State School Board Member Mary Scott Hunter talks low test scores and new strategies

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Huntsville, Ala. (WHNT)-  Mary Scott Hunter is a member of the State Board of Education.  She is a mother of children in the Huntsville school district, and the problems there hit close to home.  The State Board recently voted in new standards for testing and Hunter voted for these changes.

“We have set very high benchmarks, the highest ever set in our state’s history.  We’ve drawn a line in the sand about what we expect from our students, of our education professionals, and we expect higher and better achievement.  What we are finding out, when we set that standard, is that we are not there yet.  Meeting that goal always requires a beginning for an accurate assessment.” she says about the changes.

In order to prepare our young students for college, the Board of Education has come up with a plan to bring our students up to standard,  Plan 20/20.  “I believe in that plan, it’s a very good plan with clear strategies and goals.  I think the next few years are going to be working on operationalizing that plan at the local level.  We need to do that, we need to get very serious about strategy goals.  We won’t be out there picking at tactics, we will be very focused and honed in on what we want to achieve.  How are we going to get there?  How are we going to resource it?  How are we going to support it?  We can get there, it’s not a mystery.” Hunter claims that it can be done, it will just take time.

What about those students that are struggling now?  Mary Scott Hunter relayed a story about her oldest son and his low testing in certain areas.  “What we have done, is decided to spend more time with him in that particular subject, delve into it, get him extra instruction, get him what he needs.  This is not an easy thing for all Alabamians, I recognize that, but we can’t not give parents and educators an accurate assessment on where the student is.  Even if we have uneven capability about helping children.  We have that, we see uneven results as a result of poverty and other factors.”

Watch the three-part interview here.