Category: Common Core

Gov Ivey Postpones The Vote For New Common Core Math Standards!


Click to watch 1 minute clip regarding this decision.

The Governor has heard our concerns about the proposed 2019 Alabama math standards and has postponed the state school board’s March 14th vote. In her letter to our State Superintendent she states, “Despite the thorough work of the Committee, there continues to be questions arising from concerned citizens regarding some of the details in the proposed 2019 Alabama Course of Study: Mathematics. I believe their questions and concerns deserve further consideration and careful review, particularly regarding references to “Common Core” standards.  Therefore, I am requesting that you withhold any recommendation on the newly proposed Alabama Course of Study: Mathematics until further review is completed.”

Eagle Forum of Alabama thanks you for your calls to the state school board and the governor. We will continue working on this issue and will keep you updated.  To see documents which we provided to all state board members on the failure of Common Core math in Alabama and the nation and to see our recommendation to replace Common Core with proven standards, go here. 


Rebuttal letter to AL State Board of Education from Eunie Smith regarding email from Jeremy Zelkowski, PhD

February 28, 2019

To: Members of the Alabama Board of Education

From: Eunie Smith, President, Leslie Whitcomb, Education Chairman

Re: Clarification after Mr. Zelkowski email

Each of you recently received an email correspondence from Jeremy Zelkowski, PhD regarding his views on a one-page flyer distributed by Eagle Forum about the proposed 2019 Math Course of Study.

The fact that Alabama prior to Common Core was ranked 25th in the nation by Education Week “Quality Counts” (QC) was touted in 2011 by the Alabama Department of Education. It included a ranking of 25th in the nation “based on standards, assessments and accountability”. The 2009 Alabama Math Course of Study was rated B+ by Fordham (before they committed to promote Common Core). QC certainly cannot be directly compared with NAEP.

Graphs #1 and #2 (see below) which we provided to you illustrate that Alabama NAEP scores, while low, were on an upward trajectory and improving every year prior to Common Core. With the advent of Common Core a downward trend began so that by 2017 the previous progress was practically erased. Graph #3 (see below)  ACT National Math Scores show a similar scenario nationally. Reversing an upward trend since Common Core implementation, the whole nation has gradually dropped below the 2003 ACT score.

Therefore, we remain convinced that removing all vestiges of Common Core and moving to non Common Core standards which have shown success is the only wise course of action. In consulting with nationally recognized mathematicians who were successful standards writers we were directed to Minnesota with its non-Common Core standards. It is at the top. Please see the two documents we provided to you. In the NAEP grade 8 state math score Minnesota ranks second and Alabama ranks next to last among the states. In the 2017 ACT ranking of those states which test 100% of their students, Minnesota was first and Alabama was third from last.

Apparently, Dr. Zelkowski has not reviewed our website to see the charts referenced above and the five page academic review with cites from the Alabama Math Proposed Math Course of Study by Dr. James Milgram. He only gave you his incorrect and biased opinion of Dr. Milgram.

The question which Dr. Zelkowksi fails to answer for you is, “Where is the empirical basis for the proposed new high school Course of Study?” It is the obligation of those who propose this radical new approach to provide empirical data to show it has been implemented effectively somewhere, anywhere, at a comparable scale before imposing it on the students of Alabama for the next six years. (Dr. Milgram noted the failure of this approach in the Soviet Union, which Dr. Zelkowski does not dispute in his email.)

Dr. Zelkowski’s claim that Milgram “has long been critical of any standards-based movement in math education” is flatly false. In fact, Dr. Milgram assisted in the development of the successful California mathematics standards adopted in 1997. His expertise was acknowledged by the Common Core writers who asked that he participate in the review of the original Common Core Math Standards. He found they were not adequate and refused to sign off on approving them. He is not against standards, only poor ones!

NCTM and its state affiliates with which Dr. Zelkowsky is associated were among the main backers of Common Core math and we now have the results to show that they were wrong. Their view has resulted in disproportionate harm to the lowest performing students according to the highly respected NAEP results included in the material presented to you. There is no basis for trusting in the expertise of people who wish to continue a failed approach that they recommended.

Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Institute were strong backers of, not only Common Core, but of a single national curriculum and national test. That is why their “evaluations” are negative toward any alternatives to Common Core. As with NCTM, the results of Common Core math have shown that Fordham was wrong and there is no reason to trust their curricular judgment.

Again, we urge you to review the data we provided to you, to vote NO on the proposed 2019 Math Course of Study, and to direct its replacement with sound, proven standards. We believe that all Alabama students are capable of outstanding achievement if teachers are given teachable tools.

Eunie Smith, President
[email protected]

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.


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….

Common Core Supporters Offer Yet Another Sad Defense of Failed Standards by Jane Robbins

Proponents of the failed and destructive Common Core experiment refuse to let it go. Bill Gates, who funded a large chunk of Common Core development and marketing despite knowing essentially nothing about education, has yet to admit that it simply didn’t work out. Gates apparently believes there’s nothing wrong with Common Core that more of his money and invaluable guidance can’t fix.   Read more…

Contact State School Board for Replace Common Core Resolution

At its Work Session August 10, the State School Board heard a presentation by Supt. Sentance that was prompted by a resolution he offered to the Board to rescind common core.  That presentation and the subsequent discussion can be viewed here beginning at 1:06.  Visuals can be found here:

Although the resolution provides for a vote at the November 9, 2017 meeting, it is important that citizens begin meeting with and contacting board members now.

Eagle Forum emailed each Board member extensive documentation to show the common core of failure in Alabama.  See open letter here.

We urged that they rescind Alabama’s Common Core Standards called Alabama College and Career Standards (ACCRS) and that they move expeditiously to empower duly appointed course of study committees to replace ACCRS with new standards informed by the best of the best pre-common core standards in the nation so that our students can return to the positive trajectory they were on prior to common core implementation.  If Alabama football sets standards nationwide, why can’t Alabama students do the same?

Replacing ACCRS will:

1Stop CC standards under which Alabama Dropped to Dead Last; Restore the Upward Trend Prior to Common Core[1]
2015 NAEP (“the nation’s scorecard”) results place Alabama dead last on Math and English, a significant decline from 26th among the states, which is where we were in 2011 before Common Core. Nationally, only non-common core states showed no decline on NAEP.  Alabama ACT scores also show the inferiority of Common Core. The 2015 ACT report shows only 16% of Alabama students meet the benchmark in all 4 subjects – down 5 points just since 2014.  These Assessments that show a pitiful 20% proficiency in Math after 3 years of common core (cc) and a 62% proficiency in English after 2 years of cc cannot be explained away[2]

2. Protect all children from “irreversible damage” due to 4 years of CC Math documented by California data under Phil Daro CC Math.  Alabama is beginning its 5th year now!   See pre-eminent math standards writer Dr. James Milgram letter.[3]

3. Protect young children from the developmentally inappropriate common core regimen that, as predicted by 500 early childhood specialists, causes harmful stress, not better learning.[4]

4. Reject Objectionable Readings that indoctrinate rather than educate.  Enable Alabamians to select
curriculum without the intimidation of federally funded curriculum modules and expectations.[5]

5. Reject CC aligned assessments..  Protect student data privacy, and prevent potential psycho-social and behavioral assessment.[6]

6. Reject assessments being utilized to predetermine career paths.  Enable students to choose their own future.[7]

“Common Core Damage Will Last Years to Come”
Dr. Peter Wood, President National Association of Scholars

For a comprehensive list of authoritative books and papers on common core, go here.

Authoritative Books/Papers on Common Core

Authoritative Books/Papers on Common Core

Common Ground on Common Core: Voices from across the Political Spectrum Expose the Realities of the CCSS

Edited by Kirsten Lombard, Resounding Books, Madison, WI, 2015

Drilling through the Core: Why Common Core is Bad for American Education, Peter Wood, Ed., Pioneer Inst., 2015

The Long War and Common Core, Donna H. Hearne, Freedom Basics Press, St, Louis, Mo. 2015

The Story-Killers, Terrence O. Moore, PhD., 2013

“Common Does Not Equal Excellent”, Erin Tuttle, J.R. Wilson, American Principles Project, Jan. 2016

The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents, Joy Pullman, Encounter Books, Apr 2017



Pioneer Institute White Papers on Common Core

The Revenge of K-12: How Common Core and the New SAT Lower College

Standards – “likely to hurt low-income students the most”

By Richard R. Phelps and R. James Milgram                                                     Sept. 2014


Imperiling the Republic: the Fate of U.S. History Instruction under Common Core

by Ralph Ketcham, Anders Lewis, Sandra Stotsky                                           August 2014


Cogs in the Machine: Big Data, Common Core and National Testing

by Emmett McGroarty, Joy Pullman and Jane Robbins                                  May 2014


The Dying of the Light: How Common Core Damages Poetry Instruction

by Anthony Esolen, Jamie Highfill and Sandra Stotsky                                   April 2014


Lowering the Bar: How Common Core Math Fails to Prepare High School

Students for STEM by R. James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky                      Sept. 2013


How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk

by Mark Bauerlein and Sandra Stotsky                                                               Sept. 2012


Controlling Education from the Top: Why Common Core is Bad for America

by Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins                                                          May 2012


The Road to a National Curriculum: the Legal Aspects of CCSRace to the Top and

Conditional Waivers by Robert Eitel, Kent Talbert and Williamson Evers

Feb. 2012


National Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade

By Kathleen Madigan, Sandra Stotsky, Ze’ev Wurman                                    July 2010


The Emperor’s New Clothes: National Assessment Based on Weak “College and Career

Readiness Standards” by Sandra Stotsky and Ze’ev Wurman                       May 2010


Fair to Middling:  A National Standards Progress Report

by R. James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky                                                          March 2010


Why Race to the Middle? First Class State Standards Are Better than Third-Class  

National Standards    by Ze’ev Wurman and Sandra Stotsky                    Feb. 2010

Urgent: act ASAP to move Common Core Repeal Bill to Senate Floor

Urgent:  act ASAP to move Common Core Repeal Bill to Senate Floor

The bill to Repeal and Replace Common Core SB415 (Sen. Harri Anne Smith) passed the Senate Education Committee today with a 4-1 vote.  (YES: Sen. Brewbaker, Bussman, McLendon, Pittman.  NO: Sen. Figures)

SB415 will replace common core (cc) standards (aka Alabama College and Career Ready Standards) in Math and English Language Arts (including history, social studies, science, & technical subjects) with proven, superior standards based on the best of the best pre-Common Core Standards.

TODAY please contact each member of the Senate Rules Committee (below) and ask them to place SB415 number one on the Senate Special Order Calendar so that the Senate will vote on it!  Also contact your senator. Let’s show the Senate that the polls are right: over 70% of Alabamians want common core repealed.

Talking points for your contacts:

  • What is more basic than educating Alabama students in Math and English?  Yet we dropped from 25thand rising in 2011 to dead last in 2015.
  • Alabama is dead last in Math and ELA.  See here.
  • Protect all children from “irreversible damage” due to 4 years of CC Math documented by California data under Phil Daro CC Math.  Alabama is ending its 4th year now!   THIS TRAVESTY MUST STOP. See pre-eminent math standards writer Dr. James Milgram letter.
  • Experimenting with education in Alabama is failing our students.  That failure correlates directly with implementation of common core.  What higher priority can there be than to correct this problem?
  • The Alabama Senate must send a message to the State School Board to fast track replacement of common core standards with what was working in Alabama and nationwide prior to common core.
  • Alabama being dead last demands drastic, urgent action. Denial won’t fix the demonstrated problem.
  • The Senate must insist that we repeal common core and replace it with proven,superior traditional standards.
  • Parents, students and educators deserve better than a regimen imposed upon our children through the ordered Obama administration incentives and regulations.
  • Please instruct and enable educators in Alabama to restore sound education practices.
  • Alabama’s economic success and growth demands repeal of common core.

Senate Rules Committee:
Sen. Jabo Waggoner  (334)242-7892  [email protected]
Sen. Billy Beasley (334)242-7868 [email protected]
Sen. Dick Brewbaker (334)242-7895 [email protected]
Sen. Gerald Dial (334)242-7874  [email protected]
Sen. Vivian Figures (334)242-7871  [email protected]
Sen. Rusty Glover (334)242-7886  [email protected]
Sen. Bill Hightower (334)242-7882  [email protected]
Sen. Jimmy Holley (334)242-7845
Sen. Jim McClendon (334)242-7898 [email protected]
Sen. Arthur Orr (334)242-7891
Sen. Trip Pittman (334) 7897  [email protected]
Sen. Greg Reed (334)242-7894  [email protected]
Sen. Paul Sanford (334)242-7867 [email protected]
Sen. Clay Scofield (334)242-7876  [email protected]
Sen Rodger Smitherman (334)242-7870 [email protected]
Sen. Phil Williams (334)242-7857  [email protected]

For documentation see or call (205)879-7096.