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Alabama Senate passes Common Core removal bill

Some amendments were added to the bill, and it was passed 23-7.

Posted: Mar 21, 2019 6:23 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2019 10:47 PM

Common Core is a step closer to being history in Alabama.

Thursday afternoon, the Senate passed the bill to repeal it, but it came with some last-minute changes to remove some unintended consequences. One of the biggest complaints is that the bill would impact students' ability to get into colleges. On Wednesday, the sponsor added some amendments so that AP exams and tests like the SAT and ACT won't be affected.

"My daughter began her kindergarten education following Common Core standards, and she has thrived with Common Core through out the years," said mother, Tracy Cieniewicz.

Cieniewicz said she does not want the Common Core curriculum to be eliminated from Alabama schools.

"I truly believe that lowering the standard is what will happen if we do away with Common Core. We don't raise expectations by lowering standards," said Cieniewicz.

The A+ Education Partnership in Alabama, an advocacy group, is also against the bill. It has been asking people to urge senators to vote against the bill.

We reached out to Huntsville City Schools this week for comment, but we were told no one is available this week because it's spring break. However, on her Facebook page, Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Christie Finley said, "This bill is poorly written and has many consequences that could directly impact our students and teachers."

Opponents said the federal government should never have been in charge of creating standards for students, it should be up to each state and eliminating Common Core will allow teachers to focus on how individual students learn.

"We need to not take away the spontaneity away from teachers and the ability to develop lesson plans to meet individual needs," said former teacher, Larry Sharp.

"We are Huntsvillians and we will stay here, and I have every faith that Huntsville City Schools system will step up to whatever challenge they face," said Cieniewicz.

One of the amendments introduced on Thursday is that the Common Core won't be eliminated until the 2021-2022 school year. The bill will now move to the House after spring break.

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On Thursday, Senator Marsh released a statement regarding Senate approval of Senate Bill 119:

“In the past I have made it clear that we have an elected school board who should dictate policy when it comes to education in Alabama. However it is clear that we have a dysfunctional school board who is incapable of making decisions that give our students and teachers the best chance at being successful.”

“We have used the Common Core standards in Alabama for nearly a decade and while we do have some blue-ribbon schools, the vast majority are severely behind. We are still ranked 46thand 49thin reading and math according to National Assessment of Educational Progress. This is unacceptable so it is time to try something new.”

“I have worked and will continue to work with the education community in developing high standards so that we have the most competitive and rigorous course of study in the country, we cannot accept the status quo and this is a good first step.”

“I want to thank the Senate for their support and their work as we ended up with a piece of legislation that went through the legislative process to become the best possible bill we could pass and addressed everybody’s concerns. This was a fantastic first step as we move to address sweeping education reform in Alabama.”

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