Alabama Common Core Repeal Bill Receives Tepid Response

Photo credit: Jim Bowen (CC-By-2.0)

Photo credit: Jim Bowen (CC-By-2.0)

Another attempt to repeal the Common Core State Standards in Alabama was met with apathy among some legislators and mocking by a taxpayer-funded lobbyist.  The bill was heard in the Alabama Senate Education Policy Committee.

AP reports that the bill’s future doesn’t look bright:

The newspaper reports that, as in previous years, there didn’t seem to be overwhelming support of the bill Wednesday, as multiple lawmakers noted flaws in the standards, but argued that it should be the responsibility of the Alabama Board of Education to address the issues.

“It’s an elected body,” said Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston. “In my opinion, they should be the ones making this decision, and I hope that’s where we ultimately see the decision made.”

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, the chairwoman of the House Education Policy Committee, said in her district, the changes have been seen as positive.

“I continue to have active conversations with local educators and people who support the high standards and believe they are more rigorous.”

A lobbyist for the Alabama Department of Education (I’d love to see a bill getting rid of taxpayer-funded lobbyists) mocked those who opposed the Common Core State Standards on Facebook Yellowhammer.com reports:

Sen. Rusty Glover (R-Semmes) introduced a bill this week that would repeal the state’s current standards by the fall semester of 2017.

“I bring this back because of the need that my colleagues and I see to strengthen the standards for our school children,” Glover told Yellowhammer. “A brag sheet was distributed by the Department of Education in 2011 that revealed all of the progress our students were making. The state then adopted Common Core the next year. The complaints by teachers, students, and parents have been deafening ever since.”

As evidence that repeal efforts are not the radical conservative position that some in the education establishment have argued them to be, Glover noted that even Massachusetts, one of the country’s most liberal states, is moving toward abandoning Common Core.

“It’s hard to argue that (repeal efforts are) not main stream,” he said.

Glover held a public hearing on his bill on Wednesday, which prompted a frustrated reaction from Tracey Meyer, Governmental Relations & Public Affairs Coordinator for the ALSDE.

“Unbelievable,” she wrote of Glover’s bill, along with a graphic reading “Bang Head Here.”

Obviously Ms. Meyer is free to post whatever she likes on her personal page, but considering she was doing this on taxpayer-funded time is problematic. Regarding her graphic, Common Core opponents feel the same way when we hear the same tired dataless, unsubstantiated, useless talking points we from Common Core advocates all of the time.

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Alabama Senate President Pro Tem is the Roadblock to Common Core Repeal

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It was reported in late November that legislative efforts will be difficult in Alabama and Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh will likely be the primary roadblock.

An excerpt:

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said legislative efforts to repeal the Common Core education standards likely won’t make it to the Senate floor in the upcoming legislative session.

"I’ve made it very clear, I’m not bringing Common Core into the body," Marsh, R-Anniston, said in an interview Tuesday about the legislative session that begins in Jan. 14.

Marsh, R-Anniston, said the complicated and contentious debate over exactly what the Common Core standards do — and don’t do — should not be thrust into the midst of a busy regular legislative session.

"If you bring it up in this legislative session, it gets mixed in with everything else and you can’t focus totally on that issue. That issue is so complicated, in my opinion it takes total dedication to that specific issue," Marsh said.

Marsh said the only way he saw the Senate dealing with Common Core was if Gov. Robert Bentley called a special session "where we can dedicate all of our time on that issue."

So he’s deflecting on Governor Bentley who should call his bluff and call a special session if nothing is done during the general session.  Time is of the essence and shouldn’t wait until summer.

He’s receiving some pushback within the state as reported by Mary Chastain:

“Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh has become the “Harry Reid” of Alabama,” said Deanna K. Frankowski, coordinator for Alabama Legislative Watchdogs and member of RDP. “This is why the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs and Rainy Day Patriots as well as voters throughout his district and state are speaking out.

“The voters deserve to have their legislators take an up or down vote. Will they support this hostile takeover of our education system or will they stand with Alabama families? Senator Del Marsh is standing in the way of that vote. Rest assured, we will not back down until we have an answer as to who is pulling the strings and why!”

…RDP did find a letter Marsh signed to Bentley, which requested the repeal of Common Core. Other state senators who now do not support the repeal also signed the letter. They want to know what happened to make them change their minds.

Other Republican senators are determined to bring up Common Core. Sen. Scott Beason (R-Gardendale) will lead the efforts to defund and repeal the program in the next session.

Governor Bentley and the Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard support the repeal so Marsh is the sole roadblock.  Pressure needs to be applied on Senator Del Marsh, he needs to represent his constituents not the education establishment and related special interests.

Alabama’s Common Core Fight

alabama-state-houseThe Alabama Legislature has two identical bills that would repeal the Common Core – House Bill 254, sponsored by State Representative Jim Barton (R-Mobile), and Senate Bill 190, sponsored by State Senator Drew Brewbaker (R-Montgomery).  There is a public hearing tomorrow on the House Bill at 3p at the Alabama Statehouse.  A partner of ours down in Alabama, CE White, warned of about the measures being taken to prevent these bills from passing:

I feel we have the votes for this to pass in the Senate, but the House is dealing dirty politics. One superintendent (who is connected to Broad Foundation and has invited Pearson to his district next month) wrote an article last week in a newspaper, claiming that Alabama would be “an island” if we withdrew from Common Core. Since that article, legislators have started to question why we need to pass these bills. In fact, they are using the same terminology that we might be “an island” if we pass this bill. I will be speaking at the public hearing Wednesday. However, we really need to get the word out to our legislators that we will not be “an island.” We need them to know that we are not alone in our fight. We need them to know that other states are also fighting against Common Core. Could you please help us get the word out, by having your organization and other states contact our legislators and tell them to please pass HB 254 and SB 190, and we will not be “an island.” We need to flood them with calls and emails. They need to know they have the support of the country.

Alabama certainly wouldn’t be alone.  You can find contact information for members of the Alabama House here and the Alabama Senate here.