Supporters and opponents of the Common Core Standards, a national initiative for states to adopt universal education guidelines, packed the Alabama House Chamber for a hearing on a proposal to repeal the standards.
"They're not good for Alabama" said Jane Robbins, a longtime critic of the standards. "Alabama's a sovereign state. You should have control over your education."
Alabama incorporated the Common Core into the state's "Alabama College and Career Ready Standards" which the Alabama State Board of Education adopted in December 2010 and reaffirmed in November 2011 despite calls not to from Gov. Robert Bentley.
Supporters say the charges from opponents, who consist of numerous conservative political groups including the Tea Party, are completely unfounded have more to do with politics than children.
"It's not from the federal government" said Suzanne Culbreth, Alabama's Teacher of the Year, who teaches at Spain High School. "It's something that's allowing us to be on the same page as other states."
During prepared remarks at the hearing, Rep. Mike Hubbard, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives said issues relating to curricula and similar issues should be left to the Alabama State Board of Education.
Hubbard said, "If they choose to give up that responsibility, I have every confidence that this legislature will choose to correct this issue."
Five states, including Texas, Alaska and Nebraska have not adopted the Common Core. Adopting the standards is a key part of the federal Race to the Top program that provides billions in grants to states for education.
Governor Robert Bentley has been an outspoken critic of the Common Core Standards since he took office. He even led an attempt to repeal them as a member of the State School Board in 2011. He didn't have enough votes and the board eventually voted to pass a resolution reaffirming the board's commitment to the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards.
Tommy Bice, the Superintendent of the Department of Education spoke at length during the committee hearing Wednesday, listing what he said were several facts about Alabama's standards.
In support of the state's current standards Bice said, "I have complete confidence that Alabama remains in total authority over our academic standards under the watchful eye of the Alabama State Board of Education."
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