Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Chris England and the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee agree on at least one thing and that is that voters should go to the polls on Tuesday and vote no on Amendment One.
The voters go to the polls on Tuesday to vote on whether or not to replace the elected State Board of Education (SBOE) with an appointed board. If passed Amendment One would be constitutional amendment 284 to the Alabama Constitution.
“Amendment One threatens to abolish the state’s elected school board to replace it with a board completely appointed by the Governor,” ADP Chairman England wrote. “Before you sit down to mark your ballot on Tuesday, I hope you will consider a few important facts. A “yes” vote on Tuesday would do away with the current eight-member, state school board which was chosen in elections (held in 2016 and 2018) with 1.6 million voters participating. A “yes” vote would transfer the will and wishes of millions of qualified voters to a single state official, allowing the Governor to personally select and appoint nine people to form a new commission to oversee Alabama’s public schools. A “yes” vote would eliminate the State Superintendent’s role, which would be replaced with a newly created position, the Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education.”
“Let’s be honest here. It’s not a well-kept secret. As a state, Alabama ranks last—or close to last—in just about everything,” England admitted. “Some might try and convince you that this is an effort to move public education forward, but greedy power grabs rarely lead to sustainable progress. Our state’s education system should not be used as a political football.”
“Amendment One is another attempt to dismantle democracy, trading the will of the people for the wishes of one person,” England concluded. “If we truly have hopes for a future that rises from the bottom of the achievement lists to provide a quality education for all of our students, then we must ensure all of our communities are represented and heard. I think the 1,650,113 voters who weighed in on the election of our current state school board might agree. #VotenoonAmendment1.”
In August the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee met and passed a resolution urging voters to reject Amendment one.
Republican executive committee member and outspoken Common Core opponent Mike Parsons told the committee that putting the requirement of a “national” standard in the state constitution “Will lock Alabama into national” standards like Common Core and any future changes that might occur at the national level the state would be forced to adopt; and there would be nothing that Alabama parents could do about it.
“If the amendment passes, the new commission will be required to “adopt a course of study standards that ensure nationwide consistency and the seamless transfer of students from within and outside of the state, in lieu of common core,” ADP Chair England said. “This sentence was intentionally tucked away from voters in an effort to circumvent the legislative process and avoid deliberative debate and compromise to examine and evaluate the use of Common Core standards in Alabama.”
The resolution opposing Amendment 284 was passed by the Alabama Republican Executive Committee 65 to 35 percent.
The Alabama Democratic Conference also opposes Amendment One.
Joe Reed is the Chairman of the ADC. Reed said in a statement: “This was the most idiotic proposal that has been placed before the people of Alabama in the history of the state.”
The bill was sponsored by State Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and passed both houses of the Legislature with broad bipartisan support.
“We have some people in the Legislature who should not be there!” Reed said.
“It is not in the interests of the people of Alabama,” said State Representative Bob Fincher, R-Woodland. “The people of this state do not need to cede their right to Montgomery to elect a state school board.”
State Representative John Rogers, D-Birmingham, said, “I took a poll and everybody in my district is against this. I have to be opposed to it.”
State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said, “Amendment One will take your right away to vote on state school board members and let Gov Ivey have the right to appoint all the state school board.”
Jim Zeigler warned. “It puts the requirements of the common core into the state constitution.”
“This is too much concentration of authority in the Executive branch,” Senate candidate State Representative Arnold Mooney, R-Indian Springs, said. “I am not in favor of national standards.”
“In 1970, we had an appointed board,” State Representative Andrew Sorrell, R-Muscle Shoals, said. We switched to an elected board because they at the time thought would work better now they want to switch to an appointed board again. “I have seen the polling on this issue and we can win and we will win.”
The voters of Alabama will get to decide whether they want to keep electing their state school board members or not when they vote on March 3 in the major party presidential primaries.