Common Core debated by educators across the state


Lots of controversy surrounding Alabama's College and Career Ready Initiative- or Common Core. It's a set of standards that determines where a student should be at certain grade levels and in certain subjects. {}Many support having those standards, but others say that its putting too much control in the hands of the federal government.Educators filled the Davis Theatre on the Troy University campus from cities all across our state. State leaders came as well as national education groups with a serious debate on what the common core means in Alabama.{}"Common Core is the latest of what the elitist reformers have wanted to do for decades which is to centralize and control education and standardize it," Jane Robbins, Senior Fellow, American Principles Project said.But those standards- are what State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice says is healthy for classrooms. He says the state has control and local systems can choose textbooks and teaching methods. {}"There's a fear that the federal government will have an over reach into it," Dr. Bice said. "But in Alabama we've {}been very careful to ensure that doesn't occur. That our state board retains total control Over our standards and that our assessments don't come totally aligned with something outside the state of Alabama."Some of the panelists said the common core takes out important pieces of the education process."Some of the great literature is being lost," Dr. Terrence Moore, Associate Professor of History, Hillsdale College said. "For example, there is no literature that I can find in the common core that is inspired by religion.""It doesn't matter if its a state led effort," Robbins said. "The point is, Alabama, by going into this, has given up enormous amount of sovereignty and autonomy over its education."Central Alabama teachers who came to Montgomery for the forum disagreed. In fact, they told us these new standards are seeing enormous success- particularly in math."Standards are just that. They're standards," Suzanne Culbreth, Staff Development at Mountain Brook Junior High - and 2012-2013 Alabama Teacher of the Year said. "Each local system writes the curriculum that goes with those standards. Textbooks are just a resource for us. The biggest change parents will see is that concept. Students aren't just memorizing facts or being shown how to do a problem. They actually know where the formulas come from and why we do the things we do."{}Here are several links to the groups representing the Education Crossroads Forum:{}{}