Category: Education

Eagle Forum of Alabama’s position on the teaching of origins in Alabama public schools

Eagle Forum has not and does not object to the teaching of evolution. To the contrary, Eagle Forum advocates that students be correctly taught about origins. For example, good education requires defining terms: “evolution” — i.e., microevolution (observable changes within a species) and macroevolution (changes from one species into another).
In order to stimulate inquiry, Eagle Forum also advocates that students be informed of current scientific problems with Darwinian evolution, rather than its being taught as undisputed fact.

Joan Kendall, Eagle Forum of Alabama Science Education Chairman

Teaching of origins has always been controversial since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. Eagle Forum’s position is that:

• Origins in public schools must be presented in a way that helps students HOW to think scientifically rather than WHAT to think about science.
• Good science teaching presents the content of scientific theories as well as any unanswered questions and problems with scientific theories; and it challenges students to think creatively about how to improve and even what would be required to replace one.
• Good science instructors must teach that a theory should always conform to the data and not be imposed upon the data.
• The ultimate goal is to produce students who will understand the nature of science and be able to contribute to its advancement.

Norris Anderson, Science Consultant to Eagle Forum of Alabama, and former biology teacher and textbook writer for major publisher

Side-by-Side Comparisons: 2019 “New” AL Math Standards vs Common Core State Standards

We have prepared several side-by-side comparisons of the “new” proposed 2019 AL Math Standards (K-8) vs Common Core.  Use the links below.

We used highlighting Keys are located either at the top or bottom of each document.   It’s easy to see that the “new” standards aren’t new at all.  They are the same old failed Common Core standards that hurled Alabama to dead last in the United States’ math rankings. 

K-5 Side-by-Side with highlighting        https://alabamaeagle.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/K-5-AL-Math-Standards-vs.-Common-Core-HIGHLIGHTED.pdf

Kindergarten and 1st Grade Side-by-side with highlighting https://alabamaeagle.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Kindergarten-1st-Grade-AL-Math-Standards-vs-Common-Core-HIGHLIGHTED.pdf

2nd Grade Side-by-side with highlighting-By: J.R. Wilson: https://alabamaeagle.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Comparison-2nd-grade-math-common-core-vs-AL-2019.pdf

3rd grade Side-by-side with highlighting: https://alabamaeagle.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/3rd-Grade-AL-2019-Math-comparison-to-Common-Core-with-Highlights..pdf

4th grade Side-by-side with highlighting-By Danny Hubbard: https://alabamaeagle.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Side-by-side-Comparison-Grade-4-New-2019-AL-Math-vs-Common-Core-with-highlighting-By-Danny-Hubbard.pdf

5th Grade Side-By-Side with Highlighting https://alabamaeagle.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/5th-Grade-2019-AL-Math-Standards-comparison-to-Common-Core-HIGHLIGHTED.pdf

K-5 Side-by-side NO Highlighting  by J.R. Wilson: https://alabamaeagle.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Side-by-Side-Comparison-K-5-Math-2019-New-AL-standards-vs-Common-Core-NO-HIGHLIGHTING-By-J.R.-Wilson.pdf

The vote is planned for Dec. 12th 2019.  Contact your Alabama State School Board member today and ask them to vote “NO” on the proposed 2019 AL Math Standards.  Ask them to adopt proven non Common Core, classic Math Standards to enable all students to succeed.

 

Don’t Be Fooled – The Proposed “New” AL Math Standards Are the Same Old Common Core

Don’t Be Fooled – The Proposed “New” AL Math Standards  Are The Same Old Common Core

Co-authored by: Becky Gerritson, Theodor Rebarber and J.R. Wilson

 VOTE ON “NEW” MATH STANDARDS EXPECTED ON DEC 12TH

On December 12th the Alabama State School Board is scheduled to vote on revised “new” math standards. We are all acutely aware of how Common Core math standards have failed us. The recently released math scores showed Alabama at dead last.

THE NEWEST PROPOSAL ISN’T REALLY NEW—SEE THE COMPARISON    

The Alabama Math Course of Study Committee has come up with their final version of “new” standards. They say that these standards are not Common Core. We prepared a side-by-side comparison of the new 2019 Alabama proposed standards versus Common Core State Standards.  We randomly used second grade as our sample.  It’s easy to see these “new” standards are most definitely the same failed Common Core Standards. In many areas it’s word-for-word the same. The highlighted areas indicate identical wording or insignificant word changes to identical standards. See color key at the bottom of the comparison.

REMOVAL OF COMMON CORE IN ELEMENTARY GRADES IS CRUCIAL

The foundation for all math is learned in the early elementary grades. Math builds upon itself so if you don’t learn it well in the lower grades you will continue to have trouble moving on to higher math. Those who learned math before Common Core probably remember learning to add and subtract with the standard algorithm of carrying and borrowing numbers. When Common Core came along that became the least used strategy. The focus became using non-standard algorithms to add, subtract and multiply that used drawing pictures and grouping numbers in obscure and abstract ways – so obscure and abstract that even parents with college degrees had trouble helping their kids with homework. Many young students have become frustrated and now “hate” math. Delaying the standard algorithms has set us back several grade levels and two years behind top performing countries.

Further, the proposed 2019 AL standards don’t require that students memorize math facts for numbers up to 20. Instead they list “counting on” and other non-standard techniques as different ways of demonstrating fluency with math facts. So, despite including the words “math facts,” the proposed standards don’t really treat the answers as “facts” but as answers that students never really have to know by heart.

The lack of memorization in the proposed Alabama standards leads to stories like the following.   An 8th grade student asks his dad for help with algebra homework. The dad looks at the problem and says to start with the first part of the equation and asks his son, “What is 6×3?”. The son says, “Give me paper and a pencil and I can figure it out.” No wonder our test scores have gone down! There must be proficiency (or memorization) of these facts if one is to move on to higher math successfully.

The proposed “new” 2019 AL standards, as do Common Core, reflect the belief that memorization of math facts and computational fluency with the standard algorithms starting at the early elementary grades is somehow unnecessary for students. (See our comments on how this differs from top-performing countries.) The only thing these misguided approaches in the proposed “new” standards accomplish are frustrated or apathetic students and more parents having to pay for tutoring.

TIME TO SCRAP COMMON CORE COMPLETELY-CALL YOUR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER TODAY!

Common Core Standards are a failure, and these almost identical standards will be too. We must scrap what doesn’t work and start with standards that are tested and proven and that completely remove the failed (pedagogy) teaching methodology. Don’t take our word for it. Compare the “new” 2019 AL math standards (K-6) to the failed Common Core; besides some reformatting and rewording there is little difference. The vote is expected for December 12th.   Contact your school board member and the Governor today and ask them to vote “NO” on the proposed 2019 Alabama Math Standards. Ask them to adopt proven non common core, classic math standards to enable all students to succeed.

 

 

Eagle Forum of Alabama’s position on the teaching of origins in Alabama public schools

Eagle Forum has not and does not object to the teaching of evolution. To the contrary, Eagle Forum advocates that students be correctly taught about origins. For example, good education requires defining terms: “evolution” — i.e., microevolution (observable changes within a species) and macroevolution (changes from one species into another).
In order to stimulate inquiry, Eagle Forum also advocates that students be informed of current scientific problems with Darwinian evolution, rather than its being taught as undisputed fact.

Joan Kendall, Eagle Forum of Alabama Science Education Chairman

Teaching of origins has always been controversial since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. Eagle Forum’s position is that:

• Origins in public schools must be presented in a way that helps students HOW to think scientifically rather than WHAT to think about science.
• Good science teaching presents the content of scientific theories as well as any unanswered questions and problems with scientific theories; and it challenges students to think creatively about how to improve and even what would be required to replace one.
• Good science instructors must teach that a theory should always conform to the data and not be imposed upon the data.
• The ultimate goal is to produce students who will understand the nature of science and be able to contribute to its advancement.
Norris Anderson, Science Consultant to Eagle Forum of Alabama, and former biology teacher and textbook writer for major publisher

Defending the Classroom

By Deborah Love, Executive Director, Eagle Forum of Alabama and Shanna Chamblee, Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs, Alabama Gun Rights Inc.

The events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have left students, parents and an entire nation in agony. Since the Columbine massacre, our nation has been horribly awakened to a new normal – a world in which these massacres are not all that irregular. Each time one occurs, people are motivated to offer idyllic solutions so that such an incident may not happen again.

The truth of the matter is…more

 

 

 

Superintendent Sentance Resignation

Thursday, September 14, 2017

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Deborah Love 
(205) 587.6534

Since he was hired, Eagle Forum of Alabama maintained continuous contact with Superintendent Michael Sentance and offered our support on issues of importance to academics in Alabama schools. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

We were disappointed that the Superintendent did not replace common core with sound, proven academic standards.  A September 2017 McLaughlin poll indicates 68% of Alabama respondents view common core as federal overreach. Superintendent Sentance also had other opportunities to support local control and to move Alabama’s public education system away from federal interference that he did not fully utilize.

The board has received a 29 day extension for submitting Alabama’s ESSA plan to the Department of Education and should use that time to make needed changes.

While Eagle Forum is not privy to personnel related matters, we are confident that our elected Board of Education intended to act in the best interest of Alabama students and parents.  Interim Superintendent Ed Richardson has our very best wishes.  We are committed to working with the Superintendent and members of the State Board of Education to move Alabama forward with superior educational standards and opportunities for students.

The Alabama State Board of Education is an important institution in our state government that allows the public to engage with important decisions and changes made within the ALSDE. Without an elected State Board of Education, many problems and concerns within ALSDE would never be addressed or made public.  Alabama’s students and families should always be the primary stakeholder. Without an elected board, their voice in this particular decision would not have been considered.

“Could the new state school superintendent help repeal Common Core?” by J. Pepper Bryars on al.com

J. Pepper Bryars, who grew up in Mobile and lives in Huntsville, is a conservative columnist for AL.com. Contact him at [email protected].

Alabama’s conservative State Legislature should have severed our connection to Common Core years ago, but thanks to a rather muddled opposition effort and lack of responsiveness from our lawmakers, the disastrous scheme not only survived initial repeal efforts but it’s now on the verge of becoming a settled issue.

Just ask Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh about any further attempts to replace the standards.

“I don’t think this body really wants to deal with it, yet it keeps coming up and taking up time,” Marsh said earlier this year after a vote to repeal Common Core was postponed. “Hopefully, we addressed it for the last time today, but if it keeps coming up I will vote against it.”

With a bit of luck, the recent appointment of Michael Sentance as our state’s superintendent of public schools will cause lawmakers like Marsh to take another look at the growing body of evidence against the scheme.

Sentance has been an opponent of Common Core in the past and recently worked to have it thrown out in Massachusetts, where he once served as the state’s secretary of education.

While it remains unclear what Sentance will say about Common Core once he’s in Montgomery, he obviously hasn’t been fooled by the cleverly marketed yet woefully inadequate, completely unproven, and thoroughly domineering national system of standards. He saw first hand how Massachusetts was forced to lower its otherwise high standards to meet the scheme’s goal of redefining “success” as whatever the lowest common denominator was nationwide.

That’s what the “common” in Common Core is really all about: leveling the outcome so that all students end up with the same amount of education, and that’s achieved not by lifting the stragglers up, but by pulling the achievers down.

Sound familiar? It should, because that’s the basis of every other centrally planned scheme that we’ve suffered through.

To be fair to Marsh and others who support the standards, Common Core may have sounded like a good idea five years ago, perhaps even two years ago, but the actual results are now coming in and they’re all indicating the same thing: we’ve been fooled.

They sold the untested plan as a set of rigorous standards that would prepare our children for competitive colleges and challenging careers. But they’re not. They’re weaker, far weaker in fact, than other proven standards that we could have adopted.

Take mathematics, for instance. Jason Zimba, one of the primary authors of the math standards, admitted during a meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2010 that Common Core wasn’t actually designed to prepare students for selective universities or careers in the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields (STEM). It’s meant to be average, or “common,” and not rigorous at all.

If your child wants to be an engineer or enter another STEM-related field, shouldn’t you be concerned that our state has imposed a substandard standard upon his school? Or maybe you agree with Marsh and wish people would just quit bothering you about this “settled” issue.

We all want the best education for our children, but conservatives should have known better.

Anything planned in secret by a small group of unelected and unaccountable liberals, that wasn’t tried and tested in any sizable district or for any serious length of time, and was imposed without thoughtful debate was sure to be chock full of unintended consequences … and even a few intended ones that wouldn’t have passed if widely known.

Now we’re nearly stuck with it, and that’s also by design.

Before, local communities could change their district’s education policies – standards, texts, tests, etc. — because we vote on a school board who controls those things.

Now, if you have a concern with these new national standards, your local school board will simply pass the buck to the state school board, who’ll then pass the buck to the U.S. Department of Education … where it’ll become forever lost in an ocean of unaccountable and unresponsive bureaucracy. Your congressman might write them a strongly worded letter, but that’s about it.

Hopefully, the buck will now stop with Sentance, and he’ll help put an end to Common Core in Alabama.

 

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/09/could_the_new_state_school_sup.html#incart_river_index

 

Open Letter to Alabama State Board of Education

August 15, 2016

Open letter to Alabama State Board of Education

Dear Friends,

We congratulate you in your choice of Michael Sentance, JD, as our next superintendent.    Your determination to move Alabama from its current, uncharacteristic dead last position among all the other states was made apparent in your selection of a key player from the top performing state in the nation, Massachusetts.  This is a strong statement that the status quo is not good enough.

It was refreshing and hopeful to hear Mr. Sentance in his interview as he explained that Alabama’s problems are comparable to what Massachusetts faced, and as he eloquently suggested solutions like those that he implemented and that worked in Massachusetts.  Alabama’s success story will be even more dramatic when, God willing, Mr. Sentance puts his prior experience, his recipe for success, to work in Alabama.  We believe that the road to the finest moment in Alabama education may have just begun.

Again we applaud you for taking this bold step.  To have done less would have been a real disservice to our children and their future. We all agree with Mr. Sentance that we “want all kids to realize their destinies and their dreams”.

We have already contacted Mr. Sentance with our full support!

Blessings,

Eunie Smith, President

Leslie Whitcomb, Education Chairman

 

 

 

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.