By: Mike Maharrey
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (March 21, 2019) – Yesterday, an Alabama Senate Committee unanimously passed a bill that would end Common Core in the state.
Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston) introduced Senate Bill 119 (SB119) on March 19. The legislation would terminate Common Core standards in Alabama and replace them with the courses of study for math and English language arts that were in place immediately prior to Common Core, pending the adoption of new standards by the State Board of Education. The bill would also bar the board from adopting or implementing any other national standards from any source or requiring the use of any assessments aligned with them.
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Education Policy passed SB119 by a 10-0 vote.
Common Core was intended to create nationwide education standards. While touted as a state initiative through the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the U.S. Department of Education was heavily involved behind the scenes. Initially, the DoE tied the grant of waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act to the adoption of Common Core, using the standards as powerful strings to influence state educational policy. The Every Student Succeeds Act passed by Congress in 2015 prohibited the DoE from attempting to “influence, incentivize, or coerce State adoption of the Common Core State Standards … or any other academic standards common to a significant number of States.” ESSA gives more latitude to states and local school districts in determining standards, but the feds still maintain significant control over state education systems. States are required to submit their goals and standards, along with a detailed plan outlining how they plan to achieve them to the DoE for feedback and then approval.
Even with the federal strings cut from Common Core, for the time being, it is still imperative for each state to adopt its own standards independent based on their own criteria. The feds can once again use these national standards to meddle in state education at any time if they remain in place. Just as importantly, one-size-fits-all standards simply don’t benefit children. State and local governments should remain in full control of their own educational systems.
Giving parent the option to opt out of Common Core could undercut the program and force it to end if enough parents took advantage of the option. We’ve seen a wide-spread Common Core opt-out movement evolve in several states, particularly New York with thousands of parents opting their kids out of associated standardized testing.
Rejecting nationalized education standards is the first step toward bringing true academic choice, and freedom. Passage of this legislation into law would take a positive step forward for the people of Alabama and a path for other states to follow.
SB119 will move to the full Senate for further consideration.