Goodbye to Common Core?

Published 12:59 am Friday, March 22, 2019

Senate pass bill to quash; business leaders oppose

The Alabama Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would repeal Common Core education standards.

The bill, introduced just this week by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, moved quickly through the senate, despite objections by state business leaders. Sen. Jimmy Holley, who represents Covington County in the Senate, was a co-sponsor.

The Common Core standards were developed by the National Governors Association as a way to measure educational progress throughout the 50 states. The standards are a set of goals. Curricula developed in the individual states provides guidance for how teachers can reach them.

Earlier this week, the chambers of commerce in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa, as well as the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, sent letters to senators asking them to stop the proposed change. Business leaders said they feared “dumbing down” the state’s schools if Common Core is repealed.

“The voices of business and industry for the State of Alabama have united in support of rigorous education standards that will ensure that our students are college and career ready when they graduate from high school,” the letter said. “The Alabama standards are the cornerstone of the state’s Plan 2020 to increase graduation rates, reduce college remediation and raise student achievement.”

State Superintendent of Educaton Eric Mackey also asked the Senate to reconsider, but Marsh, the Anniston Republican who sponsored the bill, called the state school board “dysfunctional,” and said it was not capable of making decisions for students. 

“We have used the Common Core standards in Alabama for nearly a decade and while we do have some blue-ribbon schools, the vast majority are severely behind,” Marsh said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “We are still ranked 46thand 49thin reading and math according to National Assessment of Educational Progress. This is unacceptable so it is time to try something new.”

Marsh’s bill originally called for the immediate repeal of Common Core standards, and said schools would operate under pre-Common Core standards until a new set of standards could be adopted for the 2020-2021 school year. However, the bill was amended to delay the repeal and make only one change.

The proposed bill now goes to the House of Representatives.