The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

September 27, 2013

Local boards pass College and Career Ready Standards resolutions

By Kim West

— The Athens and Limestone school boards have each passed resolutions supporting the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, with 13 board members voting yes and one choosing to dissent.

The Limestone County Board of Education passed its resolution 6-1 during its Sept. 10 meeting, while the Athens City Board of Education unanimously approved its resolution 7-0 on Sept. 12.

Limestone resolution

The Limestone resolution states that the board “supports the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards and believes they are important to the education of its students. Due to the importance of these standards, the board requests (to the state board) that they remain in force.”

The county’s resolution said the “standards are designed to make sure that all students graduate high school with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in college” and during their careers after high school or college.

It also said the state standards “establish what students need to learn, but do not tell teachers how to teach,” while improving outcomes because students, parents and teachers “are on the same page, working toward the same goal.”

Limestone board members Earl Glaze, James Shannon, Darin Russell, Bret McGill, Anthony Hilliard and Charles Shoulders voted yes, while Marty Adams voted against the measure.

Adams, who said people should conduct independent research into CCRS, explained he could not cast a yes vote “because I don’t think it’s a proven system.”

“It’s not totally state-driven, and Alabama didn’t come up with Common Core. The federal government came up with it, more and less,” Adams said. “I just want to wait a little longer and see how things pan out with Common Core (elsewhere) ... There are some good points about Common Core but there are a lot of bad points, too.”

A coalition of state governors helped form the framework for the national Common Core Standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states. State school boards are able to choose which standards they implement at the state level, regardless of whether they have adopted Common Core.

City resolution

According to a press release from the Athens central office, the city board’s resolution “pledges support of the (CCRS) and Plan 2020 … The standards, along with Plan 2020, provide for Athens City Schools a road map to higher student achievement for each and every student” … Athens City Schools is committed to provide a quality, safe and rigorous education that prepares our students for the 21st century.”

Athens school officials said the CCRS would allow students “to best compete with students all over the (U.S.), and attributed “a lack of relevancy in the curriculum” as being “among one of the top reasons for Alabama’s dropout rate.”

Athens board members Russell Johnson, Beverly Malone, Dr. Chris Paysinger, Jennifer Manville, James Lucas, David McPherson and Tim Green each voted in favor of supporting CCRS, which was formerly known as Common Core Standards.

The CCRS, which were approved by the state Board of Education in 2010, focuses on math and language arts curriculum. Math standards began during the 2012-13 school year, while language arts is being enacted during 2013-14.