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State Sen. Orr defends Numeracy Act — Tim James’ criticism is just a ‘red herring’

Last week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James released a statement criticizing the Alabama Numeracy Act that was approved by the Senate earlier this month.

James said in the statement, “I call on Alabama Legislators to vote ‘NO’ on SB171. Also known as the Alabama ‘Numeracy Act,’ this bill claims to rid Alabama of Common Core math. However, this legislation does not remove Common Core math from our schools. It actually allows the state to spend $92 million to hire math coaches who will train kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers on how to teach Common Core.”

The full bill, SB171, is sponsored by State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and can be read here.

Friday, during an appearance on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” Orr defended the bill.

“I think it’s just a red herring that Tim James is going after,” Orr said, “and disappointed that he’s doing that cause I had this bill written by non-state department, non-bureaucratic type educators.”

The state senator explained that while his bill bans the use of Common Core curricula in grade school, some similar math concepts that existed before Common Core will have to be taught for students to be able to take the national standardized tests.

“The NAEP, which is the national assessment test,” he explained,” it’s the gold standard that all the states use and take and compare themselves with, they’re using in that test some Common Core type questions of how to figure problems out, math problems. So if we don’t teach or align ourselves to teach what’s on the NAEP, which is the test, we’re going to do very, our students are going to very poorly.”

Orr also said he can’t get too worked up about talking Common Core in math.

“If we’re talking about history or social sciences and things like that then yeah,” he protested. “If there’s real 1619 interpretation of our history as opposed to what it was then, that’s something that we can really debate, but when we’re talking about math and how people figure out mathematical problems then, I don’t know, I can’t get too worked up about it.”

The state senator said he got advice directly from teachers when writing this bill.

“I went to the front lines of teachers and said, ‘OK, we’re doing terribly. There’s nothing coming out of Montgomery that I see to change all this. If you were king or queen for overall the schools, what would you do and how would you do it?’ And that’s the bill that we have,” Orr concluded.

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” Weekdays 9-11am on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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