Letter to the State Board of Ed | Allow Us to Focus on Teaching

Learn more about the the importance of continuity in Alabama’s standards from the perspective of a local superintendent committed to improving both teaching and learning in her schools. Eufaula Superintendent Elisabeth Davis shared the letter she sent this week to State Board of Education members imploring them to set aside politics and do the right thing for students and teachers.

Written by Elisabeth Davis, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Eufaula City Schools

(Published with permission from author.)


State Board Members,

As we are trying to prepare our schools for another school year, we are again pulled from what we need to be focusing on to deal with yet another attempt to take away what will make our schools competitive with other states. Please allow us to focus solely on teaching kids and supporting teachers instead of staying entrenched in political agendas.

As a former ELA teacher, I was part of the original ALSDE committee who worked at the ALSDE to look at our old standards and not only align with the common core standards but look at what needed to be added to those original standards for Alabama’s students. As a parent, I am thrilled at what my two children are learning as a result of Alabama’s CCRS.

If you take a close look at the states who have repealed the common core standards and “adopted their own,” they have done what we did years ago by adjusting the common core standards by adding in state appropriate standards and shifts to the common core standards. Alabama did this in the beginning, so we shouldn’t have to repeal and replace! Each state was allowed to add a certain percentage to fit individual state needs, and Alabama did just that.

And if you want to look at why Alabama continues to face challenges, have you thought about the time and energy educators have to expend fighting for what is right for their classrooms, schools, and systems? We spend many additional hours having to go back and watch 5- or 6-hour state board meetings at night, send emails like this one, talk to our legislators, etc. to continuously fight off bad political agendas that aren’t right for our students!

Finally, have you thought about the implication of repealing standards and changing them when we are in the process of writing and submitting a request for bid for assessments? All educators know the importance of writing assessments based on standards. You have been clear that you want our educators to write the assessments, so if that is the case they will have to not only know the standards but truly understand them, how they spiral from grade to grade, and what level of rigor should be assessed at each grade level. That will take a tremendous amount of time and must be done before you can even think about writing valid and reliable assessments.

Has all of this been considered before you jump to bring about this attempt at repealing our standards yet again?

Again, I will be glad to talk to any of you in person or via phone if needed. As many have said over and over again, please do what is right for our kids and not adults or political agendas. I dare say a group can not make these types of changes in any other profession in a manner such as this, but for some reason education seems to be different.

Thank you,
Dr. Elisabeth Davis

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