On November 18, 2010, the Alabama State Board of Education voted to adopt the Common Core State Standards (CCSSI). These standards are purported to be necessary to provide conformity among states in the curricula for English and math studies. As discussed in the last EF newsletter, these ‘standards’, which will be enforced by assessments funded by the federal government through consortia are in reality federal standards—regardless of their origins. What the federal government funds, it controls. Assessments drive curriculum.
Eagle Forum of Alabama helped coordinate the effort to defeat adoption of these standards. At the hearing prior to the vote, opponents included lawyers, teachers, preachers, businessmen, activists who expressed themselves knowledgeably. Supporters, who were outnumbered, were on education or corporate payrolls. David Byers amended the adoption resolution to say that any pressure from the federal government concerning academic standards must be reported to the Board. On the 7-2 adoption, voting for were Ella Bell, David Byers, Mary Jane Caylor, Ethel Hall, Randy McKinney, Gov. Riley, and Gary Warren. Against were Stephanie Bell and Betty Peters.
Stephanie Bell tried twice to delay the vote until next February when Governor-elect Bentley and some new board members take office. Betty Peters supported her.
Bell read a long list of opponent organizations with Alabama ties including Alabama Policy Institute, Heritage Foundation, Concerned Women for America, etc.
Prior to the vote, Sen. Scott Beason stated his opposition and read a statement from Governor-elect Bentley asking for postponement and stating: “If you do vote and pass these standards I go on record as opposing this action. It is a state function and the standards to educate our children should be based on state and local standards that are set by Alabama and local school boards and parents and not by the federal government or a consortium of states.”
In her two minute testimony, Eagle Forum of Alabama President Eunie Smith predicted that with adoption, parents and the public would see their ability to influence education policy virtually disappear. She said there is no evidence that the simple act of uniform standards across states will increase student learning; that nations with national standards have neither improved education nor economic competitiveness; and that CC has never even been piloted and is a massive experiment. She provided documentation for her statements.
“Indisputably,” Smith said, “the federal government has pushed these standards—by threats, pressure and funding assessments.” “The question,” she said, “is who decides. The people entrusted you, not some group outside Alabama, with curriculum decisions.”
After the vote, Smith said that we must ask the new Congress to stop federal funds for CCSSI and any mandate to adopt CCSSI in the Elementary and Secondary Act next year including Alabama Congressmen and Congressman John Kline (R-MN) who will chair the House Education Committee.
Eagle Forum will continue to fight this increased federal control by broadening our Coalition for Local Control of Schools to include key contacts in each Board of Education District to education them for future challenges. The path to sound education is parental/local, not national/federal control.
1. Write Congressman John Kline (R-MN), who will chair the House Education
Committee, and ask him not to appropriate any money for CCSSI implementation
and not to allow any mandate for adoption in the ESEA or any other
2. Write your Alabama Congressmen and Senators and ask them to do the same
and to advise you of any attempts to promote CCSSI at the federal level.