As far as states go, it was relatively surprising that one of the hearts of the south readily picked up the Common Core. Though not a federal program, it was nevertheless backed by the government with promises of grants and other aid for troubled school systems. Since then, though, the state has been see-sawing back and forth between respecting its challenges and abhorring them.
The Current State of Affairs
Most recently, Alabama held a hearing regarding a bill that would do away with Common Core altogether. Held in the capital of Montgomery, parents and local educators gathered to discuss if this bill should pass or not. New reporters quickly noted a disparity between the two factions. On the one side sit the educators, pleased with the challenges this new way of thinking is bringing. They also cite just how much of a waste of time it would be to throw away all of the hard work they’ve put toward implementing the Core. Parents, however, want things to go back to the way they were so that they don’t have to learn how to help their children. Core math problems don’t look the same as the math problems the parents had in college, leading to a group of people driven by fear instead of the best interest of their children. So far, though, there’s no word as to how the bill will progress, leaving the state in an uneasy place.
A Bigger Reach
Alabama’s continual back and forth with the Core has led to broader implications both within and outside of the state. Since its adoption, Alabama lawmakers managed to successfully get President Obama to sign a bill in 2015 that stated the government could no longer attach federal aid to educational programs like they did with the Core. On a conservative note, this is a big win for all local parents and teachers as it allows them to think more on the actual merits of a program rather than be enticed by the desperately needed help for underfunded school systems.
Beyond this, though, testing for Core standards has brought to light yet another issue plaguing the state – over assessment. While the federal government requires only one yearly test of student aptitude, Alabama students face no less than eight. Though great for gathering statistics, it’s a trend that is seriously cutting in to crucial learning time on actual subjects and not on how to test for each one. For this, Alabama educators are calling for the creation of statewide assessment audits and for federal money to go toward bettering one test and not creating more, building a system that works to bolster teacher morale.
As for Alabama’s Core future is concerned, the educators are going to try their hardest to keep it around, but education is a far more complicated process where scapegoating is the last thing that will promote a better future for students.