Alabama educators respond to ranking 50th in US News poll

Local News

McCALLA, Ala (WIAT)– A report from US News ranked Alabama last in the nation for education, and Alabama’s educators are not pleased with the result.

“I don’t put a lot of stock in those, because there is always a catch. It depends on what the evaluation instrument is. I’m not proud of Alabama being 50th, and certainly we want them to be better, but 50th is not always 50th. 50 is simply a report or evaluation based on a single report,” says Jefferson County Board of Education Superintendent Craig Pouncey.

Monday afternoon, CBS 42 News reporter Jessalyn Adams met with teachers at McAdory High School.

Three teachers were sorting through the school year’s left over pens and pencils, collecting the useable ones so they could give them out to students next school year.

Stephanie Huffman teaches students who are interested in going into the healthcare field.

“I left a very lucrative industry to come here, because I feel really passionate about offering these opportunities for our kids,” Huffman says.

Huffman left her career as an ER nurse to educate students. She channeled her resources into bringing a paramedic truck simulator into the school, so that her students could have a more hands on experience.

“When I came here, the program [Health Sciences] didn’t exist, and I was making it up as I go. I graduated from McAdory and I wanted our kids to have good things here,” says Huffman.

Huffman was selected as Jefferson County’s Teacher of the Year. She made the Top 16 at the state level.

Huffman says several students of hers have become successful.

The US News website says it looked at Pre-K through12th grade and higher education. This is the basis for the Pre-K through 12th grade:

“Along with high school graduation rates, this subcategory measures preschool enrollment, standardized test scores in math and reading among eighth graders, and college readiness based on SAT and ACT scores.”

“I don’t put a lot in it,” Huffman said when asked about the state being ranked last, “I always look at those kind of things like what are they basing this on, what is the bar and everything, because I know what we are doing, and really, what matters to me is one kid at a time.”

Other teachers agree that their effort and success is not represented by being ranked last.

“What that one child needs, and that’s 100% sometimes, because we all want to see them meet their goals. And we want to see good rankings and all that, but I dont let those things discourage me. I just keep getting that one kid at a time and trying to help them,” says Huffman.

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