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Hot Blast: Sen. Marsh goes after Common Core in Alabama

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Del Marsh

The many faces and reactions of Alabama State Senator, District 12 Del Marsh winning his seat back against Wayne Willis at his headquarters in Anniston. Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

As we wait to see if Alabama Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, decides to run for Congress -- Yes! No! Maybe! -- he isn't wasting his time this month in Montgomery.

He's already teamed with Gov. Kay Ivey to pass the Rebuild Alabama Act, which will use the state's first gasoline-tax increase since 1992 to repair the state's deteriorating infrastructure.

And on Tuesday, he did this:

Marsh is the public face of the Alabama Accountability Act -- which allows students in "failing" public schools to transfer to higher-performing ones -- is now calling for the state to eliminate Common Core guidelines from its schools. It's a decision fraught with political fallout.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative, which began nationally in 2010, are educational benchmarks K-12 students in U.S. schools should meet each year. Common Core's basic goal is to standardize U.S. education to help poor-performing states reach higher and for U.S. businesses to benefit from having better-performing schools in their regions.

In general, Republicans despise Common Core because they see it as an infringement on states' rights and an overreach of the federal government. They want more local control. That's ostensibly Marsh's argument. And Democrats, by and large, see the standards as a progressive step in the right direction for public education, particularly for low-performing states.

The argument can be made, however, that public education in Alabama has ranked among the nation's bottom-feeders well before Common Core's birth. At the end of the day, the best option is for politicians to fund education as an unrivaled priority and allow gifted educators to lead our schools. By definition, politicians aren't educators.

-- Phillip Tutor