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"5 Things Every Teacher Should Be Doing to Meet the Common Core State Standards"
An Article by Lauren Davis, Senior Editor, Eye On Education
Frequently Asked Questions about ACT Quality Core



 Textbook Adoption

You can now view the oppportunities offered by Reading Street online.  Please follow the link below to take a look at the program.



Plan 2020 Update:  "Every child a graduate that is prepared for citizenship and life"

A powerpoint presentation with the January 2013 updates for Plan 2020 can be viewed under the Document Uploads section of our page.  This presentation includes changes that will take place with assessments and accountability for the next four years.  Click Plan 2020 to see Dr. Bice's vision for Alabama schools.


12 Myths and Facts about Alabama College and Career Readiness Standards

MYTH: Parents will lose control of their children’s K-12 education under the

Common Core State Standards Initiative.

FACT: There is no change in parental control from Alabama’s previous

standards to the College- and Career-Ready Standards based

on the Common Core. Input is encouraged by parents and

other stakeholders throughout the process of determining and

adopting standards.

MYTH: Most parents remain unaware of the specific details of the Common

Core State Standards.

FACT: All of Alabama’s standards, adopted two years ago, can be

accessed and read by anyone on the Alabama State

Department of Education Website:

www.alsde.edu/html/CoursesOfStudy.asp. Public hearings were

held throughout the state before adoption by the State Board of


MYTH: Education decisions in states with the Common Core will ultimately

be mandated by unaccountable bureaucrats and special interests in

Washington, D.C.

FACT: According to the Alabama State Board of Education’s

resolution adopting the standards on November 18, 2010, the

SBOE remains the “sole and exclusive entity vested with

authority" over Alabama’s public schools.

MYTH: The Common Core invades students’ privacy by requiring the

collection of personal information, which will be shared with the

federal government and private organizations without parents’

permission, and it requires that students be tracked from preschool

through their careers with data that will become part of a national


FACT: The Alabama College- and Career-Ready Standards, as well as

the Common Core State Standards, are only academic

standards for each grade in math and English. Neither set of

standards mandates any type of data collection. The state of

Alabama has no reporting requirements associated with its

involvement with the Common Core State Standards Initiative

as it is not a Race to the Top state, not a participant in the Race

to the Top funded assessment consortia, nor a recipient of the

federally funded longitudinal data system grant.

MYTH: The U.S. Department of Education is funding the development of

national curriculum guidelines, modes, and materials, which creates

a national curriculum.

FACT: Many organizations are creating various instructional materials

for teachers to access, just like they always have. Local

systems retain control of their curricula.

MYTH: The U.S. Department of Education is funding the creation of national

assessments based on the Common Core standards, which creates

a national testing system.

FACT: States can voluntarily select their own assessments. Alabama

is not involved in the consortia helping to guide assessment

creation. Alabama has chosen to work with ACT, an existing

college- and career-readiness test provider.

MYTH: The U.S. Department of Education is violating federal laws that prohibit

any federal direction, control, or supervision of curricula, programs of

instruction, and instructional materials in the elementary and secondary

schools, and this is an invasion of states’ rights.

FACT: None of this is based in fact. Each school system in Alabama

retains complete authority to develop its own curriculum, without

fear of reprisal from the government. Lesson plans and daily

curriculum are created by local teachers and administrators.

MYTH: The Common Core de-emphasizes classical literature and American

history and will replace literary works about Western Civilization with

informational texts such as executive orders and work manuals, which

will further diminish students’ knowledge of the moral, historical, and

cultural foundations of our country.

FACT: Students will spend more time reading informational texts, but in

science and history classes. The new standards actually

encourage teachers to use historical documents like the

Constitution and Federalist Papers. The majority of texts students

will study in English class will still include novels, short stories,

poems, and plays.

MYTH: The Common Core violates the founding principle that parents and

states, not federal government, control local education.

FACT: According to the Alabama State Board of Education’s November 18,

2010, resolution adopting the standards, the SBOE remains the

“sole and exclusive entity vested with authority” regarding

Alabama’s public schools. Public hearings were held throughout

the state before adoption by the State Board of Education.

MYTH: Implementation of the Common Core will cost Alabama taxpayers

many millions of dollars to revamp state education systems.

FACT: Alabama adopts new standards every six years. Funding for the

adoption and selection of related materials is included in

Education Trust Fund budget.

MYTH: Alabama taxpayers had no voice or vote in adoption of the new state

standards. The Legislature needs to protect its citizens against an

overzealous federal government and keep education decisions local by

protecting state education sovereignty.

FACT: State Board of Education members are popularly elected

representatives of the citizens of Alabama. The SBOE held

public hearings regarding the standards’ adoption in 2010.

The resolution adopting the standards maintains the SBOE is

the “sole and exclusive entity vested with authority” regarding

Alabama’s public schools.

MYTH: The Alabama College- and Career-Ready Standards and the Common

Core violate the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

(FERPA) by requiring the collection and sharing of non-academic

information on students.

FACT: Alabama’s College- and Career-Ready Standards are academic

standards that say nothing about collection of student or teacher

data or information. Regardless, all student and teacher data is

already protected by FERPA.


1.  Vernier Technology Awards

Do you have an innovative use of data collection technology using a computer, graphing calculator, or other handheld in the science classroom? A total of 7 awards are presented: 1 award at the elementary level (grades K–5); 2 awards at the middle level (grades 6–8); 3 awards at the high school level (grades 9–12); and 1 award at the college level. Each award will consist of $1,500 towards expenses to attend the NSTA National Conference in San Antonio, $1,000 in cash for the teacher, and $3,000 in Vernier products. Think of all the equipment you can get! Please visit http://www.vernier.com/grants/nsta for all details and how to apply. We haven’t had a winner from our area since 2010 so check out past winner profiles for examples!

  2.  Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest

Samsung and its partners are asking teachers to participate in its contest which will address a key academic challenge in our country: to increase the pursuit of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. The top 15 schools will receive technology grants worth at least $40,000. Five grand finalists will receive grants of $110,000 and be honored at an awards ceremony. Applications due October 31, 2013. Please visit http://pages.samsung.com/us/sft/home.html for details.

 3.  NABT Awards

The National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) recognizes excellence in teaching with a variety of awards. Nominate yourself or a colleague for one or more of the following awards by filling out an online nomination form and e-mailing a letter stating why the candidate should be selected. The nominee will be sent all the information, including application materials and cover sheets to complete in order to be considered for the award. You could even win Texas Instruments and Vernier equipment! Congratulations to the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award winners from MS, AL, and GA last year! For complete details please visit http://www.nabt.org.

 4.  Siemens STEM Academy Summer of Learning

The Siemens STEM Academy Summer of Learning includes two all-expenses-paid programs for STEM educators: Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) and Siemens STEM Institute. Access the application at http://siemensstemacademy.com/index.cfm?event=showSTEMApplication&landing=1 to apply to the STARs and Siemens STEM Institute programs. You can apply to one or both programs by completing this application only once. If you apply to both programs, you must complete the application requirements for each program before submitting your application. Of course, all details are at that web page! Sounds like fun!  

5.   Shell Oil Company Educational Grants

Focus on energy awareness with special publics, increasing interest in technical careers among students and professional development in science and math among educators.

We support K-12 programs that boost math and science skills, as well as university programs that aid engineering and geoscience students and departments. Shell funds projects at vocational and technical schools where chemical and refinery operators and technicians are trained. We are especially interested in supporting educational outreach in math, science and technology to women/minority students and academic institutions with ethnically diverse enrollments. Grants between $10,000-$50,000. Details available at http://www.shell.us/environment-society/grant.html.

 6.   Free On-Line Webinar Series for Math and Science

Learn online with the all-new lineup of 2013 science and math professional development webinars from Texas Instruments. This on-going resource offers many choices for you to learn to use TI technology effectively in the classroom to increase student understanding. The new lineup features webinars on the most relevant topics in education today, including Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards and Formative Assessment. Register for the webinar(s) of your choice and either watch the live online event or receive the webinar’s playback link via email to view at your convenience! Please check out the titles at http://education.ti.com/calculators/pd/US/Online-Learning/Webinars.