If standards aren’t broken, don’t fix them

Published 12:03 am Saturday, April 20, 2013

For seemingly unknown reasons – except to prove that they can – the Alabama legislature has spent much effort in the current session “undoing” things.

Specifically under attack in recent days have been Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards.

As in most cases when they want us to be against something, those who want to repeal the standards are saying loudly “the federal government is controlling our schools.” One wonders if legislators shouted “President Obama and the feds want you to eat nothing but fried food,” Alabamians would in turn embrace healthy eating.

Legislators love to demagogue the federal government, and Alabamians love to be against them. But in this case, they are wrong.

The standards were adopted by the Alabama Board of Education two years ago. They can be accessed and read by anyone on the Alabama State Department of Education

website: www.alsde.edu/html/CoursesOfStudy.asp.


Alabama adopts new standards every six years, and the resolution adopting these on Nov. 18, 2010, states that the SBOE maintains “sole and exclusive entity vested with authority” over Alabama’s public schools.

The standards have been heartily endorsed by the Business Council of Alabama – not exactly an opponent of the current Republican-controlled Alabama legislature. The four largest Chambers of Commerce in the state also have endorsed the standards.

But most importantly, with the standards, our students have been making progress, especially in math this year.

Many in education circles say that if the standards are appealed, Alabama schools will then be required to meet the standards of No Child Left Behind, which requires that every child, including those with developmental disabilities, be successful and on grade level by 2014. We all know that, while certainly a worthy goal, it is a virtually impossible one. Therefore, under NCLB, almost all schools in Alabama could be classified as “failing,” and playing into the so-called “flexibility” act that gives tax credits to parents of children in “failing” schools who send their children to private schools.

There are a number of proposed bills that would repeal Alabama’s standards, but SB403 was passed by voice vote in committee last week.

If you want to see Alabama continue to move forward, contact Sen. Mike Jones and Sen. Jimmy Holley and let them know how you feel.