Bill proposes allowing schools to opt in or out of Common Core standards

Bill proposes allowing schools to opt in or out of Common Core standards

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - In Alabama, public schools follow the state's college and career readiness standards, which is Alabama's version of Common Core.

Now senate bill 60, sponsored by Sen. Rusty Glover, has been introduced to the education policy committee to repeal Common Core.

"To continue on with a set of standards and teaching methodologies that are moving our achievement scores in the wrong direction, I don't understand the enthusiasm for our program," said Sen. Dick Brewbaker.

Brewbaker is the committee chairman. He has been outspoken from the beginning, saying Common Core isn't right for our schools.

"If you look at the public affairs research council data, Alabama is going the wrong way in student achievement and we have been for the last couple of years," Brewbaker said.

Like most opponents, he says it gives government too much control of education and is a cookie cutter form of teaching.

"With Common Core movement, what you have is a movement to essentially nationalize what's taught, how it's taught, and how it's assessed," said Brewbaker. "I'm reluctant to homogenize public school education and pretend like we can guarantee that the needs of a student in Alabama are exactly the same as the needs of a student who lives at the Pacific Northwest."

"I think we have to have strong standards in the state, I'm a big believer in education and do all we can to help our young people excel. I think we have to have strong standards to do that," said Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh.

Marsh strongly supports Common Core, believing educators were heavily involved in creating the standards.

People in favor of Common Core say it gives schools freedom to teach how they see fit, and provides students multiple ways of learning to think outside of the box.

Marsh offered an amendment to give even more leeway to local school systems so they can choose to adopt the education standards or not.

"In the form it was in, I thought it was disruptive to those locals who have already set the standards in place, so my amendment gives the local boards and superintendents the decision to opt in or out of  Common Core. They spent a lot of money to set this up, and I think they should have that discretion," says Marsh.

The amendment was approved on Wednesday, but the bill was chaired and the committee will vote on it at a later time.

"I've had no one come to me wanting to opt out of the standards, not a single one in terms of the education community. I thought well this is a safety net in case it does come out of committee," added Marsh.

The Alabama State Department of Education says it remains committed to the Alabama College and Career-ready Standards. Leaders also argue real progress is being made, evidenced by the most recent ACT Aspire results, graduation rate and the successes seen daily in our local schools.

The Department of Education also says the annual review is currently going until March 14, which allows parents, legislators, and the entire state to evaluate each learning standard for themselves and leave comments for the course of study to review. They will bring any recommended changes to the State Board of Education for approval.

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