Last week, the Alabam Senate 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 new standards adopted by rule pursuant to the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act. The new standards for Math and English Language Arts would go into effect in the 2021-2022 school year and would be known as the Alabama Core Standards. 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 March 21, the Senate passed SB119 by a 23-7 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 now moves to the House for further consideration. It was referred to the House Committee on Education Policy where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.