Editorial: Common Core common sense
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Jan 20, 2014 | 2442 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama Tea Party member Kay Day of Irvington, Ala., demonstrates in front of the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala., as lawmakers gathered inside on the first day of their regular legislative session.  Day was protesting Alabama's efforts in the Common Core education guidelines. Photo: Dave Martin/The Associated Press
Alabama Tea Party member Kay Day of Irvington, Ala., demonstrates in front of the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala., as lawmakers gathered inside on the first day of their regular legislative session. Day was protesting Alabama's efforts in the Common Core education guidelines. Photo: Dave Martin/The Associated Press
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Common Core critics insist that this set of national standards designed to improve the quality of education in participating states and allow for meaningful comparisons of progress is bad for Alabama.

Why?

Because, they claim, Alabama’s State Board of Education is surrendering control of Alabama’s standards to out-of-state entities by joining other Common Core states.

They also claim that Common Core only allows students to take Algebra I in the ninth grade or higher.

And they claim that the list of books attached to Alabama’s Common Core Standards contains subject matter to which Alabama students should not be exposed.

In a meeting last week, the Alabama State Board of Education addressed these concerns with a series of common-sense decisions. We they put the concerns to rest.

Earlier, the board rescinded the agreement with the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Even though the agreement was nonbinding, critics stoked the flames of fear that somehow we could be bound by it. Now that is done. The board is not surrendering control of our standards. Never was, never will.

As for the list of books, it was only offered as a set of examples, which were never required. Critics missed (or ignored) that important point. Nevertheless, the board dropped the list and, we can hope once more, satisfied the naysayers.

The board also set up a new math progression that makes it clear that claims about which math classes students can take are unfounded.

Board members who oppose the Common Core in general — Stephanie Bell of Montgomery and Betty Peters of Kinsey — voted against these common-sense solutions.

However, when Bell, in protest, complained to State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice that “we are still a Common Core state,” Bice replied, “We’re the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, and if you want to refer to them in that way, that’s your prerogative.”

The state school board has done its share to tamp down the fevered conspiracies of opponents. Let’s hope common sense prevails.
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