By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, the Alabama Senate Education Policy Committee passed Senate Bill 403 to repeal the controversial Common Core Standards that Alabama and 43 other states have adopted at the urging of President Barack H. Obama. The effort to overturn Common Core was spearheaded by Senator Dick Brewbaker (R) from Montgomery.
Sen. Brewbaker talked with ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ about his effort to repeal Common Core. Sen. Brewbaker said that with Common Core the state is committing to educations curriculum, “that haven’t even been written.” No one knows how this [Common Core] is going to turn out because the research does not exist yet. It is an unproven concept.”
Sen. Brewbaker says he does not believe that handing over power to the Federal Government is what the taxpayers of Alabama want. “I don’t care how you slice it, if we are letting someone else determine the content, determine the assessments and tell us what technology to use to collect data. I think the state school board has a responsibility to control these issues at a state level. They are who we elected to do these things. But there are a lot of people who think that the school board has abdicated too much of their responsibility to someone else.”
Earlier bills (SB190 and HB254) that would have repealed the Common Core Standards died in Committee when the powerful Business Council of Alabama announced their opposition to the repeal effort. Efforts to repeal Common Core gained new life however last week when the Republican National Committee (RNC) meeting in Los Angeles endorsed efforts opposing Common Core standards.
Alabama National Committeeman for the RNC Paul Reynolds said, “We looked at Common Core through two basic concerns; unintended circumstances and extended circumstances. It is the extended circumstances that bothered me the most. Creating a national standard carries with it the power to regulate nationally. Alabama knows what Alabama children need to be taught, not a panel of ‘experts’ in Washington or on the West Coast.”
Upon the passage of the RNC resolution, ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead praised the vote of the RNC. Armistead said, “The RNC has just backed up what we have been saying in Alabama, that the Common Core Standards are bad for our children and are a gross overreach into the lives of Americans by the federal government.”
Alabamians United for Excellence in Education (AUEE) Director Sharon Sewell said, “The education of our children should not be controlled by the Far Left which sees classrooms as laboratories for indoctrination at taxpayer expense, or by special interests which see students as a source for profit. Common Core is just the latest but well-disguised ploy to federalize education and take our Tenth Amendment rights. By chaining our children to Common Core, the state board of education has fundamentally changed our education system without the knowledge or consent of legislators, parents, and taxpayers.”
Senator Scott Beason (R) from Gardendale told the Alabama Republican Executive Committee, “Several of the Senators are on board with getting rid of the common core standards.” The Republican Executive Committee had earlier passed a resolution urging that the legislature overturn the Common Core Standards which Alabama had agreed to. Beason stressed that the party should be united behind issues not united behind personalities.
Sen. Brewbaker said, “It is one thing to have consultants. It is another thing to allow the consultants dictate what we do. This is an example of government over reach. There is no question about it.”
Director Sewell said, “The Common Core Initiative was not state-led Common Core standards were developed by special interest groups and led by vendors who stand to make substantial profits off our children.” “The creators of Common Core found a “cover” to end-run Congress and develop standards outside the public meetings act. This cover was the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CSSO), two trade associations, which have no legislative authority to act on behalf of states. Massive funding came from private interests such as the Gates Foundation. Bill Gates expects to spend about $380 million to get states to adopt Common Core. He will make billions off this “investment”.”
Sen. Brewbaker said that Common Core, “Started off as a purely state run, state lead voluntary program. But the minute they started tying “Race to the Top” grants to Common Core: the voluntary part was over.” “The minute you start rewarding states who comply and sanctioning states who won’t it is not voluntary. The Federal Government has never intruded this far before. Their last big education push was ‘No Child Left Behind’ and we see how well that has worked out.” “Their track record is just not every good.”
Director Sewell said, “Special interests, in concert with the Obama Administration, rushed states to adopt Common Core before the public could catch on, rise, and resist.” “Legislators are now our last line of defense, and it is their duty to protect our children and their future, as well as Alabama values and states’ rights. They have an opportunity to prove that checks and balances work in Alabama, though not in Washington, D.C. The Legislature must repeal Common Core this year. Next year will be too late! A Republican super-majority should assure a rapid repeal.”
Alabama State School Board Members Mary Scott Hunter (R) and Tracy Roberts (R) have both been very outspoken supporters of the Common Core standards. They wrote in an op-ed, “The Alabama Standards are ours. Yes, they include the Common Core, but they include additional content as well. They are rigorous, and they are requiring a lot of our teachers and students. They posture Alabama students to surge in their achievement. The implementation of these rigorous standards is ongoing and to undo that work would be a setback. A return to our previous, and less rigorous, standards would send the wrong message to the nation. It would frustrate teachers who have worked very hard to successfully teach the new Alabama Standards. Most importantly, a return to less rigor, would be lowering our expectations of our students. They deserve better.”
Hunter and Roberts voted with the Democrats on the State Board of Education to defeat an effort by fellow Republicans, Gov. Robert Bentley, Stephanie Bell, and Betty Peters to rescind the unpopular educational standards at a meeting of the state school board.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) has been a staunch opponent of the federalization of Alabama Education. Gov. Bentley said, “Every state is different. Every Legislature is different. I think having one standard goes against the intent of the founding fathers of the United States.”
In a written statement the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs asked: Why would Alabama concede its sovereignty to the United States Federal Government? Why would Alabama use its most precious resource, the minds of our Children, to further this loss of sovereignty? These are just a few of the questions those in opposition to CCSSI are asking.” “We Dare Defend Our Rights.” We know what Freedom is, and we do not want any more of it taken from us or from our future generations. We oppose what is known as Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI).”
Most of Alabama’s education bureaucrats, including Alabama State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice, supports adopting the common core standards which the Alabama State Board of Education has already voted to implement.
The Republican National Committee, the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee, the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, the Alabama Eagle Forum, Alabamians United for Excellence in Education and the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs have all endorsed legislation that would defund the Common Core Curriculum.