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Common Core Debate Will Not Go Away

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama is a Republican State. Conservative grassroots activists have engaged in relentless political organizing to grow the Republican Party from the depths of political irrelevancy to supermajorities in both House of the Alabama Legislature in just one generation. Many of those same conservative activists are now lobbying the legislature to support repeal of the controversial Common Core education standards.

On Wednesday, April 8, the conservative base of the Republican Party, led by the Eagle Forum of Alabama, turned out in Montgomery to support repeal legislation sponsored by retired school teacher State Senator Rusty Glover (R-Semmes). Activists and parents squared off versus Common Core supporters….most of them paid education bureaucrats led by state school Superintendent Tommy Bice. Five years into this debate nothing Bice and his corporate supporters have said has swayed Common Core opponents to abandon this crusade. For two hours on Wednesday, the two sides faced off in a public hearing that only illustrated the complete philosophical disconnect between the two sides.

Deanna Frankowski, Coordinator of the Alabama Constitutional Conservatives wrote in a statement to the Alabama Political Reporter that she believes, “Common Core is not the way to improve the schools in Alabama. The Federal government is trying to make all schools a “one size fits all” not to mention the testing and privacy issues related to Common Core.  We have lost the main focus of our public schools which is to teach the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.  We appreciate Senators Glover, Reed, Melson, Allen, Brewbaker, Hightower, Albritton, Bussman, Stutts, Smith, Shelnutt and Sanford and previously Senator Scott Beason in their efforts to repeal Common Core.”

Eagle Forum of Alabama President Eunie Smith wrote recently on the group’s website, “Regarding K-3, over 500 early childhood experts warned that the standards are developmentally inappropriate, and their predictions — that they would only frustrate and depress, not educate and inspire students — are coming true. The elementary math emphasis on theory for students who, at their age, think in concrete, not abstract, terms, and on methodology rather than the correct answer, has the same sad results. Stanford Professor Dr. James Milgram, the only mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee, said that Common Core math puts students two years behind high-achieving states and nations.”

Frankowski told the ‘Alabama Political Reporter’ that: the standards are age inappropriate, place too much emphasis on college, have too much standardized testing, objected to the idea that the Alabama public schools are even capable of determining the career path of every child in the State while in middle school, and blasted the idea that all 50 states should share the same education standards when the economies vary so wildly from state to state.

On Wednesday, April 15, Sen. Glover is going to try to get his bill,SB101, out of committee and to the floor of the Alabama Senate.

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Frankowski said, “We are hopeful that it will have a favorable vote in the Education & Youth Affairs Committee next week and that it will move swiftly to the Senate floor and through the House and finally to the Governor’s desk for signing into law.”

Republican legislators have not been eager to overrule the wishes of a slim majority of the Alabama State School Board and overturn the unpopular Alabama College and Career Ready Standards which are aligned with Common Core. The Alabama Republican Party’s Executive Committee however has voted three times to urge legislators to repeal Common Core, most recently at the ALGOP Winter Meeting in February.

Whether Glover’s bill passes this year or not the ongoing war for the soul of the state between small government conservatives and statism is not likely to end any time soon.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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