By Scott Watkins
A bill to repeal Common Core in Alabama has slowed down in the state House of Representatives after its swift passing in the Senate on March 20.
Introduced by Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, the bill passed through the Senate with a 23-7 vote.
“After 10 years [of Common Core], the state of Alabama is 49th in math and 46th in reading,” Marsh said in a social media post on March 19. “We can’t keep going in that direction.”
After passing the Senate, the bill has sat in the Education Policy Committee with no timetable for a floor appearance, according to committee chairwoman Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur.
“I still have several people who have asked to meet with me on the bill, both proponents and opponents,” Collins said. “I’m giving each one of them an opportunity to sit down and meet.”
Common Core has been in place in Alabama since 2011, but the bill, Senate Bill 119, calls for the 2020-21 school year to be the final year the Common Core standards are used in Alabama.
Common Core is a set of academic standards for teaching and testing in mathematics and English set forth by the National Governors Association.
Rep. Joe Faust, R-Fairhope, said test scores in Baldwin County are among the highest in the state. As a result, teachers in the county are against the repeal, according to Faust.
“Teachers like Common Core, at least in the Fairhope area,” Faust said. “People in education in Fairhope, Alabama, are for Common Core.”
Faust said he hasn’t made a decision on his vote yet, but he’s considering both sides of the bill.
Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Bay Minette, said he does not think the bill would make it through the House if it were voted on today.
“There’s still a lot of opposition, but there’s also some misunderstanding,” McMillan said. “I think if it were to come to a vote on the floor of the House, there is a good chance it would be overturned.”
McMillan said a drop in test scores over the last 10 years is a concern, but said there are other areas that have come into question that leave him unready to fully commit to either side.
He did say, however, that he would vote to repeal Common Core if it came to a vote today.
When the Common Core standards were introduced, 46 states adopted them, including Alabama.
Since then, four states have repealed those standards. Arizona, Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina voted to repeal Common Core in 2014.
Scott Watkins, a Troy University journalism student from Daphne, wrote this story in a project partly funded by the Alabama Press Association Journalism Foundation.
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