Senate Education Committee Postpones Vote on College and Career Ready Standards

The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday morning carried over SB 190, the bill to repeal and defund the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards adopted by the State Board of Education in November 2010.

Committee chairman Dick Brewbaker of Pike Road, the sponsor of the bill, carried the bill over to the call of the chair immediately after the meeting began.

Brewbaker, who last week told a joint House and Senate Education Committee meeting that the legislation would undergo several changes, explained to the committee that they have been working with the State School Board to change portions of the bill.

“Is this the bill that supporters are trying to falsely tie to Barack Obama?” asked Sen. Vivian Davis Figures D-Mobile.  “I think they are a little confused, because this common core issue was an initiative of the National Governors Association.”

Brewbaker responded that he didn’t think people were confused on the issue, but that he felt it was best to carry the bill over until there was more time to work on some of the issues with the State School Board.  School board member Mary Scott Hunter was in attendance at the meeting and acknowledged that they would be working with legislators on the concerns of those who did not want to see the standards repealed.

In November 2010, the State Board of Education affirmed new, tougher reading and math standards for Alabama students.  The new standards required more critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork instead of simple fill-in-the-blank memorization.  Individual states were free to adopt the Common Core State Standards as their own, to adopt a modified version that incorporated the best of the Common Core while still allowing for individual state standards, or to reject the Common Core altogether.  Following the moderate line, Alabama chose the middle option, and Alabama educators made key adjustments.

Chairman Emeritus of the Business and Education Alliance and retired State Superintendent Dr. Joe Morton spoke on behalf of the Business Council of Alabama at a public hearing on the issue last week. “The standards make good business sense,” he told the committee. “In essence, this whole topic comes down to two E’s: Economic Development and Education. If one of these bills becomes law, both economic development and education will suffer and job growth will be hurt.”

“The Alabama College and Career Ready Standards are vital in preparing students to compete in the 21st Century global workforce which requires highly skilled workers,” added BCA President and CEO William J. Canary.  “Adoption of SB 190 and HB 254 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.”

The BCA opposes the legislation to overturn Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards.  We have set up a page on our website with more information on the standards.

– Nathan M. Lindsay