By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday the Alabama House Rules Committee will hold a public hearing on whether or not the legislature should pass a Senate Joint Resolution (SJR109) preventing the Alabama State School Board from taking federal money to implement the controversial Common Core standards curriculum for one year until the state legislature has time to study the Common Core issue in more detail. The public hearing will be in room 617 of the capital building at 8:00 am on Thursday.
On Wednesday, ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ talked with Alabama State Representative Joe Hubbard (D) from Montgomery about his effort to pass SJR109 to prevent the Alabama State Board of Education from taking federal dollars to implement Common Core while the legislature is recessed.
Rep. Hubbard said that part of the reason for the resolution is that the legislature has not been given the opportunity to debate the Common Core standards issue on the floor of the legislature this year. A number of bills were introduced to overturn Common Core, constituents on both sides were invited to come down and take time from their lives to present their views, there have been five public hearings; but there has been zero debate. No vote has ever been held. The leadership has never given the membership the opportunity to have a say in whether or not the Common Core Standards should be implemented in Alabama or not.
Rep. Joe Hubbard charged that the leadership lacks the will to refuse federal dollars and compared their eagerness to fund public education with “free money” from the U.S. Department of Education to their eagerness to get internet sales tax dollars from an act of Congress. “They all have signed their Grover Norquist tax pledges that they won’t raise taxes, but they are happy if Congress raises taxes for them.”
SJR109 is sponsored by Senator Dick Brewbaker (R) from Montgomery and has the same language as House Joint Resolution 377, which was sponsored by Rep. Hubbard. Hubbard’s own resolution was buried in a committee without a hearing and is now dead for this session as the House voted on Tuesday to lay aside all House bills that have not yet passed in the House. Brewbaker’s SJR109 has already passed in the Alabama Senate. Hubbard said that he is working with Brewbaker to pass SJR109 as time runs out in this legislative session.
The resolution reads in part, “We urge the State Board of Education to take all steps necessary to refrain from accepting any federal funds tied to the Common Core State Standards Initiative until a full and open debate of this issue has occurred in the Alabama Legislature to ensure that the State of Alabama retains complete control over its academic standards, curriculum, instruction, and testing system.”
The President of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, Elois Zeneah said on Facebook, “Common Core is not a partisan issue, and both Democrats and Republicans are working to repeal Common Core because it cedes state control and is horrific for children because it dumbs down education. We asked Republicans in Alabama to repeal Common Core because they have a supermajority. It turns out, the best chance we had at nuliifying Common Core in 2013 came from conservative Democrat Joe Hub…bard.” President Zeneah said, “On 4/30 Joe Hubbard asked to suspend the House Rules to discuss his Resolution HJR337. This was an innovative and effective way to stop Common Core. It would would have prohibited the AL Ed Dept from taking federal dollars attached to Common Core. It failed 63-11 — with nare a Republican “yea” vote!
Rep. Joe Hubbard said that making decisions and debating issues is what we were elected to do. Hubbard accused the leadership of stringing constituents along and using the process to delay and thwart the process. Hubbard says that he wants open and fair debate on the issue.
Rep. Joe Hubbard says that his primary concern is that the resolution will be amended in committee. If an amended version of SJR109 is passed by the full Alabama House of Representatives then the Senate
will not have time to place that amended version on their calendar and get it passed before time runs out in this 2013 legislative session. Rep. Joe Hubbard said that he has already gotten a all from the Rules Committee Chairman and there is going to be an effort to amend SJR109. Hubbard warned that any effort to amend is really just a tricky effort to kill the resolution.
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, Governor Robert Bentley (R), Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama, Freedomworks, and the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs have all embraced positions opposing implementation of the controversial Common Core Curriculum.
Tuesday, Rep. Hubbard said on the floor of the Alabama House, “I have a son that is going into kindergarten next year and I think it is critical that we determine whether or not these standards are in the best interests of Alabama’s children.”