The Mobile County school board passed a resolution March 10 opposing Senate Bill 443, which would allow school districts across the state to opt out of Common Core Standards that comprise part of Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards.

Superintendent Martha Peek said the bill could lead to different sets of standards across the state, and would return districts choosing to opt out back to English standards set in 1999 and mathematics standards set in 2003.

Peek and the members of the board called on the Senate, especially members of the Mobile County delegation, to oppose the bill.

“We want to have our voices heard as educators. This bill does not seem to be one that would further the development of our students,” Peek said.
Though opting would be a decision of the local board, Peek said she is concerned emphasis at state level would then shift to the district level.

“I think our board would certainly consider that very carefully if the bill passed, but as you can see, we would be one of many districts that would look at maintaining the College and Career Ready Standards,” she said. “We’ve got a lot invested in developing our local curriculum.”

The Alabama State Board of Education (ALSDE) adopted Common Core Standards for math and English in 2010, and during the past two years those standards have been implemented in the classroom.

A change to pre-Common Core standards, which an opt-out requires, would affect not only curriculum, but also instructional resources, textbooks and professional development strategies in math and English.

The bill also calls for the creation of a Standards Advisory Committee comprised of parents and teachers in each congressional district to evaluate and report tests results.
Peek said if the bill passes, comparing those test results would be nearly impossible because varying standards would cause a lack of continuity across the state.

“There has been a lot of misinformation about the standards from very beginning. After three years of implementation, we’ve found nothing that substantiates those concerns,” Peek said. “Change is hard, and sometimes fear gets built into that.”

The bill was introduced by Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, and has since been co-sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh.
It will go before the Senate Education Committee March 11.