If they are reduced to arguing against improved academic standards present in the Common Core curriculum, then the bullies, conspiracists, flat-earthers and other assorted politicians who have traditionally found a welcoming home in Alabama are at the end of a long and sordid road.
If their attempts to repeal Common Core, which in Alabama is known as College and Career Ready Standards, fall flat, then these are hard times for the demagogues. (Never to fear, we’re confident they’ll be back any minute now with even more nonsense to gum up the legislative process.)
It’s not that they didn’t take their best shot at Common Core, an initiative led by states looking to improve and coordinate curriculum for public schools. To hear opponents tell it, the state-by-state cooperative was part of a plot that would end with children strapped into their desks and subjected to facial recognition technology and monitoring of their diet. We wish we were kidding that these were some of their arguments. In the end, opponents resorted to sputtering “Barack Obama,” as if mentioning the president’s name was all the argument needed to stop Common Core — an exercise, we’ll remind readers, that was not created by the federal government.
The good news is that all this tomfoolery about ending Common Core in Alabama is dead, at least for the 2013 legislative session. Sen. Del Marsh applied the brakes this week, saying more study is required before the state weighs leaving the compact. Actually, more study isn’t required, but we’ll applaud anything that keeps Common Core in Alabama. Scrapping a drive to improve academic standards is the last thing the state needs.
That’s why Tommy Bice, the state school superintendent, representatives from the Birmingham Business Alliance, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile chambers of commerce, the Business Council of Alabama, advocates for public education and others spoke up in favor of Common Core.
At its genesis, Common Core was designed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers as a way to put states on the same page, academically speaking. A patchwork quilt of school standards put the United States at a competitive disadvantage internationally.
In 2010, Alabama joined the compact when the state Board of Education voted 7-2 in favor of adopting Common Core. Gov. Bob Riley was a strong supporter of the initiative.
Today, there’s a different Republican in the governor’s mansion. Gov. Robert Bentley opposes Common Core, preferring Alabama go it alone, something Alabama has tried and failed at for decade after decade. Alabama is worse off for no longer having a governor who will support Common Core.