Tag: Education Reform

Alabama Drops To “Dead Last” Reversing Upward Trend

(T) 205.879.7096

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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)

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! 

Will school board members 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 raising the overall score by 2 points.

Impact of Common Core on Alabama education
Alabama Accomplishments 2011 prior to impact of Common Core

Average Mathematics grade 4 public schools all students: By jurisdiction
Average Reading grade 4 public schools all students: By jurisdiction
Average Mathematics grade 8 public schools all students: By jurisdiction
Average Reading grade 8 public schools all students:  By jurisdiction

Speaker Paul Ryan, Make ESEA Reauthorization Bill Public for 60 Days

Speaker Paul Ryan, Make ESEA Reauthorization Bill Public for 60 Days

From Truth in American Education, November 19, 2015

Because the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) will be the largest piece of federal education legislation Congress will pass in over a decade, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) should allow the bill to be made publicly available for at least 60 days before the House considers it.
Read the entire story here.

Jane Robbins, attorney with the American Principles Project, also wrote on this subject.  Her article, “Speaker Ryan, No Head Fakes on ‘No Child Left Behind’ Please!” may be found here.

Contact Congressman Paul Ryan and the Alabama Congressional Delegation and ask that a vote on the ESEA reauthorization be given at least 60 days for review prior at any vote.

Cong. Paul Ryan (202) 225-3031.

Alabama Congressional members:
Cong. Robert Aderholt (202) 225-4876
Cong. Gary Palmer (202)225-4921
Cong. Bradley Byrne (202) 225-4931
Cong. Martha Roby (202)225-2901
Cong. Terri Sewell (202)225-2665
Cong. Mo Brooks (202)225-4801
Cong. Mike Rogers (202)225-3261

Action Needed! Senate Debate on Every Child Achieves Act on Tuesday!

  1. Ask Senator Sessions (202)224-4124 and Senator Shelby (202)224-5744 to vote NO on The Every Child Achieves Act (S.1177)
  2. Ask Republicans to wait until Obama leaves office and pass a bill that rejects, not codifies, this President’s federalization of education.

US Senate leadership promised to write a bill to reauthorize No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that Obama wouldn’t veto. Unfortunately, on July 7th the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) moves to the Senate floor to be heard with Obama’s blessing. We need to STOP it!

Republican leadership caved to Obama’s demands and agreed to language which expands, not reduces, the influence of the federal government over schools.   S.1177 is the largest piece of federal education legislation in over a decade and will last for at least 6 years.

21 talking points from American Principles in Action here include the following:

  • So-called protections from coercion to adopt Common Core are meaningless because they simply replicate existing protections that have no enforcement mechanism for the states.
  • Codifies previously uncodified NCLB waiver process; states have to submit to the feds for their approval detailed education plans in accordance with comprehensive federal guidelines.
  • Retains federal testing mandates in NCLB but adds assessment on behavioral/skills-based standards rather than truly academic standards and harvests data to resemble a psychological profile of the student. 
  • Creates national standards for PreK and childcare that result in compilation of psychological data and three year fed grants despite evidence that these early childhood programs have no lasting academic benefit but may actually do psychological and academic harm.
  • “School climate” grants can pressure schools to suppress student expression of orthodox religious values.  See the symbol here from Sec. Arne Duncan indicating what values regarding marriage children will learn.
  • “Comprehensive school-based mental health services” enable “early identification of social, emotional or behavioral problems” thus enabling more government surveillance of students’ attitudes and mindsets.


Alabama Baptist Convention Passes Resolution Against Common Core


The following documentation appeared on the resolution that was submitted to the Resolutions Committee.

[1] http://web.alsde.edu/home/general/plan_2020_esea.aspx

[2] Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Model for Alabama Public Schools


[3] http://alabamaeagle.org/2014/04/01/revisionist-history-smut-in-al-common-core-text

[4] http://www.talladegacountygop.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Appendix-24-BCA-Praises-AlaStandards.pdf http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/12/questionable-quality-of-the-common-core-english-language-arts-standards; http://pioneerinstitute.org/download/lowering-the-bar-how-common-core-math-fails-to-prepare-high-school-students-for-stem/  

[5] https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=70577&AID=37912&MID=1610

Public Review of Alabama’s English and Math Standards

Alabamians United for Excellence in Education
Immediate Media Release

The process set forth in the Public Review of Alabama’s English and Math Standards announced 10/6/2014, is an apparent ploy to placate parents who see their children hurt by the imposition of common core standards, methodology, curriculum and assessments. This process will not solicit any meaningful discussion nor substantive correction of the dilemma in which the majority vote of the State Board and the inaction of the State Legislature have left students, parents and teachers in Alabama by virtue of the implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

To expect parents who are not fluent in educational jargon to suggest revisions to individual standards – especially when so much of the problem comes from the overall structure – is an utterly useless enterprise. As long as the state remains constrained by having adopted ACT common core assessments which are vertically aligned to common core standards, tinkering with the standards themselves in isolation is pointless.

Additionally, since common core standards are copyrighted, no changes can be made in them without express permission of the copyright holders [as evidenced most recently in the attached letter from the National Governors Association dated September 29, 2014, to the Missouri School Boards Association] AND from the U. S. Department of Education under the Alabama’s No Child Left Behind waiver agreement.

Only (1) a complete repeal of the Common Core Initiative with its aligned assessments and accompanying classroom materials and (2) its replacement with sound, proven, superior standards along with tests written in our state by our educators, will suffice.

Save Our Schools

Please call Governor Bentley (334-242-7100) and your state representatives[1] to request that they repeal common core standards and replace them with proven standards in place until 2012-13 in English and 2011-12 in Math.   See entire action sheet at the link below….



Save Our Schools

Register now for Eagle Forum’s Sixth District Luncheon with Dr. Peter Wood on 10-29-14

Eagle Forum Sixth District Chairman Stephanie Smith invites you to the Sixth District luncheon with
Dr. Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars
as he discusses

“Drilling through the Core:  How the Common Core K-12 State Standards Hurt America” 

Date:  October 29, 2014

Time:  11:30 AM -1:00 PM

Where:  Vestavia Country Club

Dr. Wood is a former provost of The King’s College in New York City.  He was appointed president of the NAS in January 2009.  When he was at Boston University, he was a tenured member of the Anthropology Department and oversaw the university’s scholarly publications.

In a recent article on “What the Common Core will do to Colleges”, Dr. Wood states, “The Common Core’s standards amount to an assault on the college curriculum.  That’s because colleges will have to adapt to what the Common Core teaches – and what it fails to teach.  It teaches a mechanical way of reading that is poorly suited to literature, philosophy, history, and the rest of the liberal arts.  It also fails to teach the math students need to begin a college-level curriculum in the sciences.”  http://www.nas.org/articles/what_the_common_core_will_do_to_colleges

RSVP today as seats are limited.  Luncheon price $20.  Your check is your reservation.

Mail to:  Eagle Forum of Alabama
4200 Stone River Circle
Birmingham, AL 35213