AL superintendent calls for support of school reform - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

AL superintendent calls for support of school reform

Tommy Bice launched a statewide tour of speaking and listening on his plans to reform the state's schools. (Source: WAFF) Tommy Bice launched a statewide tour of speaking and listening on his plans to reform the state's schools. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Alabama's education superintendent is calling on parents and teachers to get on board and stay on board with his plans for the future.

In Huntsville Tuesday night, Superintendent Tommy Bice launched a statewide tour of speaking and listening on his plans to reform the state's schools.

In his "Future of Public Education" tour, Bice says for the past two years the state has been catching up after falling behind, but poised to make progress in how well it prepares its kids for a future in which it's more important than ever for them to be prepared to learn.

"I want more parent involvement. If we set high expectations for children they can reach them," Bice told the assembly.

Bice said the state's schools have already seen improvements in test scores and graduation rates, but needs to work on funding and education for teachers themselves.

He also struck back at critics of common core educational standards.

"Barack Obama was not in the room," he said. "Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education was not running the show. Hitler had not come back from the dead to influence our thinking. That did not occur."

Local education leaders said after years of failing to keep up, the state is ready to catch up, if it sticks to its new plan.

"I really do believe that it's one of these big sea change times in our state's history," said State Education Board Member Mary Scott Hunter.

"Having kids come out of college ready to go to work, or go straight into the workforce, is critical to the development of the state," said Huntsville Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski.

"If we get to 90 percent graduation rate by the year 2020... and we're going to get to it way before 2020... it will infuse $430 million into Alabama's economy. Which is the same as an Airbus or a Mercedes opening in the state of Alabama every single year that we maintain a 90 percent graduation rate," Bice said, to a reception of applause.

Huntsville was the first stop on Bice's tour. He will visit Demopolis on Thursday, and continue around the state to 12 locations until early October.

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