Bill to repeal Common Core standards passes committee

Updated: Mar. 20, 2019 at 10:16 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A bill to repeal Common Core standards passed the Education Policy Committee Wednesday.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, proposed a bill that would eliminate Common Core standards for Math and English Language Arts, also known as the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards.

“It’s time to move in a new direction,” Marsh said.

He said Alabama is 46th in the country for reading and 49th for math in the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

“That pretty much tells you it’s not working,” he said. “I’ll work with the education committee to come up with new standards, whatever I can do to help them. But we’ve got to give them direction.”

Common Core is essentially national education standards, not the curriculum. The bill said it would replace Common Core standards with the previous 2011 Math study courses and 2012 English study courses. The bill then said the State Board of Education then would update these standards before May 1, 2020.

Sally Smith with the Alabama Association of School Boards does not support the bill.

“The bill is so concerning to us, because it would actually be disruptive and put our schools in chaos," Smith said. "Imagine math teachers having to teach three different math standards. One this year, one next year and one the year after.”

Common Core supporters say the national standard helps people know how Alabama students rank.

“Having standards that are benchmarked nationally are important so that we know when our children get an 'A' in our classroom, that that would be an 'A' in Georgia, in Nevada, and in Colorado," she said.

State Superintendent Dr. Erick Mackey said he did not hear of the bill until Wednesday morning.

“The bill being proposed has a lot of implications and could produce a host of unintended consequences. Changing teaching standards requires a lot of expert work by dedicated education professionals. It will not happen overnight. The Department of Education and State Board have been deliberating for months over revisions to Alabama’s current Math and Reading curriculum standards and as well as new assessment practices that follow behind those standards. We understand and agree with the desire to realize greater academic success. However, reverting back to Alabama Course of Study standards adopted in the late 1990s and early 2000s would be a huge undertaking for standards that will only be used for a short period of time. Those documents were only published in print form and would need to be digitized. Also, many new teachers and administrators have cycled in and out since then; new assessment practices would have to be developed to follow the old standards. Not to mention the cost of new books, professional development, instructional resources – that will be very expensive. Another of the most glaring concerns are other areas that “adopt or implement” national standards, such as the workforce credentials offered through Career Technical Education, assessments such as ACT, SAT, NAEP National Board certification, and coding/computer science standards. We already have a plan to roll new assessments out in 2020, they are going to be the best in the nation. If we go back to standards that are 20 years old, we will have to do a change order in the testing. That could be several million more dollars. Adhering to the bill as it is written could have negative repercussions on all of these areas.”

The proposed bill also said the state school board could not adopt or implement any other national standards. Marsh said he would add an amendment to change this.

The bill is expected to hit the senate floor for a debate Wednesday and has more than 20 co-sponsors. Marsh said he plans to meet with educators the following week.

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