The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Letters to the Editor

November 3, 2013

Letters to the Editor 11/3/13

The News Courier encourages letters to the editor. Submissions should be no more than 400 words and should include a name, address and telephone number for verification. Submissions that do not meet requirements are subject to editing. Send letters by noon on Thursdays to P.O. Box 670, Athens, AL, 35613, or email to

GOP, math and Common Core

Dear Editor:

As a math major, electrical engineer and math-only substitute teacher for Athens, East Limestone, Sparkman, Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools, I see compelling reasons for using the math Common Core curriculum in Alabama.

All math teachers I have talked to realize the benefit of having a nationwide math standard. While substitute teaching at several high schools, I see many transfer students coming into our area. It is especially hard on students that are “behind” because the math curriculum was not the same in their old school. Similarly, some transfer students are “bored” because they have already had the material that is being taught in their new school.

It appears that some in Alabama do not want to be told what math material is necessary that will ensure students entering college or transferring to another high school will have an “equal footing” should they decide to go out of state. If Alabama sets their own standards, what process makes sure the subject matter presented is what is needed at those schools? Who is Alabama to say they should be the ultimate authority? Do they coordinate with other states to ensure Alabama students will be exposed to the material needed to enter universities such as UCLA, MIT, UT, or Georgia Tech?  Isn’t that what common core is for? Didn’t Alabama have representatives that helped establish what core material should be taught? For years Alabama had a curriculum that ensured that all counties in Alabama were taught the same material, why? They saw a need for conformity. In my eyes, the same is needed nationwide. One could even argue, why not let the counties in Alabama decide what material to present? Who is Alabama to decide what Limestone County students need to be taught? We have educators who are just as intelligent as educators at the state level.

It seems the GOP and Gov. Bentley are trying to stand in the door of success and do not see the benefit of offering Alabama students a means of transferring to other schools, inside and outside of Alabama, so that math students are neither ahead or behind. They need to get over the mentality that “I am the one in charge, and what I say goes.” It seems to me they think, “Who is the federal government that thinks they know more than me?” The answer is, the educators from all over the nation that have united and produced standardized subject material known as common core. They know more about education than the governor or GOP. Politicians need to stick to what they know best — spending money that we don’t have and money that our grandkids will have to pay back.

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