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December 9, 2012

Education Revolution: How Plan 2020 could reshape education in Alabama

(Continued)

The right track

By overhauling the way students reach graduation, and the standards they need to achieve that goal, Schuman said it should help Alabama schools produce graduates that are more prepared for real life.

“The plan is to take the knowledge and skills they have so they can be successful in whatever post-high school experience they choose, be it a technical school, four-year college or going straight into the work force,” she said. “When they walk out the door, they’re ready. I think it’s a really big improvement, going full force one way, then putting on the brakes and going a completely different direction.”

Schuman likened the plan to creating different “tracks” for students to take on their high school journey, with each one tackling similar curriculum in different ways. But every student will (hopefully) arrive at a diploma by the end.

“You give them an evaluation and see what they’re interested in, then they choose the path that best suits their needs,” Schuman said. “The goal is that when they walk out the door on graduation, they’re read for society.”

More than anything, Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Jan Harris said she believes Plan 2020 represents the simplification of a system that has become dense and convoluted over the past several years.

“I really like [State Superintendent] Dr. [Tommy] Bice and the state board’s Plan 2020, and I like the way it’s divided into four parts, focusing on the learners, professionals, the school systems and the support in place for the learners,” she said. “I think Dr. Bice is unafraid to try new approaches to achieve higher gains in learning and I think he’s trying to simplify the process and make it easier for people to understand what we’re actually trying to do. Like having one diploma, that’s a step in the right direction.”

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