Race Part of New Alabama Education Plan

Race Part of New Alabama Education Plan

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About 2,500 teachers, administrators and support staff from schools around the state are meeting in Mobile this week for a yearly mega conference. A big topic of conversation is the state's new 20-20 education plan.

"What we're focusing on is teaching the standards and if we teach the standards the students will be ready for those tests they have to take," says Dr. Linda Felton-Smith with the Alabama Department of Education.  Officials will create a baseline for student performance next year.  In the years following that each sub group, like white students, black students or special needs students will have to show growth based on how they performed the previous year.  Hypothetically if 70% of black students in a school pass math 76% would have to pass the following year.  Other groups could pass with a higher percentage rate but would still have to show growth in the next year.  Critics argue this lowers standards for minority students.   Supporters say the new plan allows educators to show progress rather than be marked as a failing school.

"We're now going to be looking at a school performance index and that is wherein we're  going to be looking at growth over time putting various things together to see where our schools are and how our students are performing," says Felton-Smith.  20-20 replaces the standards set by No Child Left Behind. 

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