This past week state Sen. Del Marsh made headlines when he introduced a bill that effectively removes Alabama schools from Common Core by 2021. Do you support or oppose this bill and what does Common Core mean to the average citizens?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative (Common Core) was a byproduct of President George Bush's, "No Child Left Behind" program in the late 1990s. A broad consortium of educators, governors and business executives convened to, allegedly, address the concerns of the business world and post secondary educational institutions that America’s school were falling behind in teaching techniques and quality of education for today’s business and academic environment. In 2004, this group adopted the Common Core State Standards Initiative, drastically changing not only the curriculum of mathematics and language arts, but the method of testing and evaluating students as well. This agenda has not sat well with all states, although to date, 45 states have signed on to the program.
Opposition appears to be more focused toward methodology and implementation than actual changes to improve the quality of education. Much of the criticism has been centered on this being seen as an attempt to establish a national curriculum disseminated from Washington. Supporters of Common Core say no, yet, the very philosophy of the project does not support their denials.
While some attempt has been made to tie mandatory compliance with Common Core to local federal funding for education, such action has been strictly prohibited with the signing of The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.
Marsh's bill would totally remove Alabama's schools from Common Core by 2021. The state, to date, has only partially implemented Core standards. Alabama State Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey said Marsh's bill would create a nightmare within state education mandating that systems be returned to the methods and procedures of the 1990s, triggering enormous cost.
So, is Marsh's Common Core bill viable? Is it a necessary thing or possibly political posturing by a politician hoping to unseat Democrat U.S. Sen. Doug Jones? Are we as voters prepared to surrender further local control of our schools to Washington by opposing Marsh's bill and embracing Common Core?
James W. Anderson