building positions.
THE RIGHT ANSWER TO OUR MATH CRISIS
The answer to begin fixing our ‘math crisis” is super simple. We must pull out, by the roots, the cause of our “crisis” which are our failed, developmentally inappropriate standards. They are the foundation or bedrock of our state math programs. We’ve been advocating the following action for a decade: replace these failed standards with non-Common-Core high-achieving standards like Minnesota’s or Florida’s. When we do that, we will quickly begin to see our K-5 students be successful in math.
TAKE ACTION NOW
The Numeracy Act (SB171) has passed the Senate and is currently on the calendar for a House vote on Tues., March 29th. TODAY, please ask your House Representative to vote “NO” on the Numeracy Act (SB171). We don’t need to spend $92M/year to double down on failure.