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Alabama scores C on report card

The state of Alabama received a C on Education Week’s annual Quality Counts Report Card. The state’s score of 75.4 was lower than the U.S. average of 76.2. Alabama ranked 31st overall.

According to the report, Alabama has a high level of standards, assessment and accountability, but the state has a low level of K-12 achievement.

Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan said he is working hard to close that gap. It begins with the teachers.

“The goal is to have the right people teaching the right content,” he said. “Quality teachers.”

Obasohan said teachers, principals, board members and his administration must work together to teach students the state-mandated curriculum.

“We’re doing that now,” he said. “We have a team that is making sure our curriculum is well aligned.”

Obasohan also wants to make sure Selma City Schools students are receiving proper assessment. He said the city school system is working on two programs to ensure that.

“We want to make sure we have established a benchmark,” he said. “We’re working on different kinds of assessment tools.”

Alabama, which traditionally lags behind in nationwide education standards, has surged to the front in recent years.

The state was the first in the country to require students to complete four years, or four credits each, of math and science for high school graduation, and all entering ninth graders in 2009 must pursue an “advanced” diploma.

“If we really want to compete, we shouldn’t be looking at this as Selma, Ala., or the United States,” Obasohan said. “We should be looking at the global picture.”

Dr. Fannie Major-Mackenzie, Dallas County Schools superintendent, said the new standard is a positive.

“I see that as an asset,” she said. “We’re raising expectations.”