Tag: Alabama Schools
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House of Representatives on Wednesday night passed a bill to require schools to hold back for another year third-grade students who are not reading on grade level.
The bill was debated for more than two hours as Democrats questioned the ability of the bill to solve reading problems in failing schools and voiced concerns about the retention component of the bill. Some also cited the expected costs as a concern. The Alabama State Department of Education estimates literacy education requirements in the bill will cost $90 million annually.
In the end, the House voted 92-3 to pass House Bill 388, sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur. Collins consulted with the Department of Education and said the bill could see additional changes as it moves to the Senate. Read more.
MONTGOMERY – A bill to make it easier for retired law enforcement officers to become armed school security personnel passed the Alabama Senate on Thursday and could get a vote in the House next week. Read more.
Updated MONTGOMERY – A bill to repeal the state’s Common Core education standards cleared the Senate on Thursday, a day after being passed in committee.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, in previous years stood in the way of Common Core repeal efforts. But now he says removing the standards and charging the Alabama Board of Education to start over is aimed at improving Alabama’s lagging student performance.
“My position early on was that the (state) Department of Education and the board, elected by the people, should figure this out,” Marsh told Alabama Daily News this week. “That’s policy. We’re sitting here today with math scores in the eighth-grade level at 49th in the country and reading at 46th. I mean, you can’t justify that. So we’re saying after nine years with this program, it’s not working and we need to change direction.”
The bill would require the state board of educatiion to adopt new standards for the 2021-2022 school year. Originally the bill had called for the new standards to be in place for the 2020-2021 school year, and it required the state to revert to the previous standards in place during the 1990s and 2000s for the upcoming academic year. Some educators objected to changing the standards twice in two years and said making the changes would be a burdensome and costly task.
State Superintendent Eric Mackey said the bill would have a lot of unintended consequences.
A list of 75 “failing” schools in Alabama includes 22 schools in the Birmingham metro area – 14 Birmingham city schools, two in the Jefferson County school system, and two each in Bessemer, Fairfield and Midfield.
Based on 2017 test results in math and reading on the ACT Aspire standardized tests, failing schools are defined as those with students scoring in the lowest 6 percent of state schools. The failing designation and definition is defined by the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 that was modified in 2015 to exclude schools that serve special populations of students with disabilities.
The Alabama State Department of Education posted the list of failing schools, 75 out of Alabama’s 1,325 public schools, online Jan. 24,
A first look at the list of 81 Alabama high schools whose students scored best on the 2016 ACT exam shows an encouraging intersection: Fifty-four of those schools are participants in the A+ College Ready Initiative, a program that helps schools implement Advanced Placement programs and aims to raise education aspirations across the state.
But another view of the data, reported by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, reveals that 51 of the 54, about 94 percent, of top-performing A+ College Ready schools share another advantage. The schools are working with more affluent student bodies, those with less poverty than the state average. Read more.