Alabama Senate Bill 443 (Common Core) - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Alabama Senate Bill 443 (Common Core)

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SYNOPSIS:

Under existing law, the State Board of Education has adopted, for implementation in the public K-12 schools of the state, the curriculum provided for Mathematics and English Language Arts pursuant to the educational initiative commonly referred to as the Common Core State Educational Standards.

 

This bill would authorize a local board of education to opt out of the common core curriculum for one or both of those subject areas and to implement an alternative curriculum for those subject areas in the local school system.

A BILL
TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT

Relating to public K-12 education curriculum; to provide for a moratorium on the further adoption or use of common core curriculum subjects until January 1, 2017; to authorize a local board of education to opt out of the currently adopted common core curriculum subject areas in the state and to implement an alternative curriculum for those subject areas in the local school system; to require the annual testing of students for proficiency in Math and English Language Arts; and to establish the Alabama Curriculum Standards Advisory Commission to evaluate and report on test results.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:

Section 1. The Legislature finds and declares that it is imperative to the educational system of the State of Alabama that local school systems have the ability to control curriculum, standards, and instruction at the local level. As such, this act shall be interpreted in a manner that facilitates the option, at the local level, for a local school system to opt out of the implementation of the common core curriculum, standards, instruction, or data collection regimen, or any or all of these.

Section 2. For the purposes of this act, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) COMMON CORE CURRICULUM. The educational initiative commonly referred to as the Common Core State Educational Standards, or any derivative thereof, including the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards. The term also includes any national content standards established by a consortium of states or a third party including, but not limited to, the Next Generation Science Standards, the National Curriculum for Social Studies, the National Health Education Standards, and the National Sexuality Standards.

(2) CURRENTLY ADOPTED COMMON CORE SUBJECTS. The two subjects of the common core curriculum that have been adopted by the State Board of Education: Mathematics and English Language Arts. The term specifically excludes the common core curriculum for the subjects of Science, History, and Social Studies. English Language Arts courses of study are restricted to traditional definitions of literature, grammar, and composition and shall not be incorporated into other courses of study.

(3) LOCAL BOARD OF EDUCATION. A city or county board of education that exercises management and control of a local school system pursuant to state law.

(4) LOCAL SCHOOL SYSTEM. A public agency that establishes and supervises one or more public K-12 schools within its geographical limits pursuant to state law.

(5) OPT OUT PLAN. The plan of a local school system wherein the local school system elects to implement an alternative curriculum, alternative standards, or alternative instructional plans for currently adopted common core subjects. This may also include an election by the local board not to participate in the student data collection regimen that accompanies common core curriculum.

Section 3. Commencing on the effective date of this act, and ending on January 1, 2017, the State Board of Education and each local board of education may not adopt, implement, approve, or expend any funds in furtherance of a common core curriculum beyond the currently adopted common core subjects.

Section 4. (a) A local board of education may continue to implement the currently adopted common core subjects in the local school system or may opt out of one or both of the currently adopted common core subjects, or the accompanying student data collection regimen, in the local school system and implement alternative curriculum, standards, or instructional plans for those subject areas. At a minimum, the alternative curriculum shall satisfy the curriculum standards in effect for the subject area or areas before the currently adopted common core subjects were adopted by the State Board of Education.

(b) A local board of education that elects to opt out of currently adopted common core subjects pursuant to subsection (a) shall submit all of the following to the State Department of Education:

(1) A letter of intent to opt out of one or both of the subject areas of the currently adopted common core subjects or the accompanying data collection regimen.

(2) A resolution adopted by the local board of education supporting the intent of the local school system to opt out.

(3) The opt out plan adopted by the local board of education to pursue an alternative curriculum, standards, or instructional plans in one or both of the currently adopted common core subjects.

(c) The opt out plan of a local school system shall include, at a minimum, all of the following if the plan differs from the adoption of the curriculum, standards, or instructional plans in effect immediately before the adoption of the common core curriculum:

(1) The date that the local school system expects to implement the alternative curriculum, standards, or instructional plans.

(2) A description of the alternative curriculum, standards, or instructional plans to be implemented for each subject area.

(3) A list of schools included within the local school system.

(d) The final opt out plan, as approved by the local board of education, shall accompany the formal submission of the local school system to the State Department of Education pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (b).

Section 5. (a) Neither the State Board of Education nor a local school system may cede control of any standards or curriculum to an entity outside of the State of Alabama, nor shall any public official acting in his or her official capacity join any consortium, association, or entity that would relinquish any measure of control over standards and assessments to any individual or entity outside of the State of Alabama, nor shall any public official acting in his or her official capacity join any consortium, association, or entity that would relinquish any measure of control over standards and assessments to any individual or entity outside of the State of Alabama.

(b) The curriculum, standards, or instructional plans selected by a local board of education shall not affect any associated state funding and reimbursement of the local school system. State and local funding including, but not limited to, financial assistance for the purchasing of new textbooks that are appropriate to the curriculum, standards, or instructional plans chosen, shall continue at the same level or percentage, without penalty, regardless of the curriculum, standards, or instructional plans selected by the local school system. Any assistance provided to help implement common core curriculum shall be matched to implement alternatives to common core curriculum.

Section 6. The State Board of Education shall establish and implement procedures to annually test the proficiency of public K-12 students in at least three grade levels as specified by the State Board of Education including primary, intermediate, and secondary grade levels. Testing shall be uniformly implemented throughout the state in all local school systems, including common core curriculum systems and alternative curriculum systems. Testing shall be based on the standards in effect before the adoption of the common core curriculum. Testing shall be administered by an independent testing agency that is not affiliated with any group proposing, implementing, promoting, or aligning with any particular curriculum. All testing shall be based on subject matter proficiency, independent of any particular world view, and not on a particular curriculum or method of problem solving.

Section 7. (a) There is created the Alabama Curriculum Standards Advisory Commission.

(b) The membership of the commission shall include one classroom teacher and one parent or legal guardian of a student attending public K-12 school from each congressional district as appointed by the Governor. The membership of the commission shall be inclusive and reflect the racial, gender, geographic, urban/rural, and economic diversity of the state.

(c) A quorum of the commission for the transaction of business shall be eight members.

(d) The commission shall independently evaluate the testing procedures and results of testing of all public schools annually, and shall compare the results of the schools based on the form of curriculum utilized by the local school system. Data collected shall be limited to information directly related to testing, such as the age, race, special education classification, grade level, and test score of the student.

(e) The ongoing results of the evaluation shall be submitted to the Governor, the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, and the Chair of the House Education Policy Committee on or before the fifth legislative day of the 2016 and 2017 Regular Sessions. Every member of the Legislature shall be given notice when the results are available and shall be provided access to those results. The results shall also be posted on the website of the State Board of Education and a prominent link to the results shall appear on the Internet home page of the State Board of Education.

(f)(1) A parent or legal guardian, upon written request to the local board of education, may prohibit the collection of any data relating to his or her child pursuant to this act. The local board of education shall provide notice to parents and guardians of this option in the same manner as used by the local board of education to provide notice of school closings.

(2) A parent or legal guardian, upon written request to the local board of education, shall be provided a record of all data collected relating to his or her child. The local board of education shall correct any inaccuracies in the report upon the written request of the parent or legal guardian.

(g) No student data collected pursuant to this act may be provided to any entity outside of the State of Alabama, other than an entity conducting the testing required by this act.

(h) No local board of education shall be required to collect any student data beyond the minimum necessary to participate in testing pursuant to this act.

Section 8. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, no member of the State Board of Education or a local board of education may be censured, reprimanded, or sanctioned for freely expressing his or her opinion on any issue debated, approved, or disapproved by the State Board of Education or a local board of education.

Section 9. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, upon the request of any member and the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the State Board of Education or a local board of education, an item shall be added to the agenda for discussion and action at the board meeting.

Section 10. To serve as a city superintendent of education, a person shall satisfy those qualifications specified in Section 16-12-2, Code of Alabama 1975, and no additional qualifications for service shall be required. To serve as a county superintendent of education, a person shall satisfy those qualifications specified in Section 16-9-2, Code of Alabama 1975, and no additional qualifications for service shall be required.

Section 11. This act shall become effective immediately following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

SB443
By Senators Beason, Glover, Sanford, McGill, Holley, Marsh, Ward, Hightower, Allen, Smith, Whatley, Pittman and Reed
RFD Education
Rd 1 05-MAR-14

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