UPDATED: SB-443 Would Allow Common Core Opt-Out For Alabama Schools

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) – A bill that would allow Alabama school systems to opt-out of the Common Core curriculum has been formally introduced in the state legislature.

Senate Bill 443 is a nine-page bill sponsored by Senators Beason, Glover, Sanford, McGill, Holley, Marsh, Ward, Hightower, Allen, Smith, Whatley, Pittman and Reed.  As of Thursday, it was listed in committee.

The proposal puts the opt-out provision in place for Common Core Math and English Language Arts standards that have already been implemented by many Alabama schools.

Proponents said the bill guarantees local control over school curriculum, but Alabama Board of Education Member Mary Scott Hunter called it nothing more than a clever trick meant to unravel Alabama College and Career Ready Standards.  Hunter told WHNT News 19 that several state senators had been in contact with her about the legislation, which she adamantly opposes.

“It’s not a compromise.  It’s just another bad piece of legislation,” said Hunter. “With some sort of wonky opt-out provision, how could we ensure that every student in Alabama was getting the very best education we could give them? It’s not a standard if you can opt-out.”

SB-443 calls on school boards to adopt curriculum standards that were in place before Common Core, if they choose to opt-out. Lawmakers said a related bill that had called for all-out repeal of Common Core is likely dead for now.

38 comments

  • Christopher

    The last sentence of this article is absolute nonsense. In Mathematics, the Common Core Standards teaches conceptual development as opposed to strictly rote or procedural knowledge. Actually, the traditional method is the rote method of teaching, absent of critical thinking skills.

  • Jim

    Well leave it to Alabama who we all know leads the country in Educating its citizens to try to OPT out of a Nationally recognized set of Standards meant to improve the Education of our children. What next, ban schools in Alabama..Ignorance is Bliss I guess.. I understand there are points of contention with the Core Standards but just like anything else, with time that can be fixed…

  • Deb Ezell

    I have taught English for thirty-five years. After studying the stsndards, I did NOT find subversive elements. If this passes, there will be educational chaos. Millions and millions of dollars will have been wasted.

    • Christopher

      Deb, you are exactly right. I have taught Math for a number of years, and Common Core is the best thing that has ever happened to our curriculum standards. Children are not taught just rote procedure but to think conceptually. I am still scratching my head when people say there is a hidden agenda in the standards. I wonder if they have ever even read the standards…

  • Skillpot

    Just hire up some teachers who know how to help any, and all students to mover forward in the task of preparing for the future workplace! Let’s stop wasting time in the classroom that does not prepare anyone!

    • smitty

      Skillpot, the average starting salary ,for a teacher with a bs in education ,in Alabama is 36,201 , the same average teacher with a bs in education, after tenure , average salary is 47,803, starting salarys rank17th in the u.s. and after tenure 31st in the u. s. , but the state of Alabama ranks 42nd in education, by those numbers,and rate of salary .Alabama should be 24th in education based the the salarys, One could conclude that the tax payers of Alabama are not recieving their return on investment .

      • Lovetoteach

        Actually, I am a tenured teacher and according to your information, am highly underpaid, seeing as how I only bring home $2,100 a month, which by the way, is less than what I was being paid when I started. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but people thinking that I am making a ton of money makes me a little upset.

      • fred

        lovetoteach, those figures I gave are from the U.S.Department of Labor,for the state of Alabama salarys for teachers with only a bs in education. and how Alabama ranks with the other U.S. states.

      • smitty

        lovetoteach , sounds like your monthly take home of 2,100 dollars is your net income, your gross income is before taxes,insurance,union dues, are taken out.

  • JA

    I also don’t see the problem with common core. I’ve seen some scare mongering about “agendas” and “teaching things differently” but nothing worth worrying about. I think the opponents are just worried because they don’t understand the math, and have a problem with evolution and climate change being part of the standards. I still haven’t heard a good reason against it.

    Yes, the math is different from what I was taught, however it uses concepts similar to what I’ve used — and I’ve always excelled at math. I’m happy to see it teaches students how to *think* about the math instead of just memorizing multiplication and addition. It’s better to learn concepts behind the results. You’ll still “memorize” it at some point, but understanding the concepts will help beyond what you’ve memorized.

    I’m a supporter of critical thinking versus simple memorization.

    • JA

      Even beyond my comment above…

      Alabama has proven its current system is not working. Let’s try something different?

    • Lovetoteach

      You are exactly right about the common core promoting critical thinking. My students are actually understanding what they are doing, instead of just simply following a memorized process. Students who are more comfortable using the traditional method can still do that. They just understand it better. We are only showing them multiple ways of finding their answer.

  • Jim

    From what I see there are three teachers who have commented here; 1 Math Teacher, 1 English teacher and another saying that their students are learning to critically think instead of just rote memorization of facts/theorems. They have all said that their students are benefiting from these new standards and they have not noticed any “Nefarious or hidden agenda built into the standards” . The heart of the matter is application of what students have learned by putting it into use. We all have learned things the past that were not communicated effectively and we had no clue how it would apply except for some theoretical application. The basis for the CORE stadardards is teaching students how to think and apply the concepts they are taught not just understand the theory. Practical applications makes things like Math, Physics, Biology and Chemistry much more meaniful. I don’t see any reason to OPT out of the Common Core Standards. I think this is more of a politically motivated movement than anything else, but what is funny is that Ronald Reagan was President when all this began many years ago when businesses were bringing up the issue of how poorly educated American students were when they came into the workforce. The whole effort started up around that timeframe.

    • Christopher

      Jim, a “politically motivated movement” sums it up very well. The teachers that oppose it want it repealed because it requires them to do their job and to rise to the challenge of educating children, instead of maintaining the status quo of doing what they have always done because it bests suits them…

      • confused

        Christopher, you inducated on one of your post (above) that the workers that opposed common core,do not want it, because it would require them to do their job . My question is why does the school ,keep workers that are not doing their job.

  • Gomez

    Juan is my cousin. he had to go to work for family and dont like school since he was a kid in Tijuana. He is best roofer around.

  • Shea

    CC standards are an attempt by the federal government to control something they have no business controlling–at least according to that pesky old document commonly referred to as the U.S. Constitution.

    And If it’s so great, where is the data to support it? Oh that’s right, the great state of Alabama didn’t bother collecting any data because there isn’t any. And by the way–what problems exactly were we having that you’re so certain CC will fix? And how do you know it will fix it? And what happens if it doesn’t? Do you want that experiment done on your children? I don’t.

    The truth is that the vast majority of the problems in our education system can be directly related to socioeconomic status–a problem that will be made WORSE, NOT BETTER, under CC and its one-size-fits-all standards, curriculum, and testing methods.

    • Christopher

      I have 2 questions. 1) Have you even read the Common Core Standards? If not, your opinion is worthless. 2) Did you get the one-size fits all thing from the news. It is the opposite of the one size fits all of rote procedural knowledge.

    • Christopher

      Common Core is NOT a federally mandated curriculum. It was developed by states, beginning with the Bush administration. Some of you are so paranoid you would not know the truth if it knocked on your door and said hello!

    • Christopher

      The data is contained within research-based studies, but apparently you have no real knowledge of Common Core and educational research, or you would not be asking the question.

      • jimmy

        Christopher, could you supply us, with the common core reseach papers that you are referring to,and where to find it , thanks

  • Shea

    Christopher, I have read the standards. I am active in my children’s school and have seen the application of these standards first-hand. I have done a lot of research. I have attended meetings with my school board, my PTA, and my legislators. AFTER ALL THAT, I formed an opinion shared by many across all political spectrums. My opinion, therefore, is not worthless.

    The curriculum is most definitely tied to CC–all books, workbooks and tests now proudly display the CC logo. ACT developed its own standardized test–that has yet to be VALIDATED–to align with CC and to help with the data mining encouraged and subsidized by the federal government.

    The most important point to be made here is that it does take contol away from state and local districts. We have NO POWER to make changes to these standards. We can add too them slightly and that’s it. Future changes will be made by people who have a vested financial impact in the outcome, not necessarily in the quality of education they presume to provide. That’s not how our educational system is designed to work, according to the constitutuon.

    And yes, this was started by the Governors Association. Remembering that things often start for one reason but continue for another, I’d submit to you what resulted is not what was first intended. I have a right to my informed opinion. It’s not based on hysteria or paranoia but deeply rooted in my unwavering obligation to my children’s future. And I am the only one who has MY children’s best interest at heart at all times and am charged with the responsibility of advocating for them.

    • JA

      I’m glad my child will not have to endure a one-size-fits-all education like I did before CC. I’m glad my child will be able to learn the steps leading to the answer instead of just memorizing the answer. I’m glad that with CC, my child will be taught critical thinking above regurgitation.

    • Christopher

      The Alabama State Board of Education is presently the one who decides which curriculum we follow. If the Alabama State Legislature has its way, they will control it. I think I will side with the BOE over elected politicians who cannot even speak proper grammar at times. The notion that the federal government is controlling curriculum is just that, a notion…

      • smitty

        If you know whats good for you, you will side with the BOE! ,are you will be the next drivers ed teacher.at your school.

      • Christopher

        Smitty, it may come as a surprise to you, but I embrace the BOE not because I have to but because I think they have made the proper choice in this matter. Yes, I think people who hold doctoral degrees in their field vs. politicians who may never have even graduated from college know more about what they are doing.

    • Christopher

      If you are as well informed as you indicate, then you would not be asking where the data is to support it.

  • Heidi

    I too have studied the Common Core Standards and find them to be completely lacking. I have a Masters Degree in Special Education and while I am not currently teaching (as I do not have my Alabama License) I pay attention closely to what my children are learning, and find that the CC is not teaching our kids enough of what they should be learning. What ever happened to good old fashioned reading, writing, and arithmatic? My daughter who is in the first grade brought home a reading test and when I looked at the questions I couldnt believe some of the questions asked. The answers were so vague, that I with a Masters degree, had to think about them for a second. I was completely blown away that such questions would be asked on a first graders reading test to begin with. Also, I am completely apalled that most teachers dont think it necessary to teach a child how to write and penmenship. Just because we are in the computer age we all still need to know how to write and to write well. I realize that Common Core is trying to teach critical thinking skills, but there must be something wrong with the standards as a whole in light of the fact that so many students are not even passing the graduation exam.

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