BIRMINGHAM, Ala.– On the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that desegregated the nation’s public schools, Alabama’s Superintendent of Education has a challenge for every Alabama resident: be the voice that creates change in our schools.
“If you don’t see things happening in your school system, ask why?. You’ve been given permission to do so,” said Tommy Bice, in delivering the keynote address for a education symposium commemorating the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.
The symposium took place this morning at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
Bice talked about the importance of 90,000 Alabama residents”reframing the message” for changing schools around what’s best for state’s children and not just about teacher salaries and benefits.
His 40-minute address centered on ways Alabamians can “imagine” the state’s school systems where accountability was based on more than just standardized test scores, where students are involved in project-based learning experiences that exist beyond the traditional 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. school day.
He touted the differences he’s already made since taking over as the state superintendent nearly three years ago such as the end of the Alabama High School Graduation Exam. In its place, new assessments tied to state standards are being implemented.
The change is part of new statewide effort to ensure students are “College and Career Ready,” part of the state’s “Plan 2020” that seeks to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate.
Bice says the biggest challenge he faces as state superintendent is “getting the right people in the right seats to teach the children who believe that regardless of what they bring to the table we can make a difference.”
“We can’t continue to do school like we’ve done school.,” he said. “We’ve got to do it very differently.