Who decides what Alabama students learn?

Alabama has operated for years with a state standards adoption process that facilitates input from parents, citizens and educators into what is taught in our classrooms. On November 18th the State Board of Education will be asked to change all that and adopt national standards, which are called Common Core State Standards, in Math and English/Language Arts. The Board will vote on whether to give away their authority to decide what is taught in Alabama classrooms and ultimately how it is tested and how it is taught.

Don’t let the feds grab control of Alabama education

The standards themselves are the product of working groups set up by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers and other non-profits funded primarily by the Gates Foundation, but President Obama made it clear that his administration wants to force adoption.  On February 2/22/2010, he expressed his intent to require states to adopt national standards to receive Title I funds [See http://youtu.be/OKjkp724j6k].  Thankfully, Congressman John Kline (R-MN), who is expected to chair the House Education Committee in 2011, has stated that he will not authorize such a mandate. “The idea that academic standards would have to be federally approved … looks like national standards,” he said.

The adoption of these standards by a majority of states has been incentivized by $4billion of federal grant money (Race to the Top), for which Alabama applied and was turned down.  Assessments based on these standards are being written by two consortia which are funded by $330 million in federal money.  What the federal government funds, it controls.

Keep Alabama Curriculum Decisions in Alabama

According to the Alabama Department of Education, our standards are well over 90% in agreement with the national standards.  But such curriculum content experts as Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. Jim Milgram call the CC standards “mediocre” and not college ready standards. Why should we adopt the national standards unless we are also going to submit to national assessments, too?  The assessments will not be ready until 2014 and are expected to guide everything from teachers’ lesson plans to final exams. “Parents and the public will see their ability to influence education policies at the local level disappear, most likely forever.” [See http://bit.ly/cppnlE]

Please contact Governor Riley and your State Board of Education Member today to ask them to vote NO on adoption of Common Core Standards on November 18th.  (Contact information for the State Board)

“The decades-long drive by various administration to federalize education, which seems to be hitting its peak under President Obama’s effort to require national standards, is wrong-headed for a myriad of empirical and governance reasons.  It is likely to be a costly failure, with the cost measured not just in terms of dollars, but in the wasted lives of our children.”  [See http://bit.ly/cppnlE]

Take Action:

Contact Governor Bentley and your State Board of Education member and ask them to oppose the adoption of Common Core Standards.  You can find contact information here.

For More Information:

“Washington Doesn’t Know Best: The Perils of Federal Control of Education”
October, 2010, Pacific Research Institute, Lance Izumi, J.D. http://bit.ly/cppnlE

The “Common Core” Standards Initiative:  An Effective Reform Tool?
William J. Mathis  July 21, 2010  EPIC  http://bit.ly/aeAFjD

“National Standards Still Don’t Make The Grade”
Pioneer Institute White Paper http://bit.ly/cOPlqj

“Behind the Curtain: Assessing the Case for National Curriculum Standards”
The CATO Institute  http://bit.ly/9ecgJu

Texas Governor Rick Perry on the Danger of National Standards
The Heritage Foundation  http://bit.ly/cwu4R1