Wiregrass School Leaders Remain in Favor of Common Core

Alabama lawmakers and education leaders are at odds over the state's education curriculum.

About three years ago the state adopted the College and Career Ready Standard. It's a combination of Common Core and Alabama's standards.

Now a new bill could let school systems opt out, but many local superintendents say that’s a bad idea.
Tuesday, Superintendents for each wiregrass school system signed a petition opposing the bill.

Republican Senator Scott Beason is sponsoring the legislation. The Gardendale senator says local school officials should be able to decide for themselves about the standards.

The bill would let school systems stop using Common Core and implement an alternative curriculum for math and English.

But opponents say it would create chaos across the state to have different school systems using different standards.

Local superintendents say the new curriculum is challenging and rigorous. Instead of simply solving a problem, students need to know why it's the right answer.

College and business leaders say that's what students need to succeed in a global society.

“Do we want to keep doing the same old thing with the same old results with the old standards and be last, or do we want new standards that are challenging to our students? Challenging to our teachers? And see if we can't claw ourselves out of the bottom of education this country,” said Houston County Schools Superintendent Tim Pitchford.

Dothan City Schools Superintendent Tim Wilder said, “The compromise could potentially have 136 standards in Alabama. There would be nothing common. A student goes to another system and could be doing something totally different does not make sense to me. And we have finally have found the answer.”

Wilder said he's seen a big change with students and teachers.

For example, since the new standard was implemented, Alabama's reading scores improved more than any state in the country.

Also, school systems have already invested more than a million dollars into new textbooks.

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