By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday conservative Congresswoman Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery introduced legislation that would firmly establish the Constitutional principle that states govern education policy and set standards and would strip the federal government of the authority to use grant money and other incentives to blackmail the states into surrendering control of their education systems to the U.S. Department of Education. Roby’s Defending State Authority Over Education Act would ban any officer of the federal government from using “grants, contracts, or other cooperative agreements” to “mandate, direct, or control” a state’s educational standards or curriculum. The bill specifically prohibits the U.S. Secretary of Education from influencing, incentivizing, or coercing a state to participate in a particular multistate educational partnership like Common Core. According to Rep. Roby’s press release it would prohibit making the approval of waivers or grants contingent on whether a state has adopted any specific “academic standard,” “assessment, “or “evaluation system.”
Congresswoman Roby said in a prepared statement, “The Executive Branch has exceeded its appropriate reach where state education policy is concerned, and it’s time to rein it in. The Defending State Authority Over Education Act will prevent undue influence by the federal government by taking away the Department of Education’s ability to attach curriculum and assessment policy strings to special grants and waivers. Local and state leaders – those who have direct interaction with parents and teachers in their communities – are best positioned to determine policies that affect Alabama’s students. Washington bureaucrats are not.”
Speaking of President Obama’s efforts to strong arm states, including Alabama to implementing the controversial Common Core standards, Rep. Roby wrote, “The intrusion of the federal government – directly or indirectly – into the process is inappropriate. It invariably comes with a political agenda from Washington. And, unfortunately, the Obama Administration has improperly inserted itself into state education policy making.”
Implementing the Common Core Standards in Alabama have been opposed by everybody from the Alabama Republican Executive Committee, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead, the Rainy Day Patriots, the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, the Republican National Committee, Alabama Eagle Forum, and Alabamians United for Excellence in Education. Despite this the Alabama State Board of Education has refused to repeal the Common Core Standards and the leadership of the Republican controlled legislature have been reluctant to over rule the school board.
The Alabama Legislative Watchdogs wrote on Facebook: “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).”