By ALPIE President Theresa Hubbard
The state of education in Alabama is precarious at best and no one has been willing in Montgomery to stand up for our children. Not one legislator has led the rallying cry to truly reform education and the whole state has watched in horror as our math and reading scores have plunged from the mid 20’s in 2011, to our current position of dead last in the nation.
State Senator Greg Albritton has introduced State Bill 24 and 25 proposing to do away with the position of State Superintendent of Education and repeal all State Board of Education election districts. The State Superintendent of Education is currently appointed by our duly elected State Board of Education members but if these bills pass the State Superintendent would be replaced by a “Director of Education” who would be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate; with “The authority and duties of the Director of Education… determined by the Legislature.” How many years did we as parents try to get the legislature to do something about the Superintendent of Education and Common Core? What did those legislators do? Nothing. Now they want to take responsibility for the oversight of this proposed “Director of Education.” Do Alabamians really want our legislators to have that kind of control over our education in the state?
Additionally, Senator Albritton wants to take away our right to vote for our State Board of Education members. These bills will disband and replace The State Board of Education positions with an unelected “Board of Counsel” consisting of 13 members appointed by the “Director of Education.” This is unacceptable. The power to hire the State Superintendent must remain in the hands of the State Board of Education and the power of the people to elect their State Board of Education members absolutely must remain with the electorate. I fully understand the issues we are having with our State Board of Education and do not like what is happening but our legislators have no business involving themselves in that arena. For over six years we have desperately tried to get cooperation with our lawmakers to rid the state of common core to no avail and we have been reminded by Senator Del Marsh that it was the State Board of Education’s responsibility make decisions in the education realm and it was the legislators responsibility to legislate and to stay in their circle of influence. So why are they trying to take over education now? The decision-making process is not always pretty but the Montgomery legislators have no room to criticize when it comes to problems from within. It is time for parents, grandparents, and educators to demand local control over education of our children and to stop the passage of these unbelievably freedom curtailing bills.