Superintendent Tommy Bice discusses future of public education in Opelika

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Alabama State Superintendent, Dr. Tommy Bice, was in Opelika Tuesday, challenging area educators to step out of their comfort zone when preparing students for the future.

"We are already seeing that when you expect kids to do higher, more rigorous sorts of academic work, they can do it, we just have to set those expectations," explains Bice.

Opelika is the third stop on Bice's 12 city tour, explaining the future of public education in Alabama and the direction that state is headed.

Bice says their goal is to go above and beyond the No Child Left Behind Act, and prepare students for what comes next, redefining the measure of success from yearly progress to college and career readiness.

"For us to be able to be successful, for us to be able to fill those jobs, we need those students to be prepared for the opportunities ahead," says City of Opelika Director of Economic Development, Lori Huguley.

Plan 2020's goal is to redefine a high school graduate, have college and career ready aligned standards and increase the graduation rate.

The plan aims to have a graduation rate of 90 percent by the year 2020 and Bice says an increased budget to accomplish this is not necessary, but rather spending the limited funds differently and effectively.

"Believe in our kids, believe that every child can be college and career ready, but to do  that we need to change the way we teach, they way we deliver and totally disrupt the status quo of how we've done education in the past on a archaic law form Washington that got us to a certain point, but definitely isn't getting us to the level we need our children to be," explains Bice.

Bice's tour will continue the next month.

We will be at Carver High School in Montgomery Tuesday, September 9.

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