Common Core Repeal Effort Dies Again, This Time in the House

The K-12 subcommittee of the House Education Policy Committee met on Wednesday afternoon where Rep. Jim Barton, R-Mobile, asked committee members to approve HB 254, a repeal of the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards.

The issue has garnered a lot attention in the last few weeks, with the Senate Education committee killing the effort in the upper chamber last week, and the House following suit today.

“At the end of the day we’re all trying to get to the same place that is best for children’s education,” Barton said.  “I’m not trying to second-guess the State Board of Education, but we want to get to that point without the interference of the federal government.”

Rep. Mac Buttram, R-Cullman, informed the subcommittee that he was prepared to bring forth a substitute that would be identical to the sub presented the week before in the Senate Education Committee by Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, R-Madison.  Under Holtzclaw’s sub, the State Board of Education could not cede control of Alabama’s curriculum to any entity outside of Alabama and that the data sharing portion of the bill would be protected but could only used for legitimate education purposes.  When it comes to adopting new standards in the future, Holtzclaw’s bill would have required a public hearing on new standards to be held in each State School Board district, which is common practice.

Before the subcommittee took any action, three supporters of the legislation were each allowed five minutes to testify despite having already testified once at the first joint public hearing on the bill earlier this month.  Today’s meeting was not a scheduled public hearing, and State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice was allowed to answer questions in opposition to repealing the standards.

“The goal of the common core is to destroy conservative values and tear down the Republic,” said Sharon Sewell, a retired teacher who also served on the state’s school textbook committee.  “This is ungodly, socialist and communist.  Barack Obama has Bill Ayers’s best interests at heart, not our children.  We are sacrificing our children with common core.”

Sewell’s testimony elicited puzzled reactions from members of the subcommittee, and many in the audience, who could not understand her claims as Alabama is not a federal “Race to the Top” state, Alabama establishes its own curriculum, and teachers in the classroom create their own lesson plans.

Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chattom, visibly fed up with demagoguery against the common core, made a motion not to give the bill a favorable report which was seconded by Rep. Phil Williams, R-Huntsville.  By an almost unanimous vote, the subcommittee chose not to move ahead with the effort to repeal the standards.

BCA opposes any attempt to repeal Alabama’s high academic standards.  For more information on what the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards actually do and do not do, we have set up an information page on our website which includes links to the standards themselves.

– Nathan M. Lindsay