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Bill to Drop Common Core in Alabama Killed by State Senate

The Alabama Senate Education Committee has tabled a bill to require the state to drop the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts and math, effectively killing the anti-common core proposal for this session, Evan Belanger reported today for alabama.com.

Senate Bill 190 would have prevented the state board of education (which adopted the standards in 2010) from implementing or otherwise adopting the common core, which has been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia in English and 45 and the District of Columbia in math. The bill had some outside political momentum behind it—the Alabama Republican Party recently passed a resolution demanding that the state drop the common core, and there's a companion bill in the House of Representatives that would do the same thing.

But the Senate bill's sponsor, GOP Sen. Dick Brewbaker, ran into trouble with his fellow education committee members. How so? Belanger reports that a fellow Republican, Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, sought to amend the bill so that Alabama "may not cede control over its standards to any outside entity." But that change also meant that the bill would be altered so that common core wouldn't actually be dropped by the state. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Brewbaker did not like this change. But the problem for Brewbaker is that when he tried to secure passage for his own original anti-common-core bill, it lost in a procedural vote. When lawmakers then moved to consider Holtzclaw's amended version of the bill, Brewbaker essentially killed his own legislation rather than allow his colleagues to entertain and possibly adopt what Holtzclaw wanted.

Of course, a state's control of its standards is one of the hot political questions around the common core. Advocates say that the adoption and development of the common core, as well as the assessments for it, are state-driven and state-directed. But that argument doesn't cut any ice with people like Elois Zeanah, president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, who told the paper after Brewbaker's bill died: ""Conservatives feel betrayed by Republicans. Alabama has no say in common core."

Alabama Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice and business leaders have urged lawmakers not to kick common core to the curb. It appears that, at least for the moment, their arguments have won out. I say "at least for the moment" because there is in fact a House version of the bill, House Bill 254. Since that bill still has legs, at least technically, Deanna Frankowski of Birmingham, a member of the Rainy Day Patriots and the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs (the latter group is a creation of the former, and they both oppose the common core) said, "We will still fight."

At this juncture, however, it appears that anti-common-core efforts in Alabama need a jolt of new energy if they are going to survive.

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