Alabama Bill Would End Common Core in the State

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Apr. 27, 2017) – An Alabama House bill would withdraw the state from Common Core standards, an important step toward nullifying nationalized education in the state.

Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) introduced House Bill 558 (HB558), called the Alabama Traditional Education Standards Act to void Common Core standards and create a framework to establish state standards to replace them.

The Common Core standards would be replaced with the educational standards previously in place. HB558 reads, in part:

In order to codify the intent of the board, the State of Alabama hereby terminates all plans, programs, activities, efforts, and expenditures relative to the implementation of the educational initiative commonly referred to as the Common Core State Standards, or any derivative or permutation thereof, including, but not limited to, the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards which have been adopted or may be adopted by the board or its employees, including any assessments, data collection, and instructions based on or involving any such standard or protocol…

As part of the transition to an improved Alabama standards process, the board shall replace the current Common Core Standards, also known as the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, with the courses of study for Math in place until May 2011, and for English Language Arts in place until May 2012, both of which were used in classrooms immediately prior to implementation of the Common Core Standards. These standards shall be known as the Transition Standards and shall remain in effect for the 2016-2017 school year.

HB558 contains provisions that would prevent Common Core from being re-branded under a new name, which has happened in several other states.

The Legislature further prohibits the adoption or implementation of any national standards from any source, or the use of any assessments aligned with them, that cede control of Alabama educational standards in any manner, including, but not limited to, the Next Generation Science Standards, History Standards, Social Studies Standards, or Sexuality Standards…

Any education entity or any state official shall not join any consortium or any other organization when participation in that consortium or organization would cede any measure of control over any aspect of Alabama public education to any such entity.

Although there are no provisions in the bill to explicitly protect the personally-identifiable information of students from being harvested by public and private interests, HB558 would still be a powerful rebuke against Common Core by getting rid of the federally-driven standards and replacing them with proven alternatives.

BACKGROUND

Common Core was intended to create nationwide education standards. While touted as a state initiative through the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the U.S. Department of Education was heavily involved behind the scenes. Up until recently, the DoE tied the grant of waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act to adoption of Common Core, using the standards as powerful strings to influence state educational policy. The Every Student Succeeds Act passed by Congress in 2015 now prohibits the DoE from attempting to “influence, incentivize, or coerce State adoption of the Common Core State Standards … or any other academic standards common to a significant number of States.”

Even with the federal strings cut from Common Core for the time being, it is still imperative for each state to adopt its own standards. The feds can once again use these national standards to meddle in state education at any time if they remain in place. Just as importantly, one-size-fits-all standard simply don’t benefit children. State and local governments should remain in full control of their own educational systems.

Rejecting nationalized education standards is the first step toward bringing true academic choice, and freedom. Passage of this legislation into law represents a positive step forward for the people of Alabama and a path for other states to follow.

WHAT’S NEXT

HB558 has been referred to the House Education Policy Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

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