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.

Common-Core

Common Core Repeal Bill in Alabama Senate

Photo credit: Jim Bowen (CC-By-2.0)

Photo credit: Jim Bowen (CC-By-2.0)

SB 101 sponsored by State Senator Rusty Glover (R-Semmes) would not only end the state’s participation in the Common Core State Standards, but also involvement with Alabama’s College-and Career-Ready Standards.  Alabama’s standards include Common Core math and ELA standards, as well as, social studies and science standards.

It would also end the state’s involvement with ACT Aspire.  Alabama was an advisory member state of both PARCC and Smarter Balanced, but decided to pull out of those consortia to go with ACT’s Common Core-aligned assessment.

SB 101 requires the following:

The State of Alabama hereby terminates all plans, programs, activities, efforts, and expenditures relative to the implementation of the educational initiative commonly referred to as the Common Core State Standards, or any derivative or permutation thereof, including, but not limited to, the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards which have been adopted or may be adopted by the board or its employees, including any assessments, data collection, and instructions based on or involving any such standard or protocol.

The bill would also prevent “the adoption or implementation of any national standards from any source, or the use of any assessments aligned with them, that cede control of Alabama educational standards in any manner, including, but not limited to, the Next Generation Science Standards, History Standards, Social Studies Standards, or Sexuality Standards.”

Alabama Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh has been an obstacle to repealing Common Core in the past, but Alabama legislators enter this session on the heels of the Alabama Baptist Convention calling for their repeal.  Which needless to say will be a significant source of pressure.

The bill has been introduced in the Senate Committee on Education and Youth Affairs.

You can read the bill below.

AL Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh is Tone Deaf to Parents’ Common Core Concerns

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh spoke to the Business Council of Alabama’s governmental affairs committee about the Common Core State Standards last week.  You can watch below (it’s the second half of the video):

Marsh says, ““Have had people bring me stacks of materials with highlights … and I am supposed to connect the dots… I have yet to find a conspiracy.”

I’m not sure what evidence he’s talking about.  I know I don’t want him spending his time looking for a conspiracy.  I want him just to look and see the arguments that are being made about content.  He said he’s concerned about how the U.S. is measuring up to other countries – perhaps then he would spend more time considering whether or not the Common Core will help prepare Alabama students for STEM instead of pandering to a group whose members likely make up the bulk of his campaign contributions.

He also then makes the argument that it is the State Board of Education’s job.  Who provides a check on the State Board of Education?  Yes they are elected and that is a far cry better than what a lot of states have.  The State Board of Education functions as part of the executive branch.  Should we then have a board function as the executive branch and legislative branch unto themselves?

Sure no problems there!

Instead of belittling Alabama parents and their concerns Marsh needs to spend some time doing research on the Common Core instead of just listening to the talking points given to him by corporate interests supportive of the Common Core.  Also, his members would like a vote on this.  We live in a constitutional republic, not a dictatorship.  While Senate rules may allow Marsh to hold bills up it certainly is not in the spirit of our founding.

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

800px-Alabama_Capitol_Building

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 Senate President Pro Tem Kills Anti-Common Core Bill

alabama-state-capitolThe Alabama Anti-Common Core bill dies, more accurately was killed by a State Senator who is confused.

EdWeek reports:

First, the legislative news. The Alabama Senate President Pro Tem, Del Marsh, a Republican, announced that he would not entertain any bills pertaining to the common core for a full Senate vote. That means Senate Bill 403, which passed the Senate Education Committee and would have required the state to drop the standards, has gone belly-up. Marsh’s announcement comes the day after a rally, reportedly consisting of about 300 people, at the capital, during which educators and others urged state lawmakers not to drop the standards.

For someone who killed a fellow Republican’s bill, Marsh had an interesting comment when discussing why he won’t give the bill any oxygen: “I truly have talked to educated people on both sides of this issue and I can’t tell who’s telling the truth … I have talked to people on both sides of this issue who make sense.”

Marsh said the issue could come up during next year’s legislative session. But GOP Sen. Scott Beason, who introduced Senate Bill 403, was fuming after Marsh’s decision, saying his “disappointment is unbelievable.” He added that Marsh initially told him that the bill would get a chance in front of the full Senate, only to see Marsh kill it. Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican, has previously voted at the state Board of Education to drop the common core, but state Superintendent Tommy Bice supports it.

So because you can’t tell “who is telling the truth” you don’t let your members decide?  That’s his reason?  Isn’t this why it goes through the committee process and why you have debate?  One person’s confusion, albeit the Senate President Pro Tem,  leads to a bill getting dropped?

He said it can be picked back up next year, but that may be too late.  No a wishy washy position is essentially a position for the Common Core and that is something voters in his district should remember.

Photo credit: Jim Bowen via Flickr (CC By 2.0)