Lawmaker Pushing to Oust Common Core From His State’s Classrooms

An Alabama state legislator is looking for a showdown on his bill to repeal Common Core curriculum standards statewide, an issue that’s ignited furious and divisive debate among lawmakers there.

Sen. Scott Beason (Image source: YouTube clip)
Sen. Scott Beason (Image source: YouTube clip)

Republican state Sen. Scott Beason filed a bill Thursday that would repeal the standards until at least Jan. 1, 2017. Beason secured 14 co-sponsors for his legislation that he hopes will go before the 35-member Senate, the Associated Press reported.

“Common Core is an unproven, untested education experiment. If Common Core turns out to be the great educational panacea, then in 2017 the state school board can adopt it,” Beason told the AP. “I’m convinced by that time Common Core will be falling apart all over the country.”

Alabama is one of 45 states to adopt the standards that were developed by the National Governors’ Association and tied to federal Race to the Top grants by the Obama administration. Repeal has become a rallying cry from state tea party groups and some conservatives who call it the nationalization of public education. Business associations and state education groups have embraced the standards, saying they will boost Alabama student performance.

Alabama School Superintendent Tommy Bice urged legislators to reject the repeal effort. “There’s no indoctrination. There is no conspiracy,” Bice told the AP. “We are teaching math. We are teaching kids to read and write.

“It just doesn’t make any sense for something that is simply a political issue. It has nothing to do with academics.”

Sally Howell, executive director of the Alabama Association of School Boards, told the AP that a repeal would be like going back to a “bag phone from an iPhone.”

“This legislation is politics at its worst. It is bad for students. It is a power grab by the state Legislature, and it is wasteful,” she added. “By dictating what is taught in our classrooms, the Legislature would waste hundreds of thousands of hours spent implementing higher standards and would cause school systems to trash classroom materials based on these world-class standards and replace them with old, outdated materials.”

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, a Republican, said while he will continue to study the debate over Common Core, his position remains that a repeal bill will not hit the Senate floor.

Beason, who is running for Congress, said some of his fellow lawmakers want to avoid a vote. “I think there are legislators in both houses that are solidly committed to both sides,” Beason told the AP.

Here’s a clip of Beason addressing a tea-party crowd on other legislative issues:

(H/T: Weasel Zippers)