When the election of March 3, 2020 rolls around, the proponents of switching from an elected to an appointed school board will play their Common Core card.
Why? Because the legislation calling for a vote on a constitutional amendment to change how we pick our state school board has one sentence tucked away on page 5 that says the new board should adopt:
“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.”
Given all the misinformation about common core we have heard for years, no doubt some of those advocating to take over the state board see this as a “secret weapon” to encourage a YES vote.
But before voters fall for this gimmick, they should listen to what one Alabamian wrote about our standards in 2014.
“Over the past weeks and months, I have found myself caught up in numerous conversations with family, friends, and colleagues regarding an increasingly controversial issue. The issue is Common Core. And the arguments I consistently hear against it are the same: The standards are a backdoor attempt by Washington to usurp local control of education and institute a national K–12 curriculum.
If this were the case, I would join the opponents of Common Core instead of debating them. For if the federal government is ever allowed to dictate the substance of our children’s education, it is only a matter of time before the cultural values of our children will be reprogrammed by Washington bureaucrats.
But, thankfully, this is not the case. Put simply, Common Core does not allow the federal government to prescribe what our children learn. Much of the resistance to the program stems from this single misperception, which is itself rooted in a deep distrust of the president. But President Obama isn’t driving the standards, nor did he create them. The states are propelling Common Core. Currently, all but five states have fully implemented the standards. Moreover, the standards began gaining momentum long before Barack Obama was elected president.
The standards now known as Common Core were initiated and developed by governors and other state leaders eager to raise educational standards in a way that was state-led, rather than being a Washington solution. That’s why it is deeply encouraging that so many states are asserting ownership of the standards by adapting them to their needs.
There is simply no evidence that national education standards will lead to a national curriculum, or that they will stifle the ability of states to teach subject areas that matter to parents residing there. To the contrary, many of those who know the standards thoroughly, including the state superintendent of education in Alabama, insist that educators today retain full control in the development, selection, and implementation of the curricula used in our schools.
Common Core establishes uniform standards — standards that must be met regardless of the curriculum a state decides to adopt. The standards demand accountability. They give the things that really matter — reading, writing, and arithmetic — priority over subject matter that does little or nothing to prepare kids for college and the workforce. And ultimately, the Common Core standards will make American students more competitive with their international peers.
All of these goals are worthy, and they deserve the support of both Republicans and Democrats.”
Former Governor Bob Riley wrote these words in 2014. A dyed-in-the-wool conservative Republican, hardly a wild-eyed liberal with an Obama sticker on his bumper like all supporters of the Alabama College & Career Ready standards are supposed to be.
Don’t believe me? Go here and see for yourself.
So when Senator Del Marsh cranks up his snake oil show in hopes of hand picking the state school board and taking away the right of Alabama citizens to vote, it is a pretty safe bet that he will never mention what Governor Riley said about these standards.