Misinformation concerning Common Core (Opinon from Elois Zeanah, President, Alabama Federation of Republican Women)
As a grassroots volunteer, I would like to correct some of the misinformation concerning the Common Core curricula as published in the Birmingham News by Editor Joey Kennedy in his column on Sunday, March 17. Since I'm not a paid lobbyist or elected politician, I was surprised at the scorn and attention I drew from Mr. Kennedy. Common Core is one of the major issues facing this State, and I believe the people of Alabama deserve to know the truth.
Common Core does not prepare students well for college. Many education experts document this, including one of the creators of Common Core, Dr. Jason Zimba, whom Mr. Kennedy would like as a fellow liberal. Dr. Zimba states that Common Core defines "college readiness" as preparation for a two-year community college, not a four-year college.
The states did not develop Common Core standards. Common Core was written by Achieve, Inc. under the auspices of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Both are trade associations, and members have no legislative authority to represent states. Both received millions of dollars to support and "shield" the writing of the Common Core standards from Congress, the public, and the press. While Mr. Kennedy may approve of national standards, I would hope as a newspaper man that he would disapprove of the lack of transparency.
Alabama cannot retain its education sovereignty under Common Core. Unlike past education reforms, parents, teachers, boards of education and/or legislators cannot change the standards for any reason since they are copyright by an entity outside Alabama. Nor can states fully control curriculum, assessments, tests, and all the rest, since these must be aligned 100% with Common Core. Yet Mr. Kennedy takes the word of "state Superintendent Tommy Bice" who "assured lawmakers the state Board of Education would retain sovereignty over state education standards" without questioning or checking this false claim. Nor did he question the unauthorized diversion of $50 million from the Alabama Reading and Math Initiatives, the most successful academic innovations in Alabama history, to pay for Common Core instead. Every legislator we've shown the documentation has admitted that he was unaware of this diversion and that it was not authorized by the Legislature. Do we have a state Board of Education that's out of control and feels it can run roughshod over the Legislature? Wouldn't this scandal be more worthy of ink than a personal attack against a grassroots volunteer?
At the end of his editorial, Mr. Kennedy comments, perhaps sarcastically, that despite the vote by a Senate committee on the repeal of Common Core, that "Zeanah and friends" will "keep making noise – because that's what they do." That is the public process and thank goodness, many of us are still willing to get involved, despite the risks of being personally attacked, and to speak out to protect our children -- because that's what we do.
We ask that the Alabama Legislature to "dare defend our rights" and exercise their duty under the Alabama Constitution as our last line of defense to protect our children from nationalized education, dictated by entities outside of Alabama – because that's what they are supposed to do.
Elois Zeanah, President, Alabama Federation of Republican Women