Editorial: The core of a GOP problem
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Aug 21, 2013 | 2404 views |  0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mary Scott Hunter, who represents north Alabama on the State Board of Education, may wish she had never heard of Common Core, the collection of national standards for English and math classes that are used in Alabama public schools.

If that were the case, she’d be in the American majority and not in hot water with certain members of the state’s Republican Party.

Two bad neither are true.

This week’s developments have paired Hunter and Common Core into an odd couple: As a Republican, she’s a member of a political party that typically abhors any sort of governmental intrusion, particularly in matters of education. Hunter, however, is a strong proponent of the Common Core standards.

Earlier this week, the Madison County Republican Party took the drastic step of voting to censure Hunter for what it called a “dereliction of duty” for her refusal to wave the anti-Common Core flag in Alabama. GOP representatives in that county said Hunter, the daughter of former Alabama quarterback Scott Hunter, helped block legislation that would have repealed the standards.

Talk about quirky timing. Hunter’s censure took place Monday. On Wednesday, a survey by Gallup and Phi Delta Kappa International showed that a majority of polled Americans (62 percent) had never heard of Common Core standards. Of those whose children were in public schools, less than half (45 percent) had heard of them.

Thus, a rising figure in the state Republican Party — Hunter has thought about one day running for governor — has been censured by her own party in the same week that Gallup says a majority of Americans wouldn’t recognize the education standards that have caused Hunter’s reprimand.

As the new school year begins, it’s apparent that Common Core is cemented as an evil entity among Alabama Republicans. For various reasons — such as states’ rights or educational concerns — Republicans want to treat Common Core like the Creek Indians. They want to drive it out, even though it was Republican Gov. Bob Riley who introduced Common Core to the state and was a big supporter of the standards.

That’s bad news for Alabama, which benefits by having its public schools adhere to the standards. Removing them from the state’s schools would be nothing more than a byproduct of the ongoing political argument of small government vs. big government. For a state whose public education is constantly under fire from both internal and external critics, that removal would be a monumental mistake.

As for Hunter, it’s refreshing to see a state-level politician with the mettle required to discard the party line. It’s unfortunate, though expected, that’s she’s paying the price for her spunk.
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Editorial: The core of a GOP problem by The Anniston Star Editorial Board

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