Almost 300 people packed the marble steps of Alabama’s historic Capitol building for nearly an hour Tuesday morning to rally for the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, or the Common Core Standards. Led by State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice, he once again explained to supporters the specifics of Alabama’s standards and addressed much of the misinformation that has been disseminated in recent weeks and months. “These are our standards. We own them,” Bice said.
State School Board members Tracy Roberts, R-Spanish Fort; Ella Bell, D-Montgomery and Mary Scott Hunter, R-Huntsville, all proponents of the standards, joined Bice and a slew of other supporters.
“Let me tell you who is supportive of our standards,” Bice continued. “Parents, teachers, school board members, the four largest chambers of commerce in the state—Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile—higher education, the military, economic developers and the business community. Who else is left and who do they support?”
The standards were developed to define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate from high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. In short, it prepares students to be college and career ready in a global economy.
As Jill West with the A+ Education Partnership has pointed out, “Standards are not curriculum. Would you expect NCAA football coaches to create their own rules for football and be able to play each other on a level field? Just as coaches come up with their own plays but play by the same standards, teachers come up with their own curriculum, lesson plans, materials, etc. They can be as unique and individual as every student.”
BCA President and CEO William J. Canary and Senior Vice President Anita L. Archie were both testifying at legislative committees during the rally and were represented by BCA’s Nathan Lindsay who echoed Canary’s recent comments on the subject. “These standards are vital in preparing students to compete in the 21st century global workforce which requires highly skilled workers. Adoption of SB 403 and HB 565 would be a giant step backward, based on a false premise that Alabama and local school systems would lose control over their curriculum. While some will continue a campaign of fear on this issue, we will continue to stand united in the business, education and military communities in offering our children the hope of a bright future regardless of the zip code they live in.”
Melissa Shields, a teacher from Etowah County, took to the microphone to call out the opposition to the standards. “Essentially, they have no idea what is happening in our schools.”
In addition to the Business Council of Alabama, the following groups who supported today’s rally at the Capitol are:
· Alabama Department of Education
· Alabama Association of School Boards
· Association of School Superintendents of Alabama
· Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS)
· Birmingham Business Alliance
· Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce
· Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce
· Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
· Economic Development Association of Alabama
· Alabama Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
· Military Child Education Coalition
· Tennessee Valley BRAC Committee
· Higher education
Late this afternoon, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, told reporters outside the Senate chamber that the Common Core repeal effort was “off the table,” according to the Montgomery Advertiser’s Sebastian Kitchen. You can read his full report here.
-Nathan M. Lindsay