Jefferson County Board of Education and teachers respond to repeal


BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT)– A bill to repeal Common Core in Alabama passed through the Senate and House within a week.

The decision is concerning many teachers and educators in the state.

Leslie Richards is a Secondary Math Specialist with the Jefferson County Board of Education.

Richards was chosen by the Alabama State Board of Education to serve on the Course of Study Committee to develop the 2019 couirse of study for mathematics.

“I am disappointed,” Richards said in an interview.

You can watch the entire interview in the video below.

Richards breaks down Common Core, saying it’s not a way of teaching, rather “learning targets” or a set of standards students are expected to reach by different grade levels.

Richards also says Alabama is not a Common Core state.

She explains Alabama follows a set of guidelines: the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards.

CBS 42 went into the classroom where teacher Heather Evans walked us through how she is teaching her 1st graders at Pleasant Grove Elementary School.

Evans has been teaching elementary students for 10 years.

She explained a basic English/Language/Arts exercise and two math exercises, noting there’s not much difference in the way she taught before and after the state adopted the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards.

“In a general sense, we are using the same ideas, but of course, we have the flexibility to decide what works for our room and what doesnt work, because that can change from teacher to teacher. It can change from year to year, because what works this year might not work next year, but in an overall sense we are pulling from the same resources.”

“But you’re not told how to teach?,” reporter Jessalyn Adams asks.

“No, the fidelity word is gone. It’s here are your resources, now apply them in your classroom,” Evans responds.

She notes the standards for 1st graders are different than the higher grade levels.

Still, Evans keeps an age appropriate “goals” chart on the wall so her students can see how close they are to hitting the year’s learning targers.

You can read the bill to its entirety here.

Richards expresses concerns for wording in the bill.

“This bill that’s before the Senate now would repeal the common core standards, even though we don’t have common core standards. We have standards based on common core in ELA and mathematics, but this bill will remove those standards and send us back to the standard in mathematics in 2003.”

These photos show standards 3rd graders are expected to understand about fractions.

In 2003, 3rd graders had one learning target. In 2016, they now have 3 targets.

Richards also says other phrasing in the bill could impact testing.

You can read the full bill presented during Alabama’s legislative session here.

CBS 42 is wanting to know your thoughts. You can take the Facebook poll here.

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