Today, Alabama voters go to the polls to decide who they support in either the Alabama Republican or Democratic primaries. Many voters stay home during the primary races; but vote in the general elections. Some do this because they view themselves as independents or third party supporters. Most do it because they trust the Republican and Democratic primary voters to make those decisions for them. Today there is also an Alabama constitutional amendment on the ballot so even if you don’t care who the Democrats nominate for President is or who the Republicans nominate for U.S. Senate will be there is still an election for you today.
Amendment One is on the ballot. In May the Alabama Legislature passed Amendment One with bipartisan support to address education in the state. If ratified by the voters today, Amendment One would replace the current elected State Board of Education with a commission appointed by the governor. It would also replace Common Core with “national standards.”
The Alabama Farmers Federation and a number of large corporations are spending an enormous amount of money to encourage voters to vote yes on Amendment One arguing that Alabama’s public schools are failing on national assessments and it is time to make major structural changes and that those changes should start at the top. They argue that a Yes vote on Amendment One will take partisan politics out of education.
John Pudner is the President of Take Back Action, a conservative election group. He opposes Amendment One and his group has contributed $100,000 urging voters to vote no on today’s state constitutional amendment.
“Kay Ivey is a great Governor, but having won elected school boards across Virginia beginning in the 1990s, I know firsthand that citizen-run school boards always do better than government-run. Alabama is better off without Amendment One which would take power away from the people.” Pudner said in a statement.
Pudner told the Alabama Political Reporter that they are being outspent more than ten to one by the groups promoting the plan. Pudner said that the people should not give away their right to vote on their school leaders.
APR asked why not just put all the power in the hands of the governor on education. The people can then vote every four years on whether or not the governor and his or her appointees are doing a good job running the state and the education system or not.
“Government works best when it is closest to the people,” Pudner said.
Pudner said that Amendment One would lock the state into Common Core because it requires constitutionally that the state follow “national standards.”
APR asked: Common Core is the only national standard right now. Some people like Common Core, some people don’t; but what if the national standards change. What if in two years, President Bernie Sanders replaces Common Core with a national standards embracing socialism and Marxism, wouldn’t the state be forced to follow that standard and have no legal choice if this passes.
Pudner said that he does not like Common Core; but something worse is possible and yes we would be locked into following whatever national standards were adopted and have no choice in the matter.
APR asked we are currently 49th in math, 46th in Reading if Amendment One fails what is your plan to get Alabma off of the bottom in education.
“I am for more school choice,” Pudner replied.
Pudner acknowledged that voters are being bombarded by media telling them to vote yes and that is undoubtedly swaying many voters however; “I hope enough voters wake up and ask themselves, I am giving up my right to vote for the school board ever again, Do I want to do that?”
Polls will be open today from 7:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. In order to participate in any Alabama election you must be a registered voter, you must vote at your assigned polling place, and you must bring a valid photo ID with you to the polls.