By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, April 12, Alabama Republican voters in state school board Districts 1 and 7 go to the polls to decide who they want representing them on the Alabama State School Board.
In District 1, career teacher, principal, and college professor Jackie Zeigler (R) is running against Matthew Brown (R). Brown, as reported first by the Alabama Political Reporter, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from special interests including: the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), the Alabama Farmer’s Federation, and the Alabama Federation for Children. Brown was recently appointed to the positon by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to fill a vacancy on the board. Brown is now seeking re-election to that district.
Jackie Zeigler said, “Anytime large amounts of money come in, you do have to wonder what is their intent? Why are they putting so much into a state school board issue? And some of that money is coming from out of State.”
Brown meanwhile released a public statement on Monday vowing to fight the Obama Administration over allowing youth with gender confusion problems to use the other gender’s bathrooms and locker rooms.
In District 7, incumbent Jeffrey Newman (R) is facing a challenge from Jim Bonner (R). Both have 30 years of experience in education; but Newman is drawing all of the special interest money from BCA and the Farmer’s Federation.
At issue could be the fate of the increasingly unpopular Common Core aligned Alabama College and Career Ready Standards. Adoption of the new standards has failed to produce any tangible benefits and many Common Core critics assert that the experimental new education standards and methods simply don’t work. Both Newman and Brown have served on the state school board but critics say the pair have done nothing to reverse, replace, or repeal the standards even though Alabama has dropped considerably in the most recent education rankings.
Zeigler and Bonner have both been vocal against the standards. Critics of the unpopular standards claim that defending the standards is why the BCA and their Montgomery allies have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the two school board races.
Ann Eubank with the Rainy Day Patriots said on Monday, “The Pro Common Core BCA are afraid that “we the people” are close to taking back our schools. Vote Zeigler and Bonner. Stop Riley and Company from continuing Common Core.”
Even though the conservative grassroots and growing numbers of teachers oppose repeal, BCA President and CEO William J. Canary has said on the record, “The Alabama College and Career Ready Standards are vital in preparing students to compete in the 21st century global workforce which requires highly skilled workers.” Repealing the standards, “Would be a giant step backward, based on a false premise that Alabama and local school systems would lose control over their curriculum. While some will continue a campaign of fear on this issue, we will continue to stand united in the business, education and military communities in offering our children the hope of a bright future.”
BCA’s allies on the State School Board and on the State Senate’s Education Policy Committee have kept repeal efforts bottled up for years. It seems unlikely that Senator Rusy Glover’s repeal bill will even make it to the floor of either the Senate or the House this session.
Jim Bonner said, “Time is close. I’ve worked kin to kaint every day this month. We have enough votes to repeal common core when I win. Prepare for new vocational programs in our high schools. Prepare for better work environment for teachers. Prepare for a new work ready Alabama. Prepare for a new Alabama. VOTE …..for a better Alabama ….”
Bonner has also attacked his opponent’s alleged close ties to the Montgomery establishment: “Just a note, if you get a political flyer, look at the postmark.. mine says local postage paid.. his says Craftmaster.. which of course is our good friend, Mike Hubbard. things that make you go hummmm.”
Newman told the ‘Times Daily’s Mary Sell, that he is not a fan of Common Core, but repealing it would mean first having something better to put in its place. “I would like to have the ability to have higher standards.” “I think we should have complete control of the standards.”
Polls open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm today.