Common Core Bill Sparks Heated Debate


By Alabama News Network

There was a big crowd at the state house this morning to debate changes to education standards in Alabama. 

There's a bill that would let local school systems opt out of the common core standards up for debate.
The state school board adopted common core as part of the Alabama's college and career ready standards, adding some of their own changes as well. But not everyone thinks they're right for Alabama students.
Common core is a national set of standards adopted by 45 different states. It's designed to help raise standards across the country. Alabama has been using them  this past school year, and 2013 Alabama Teacher of the Year Suzanne Culbreth says they really are helping students.

"And I really believe that these standards are what's right for our kids. Especially in math. they're getting away from algorithms and memorization and really helping the students to develop number sense, to discover, to do the kinds of things we want them to do to be critical thinkers," said Culbreth.

But Julie Sabri says the standards have hurt her four children, leading to frustration and lower grades. 
"The material is not appropriate for grade level. They don't cover the steps they need to cover and they're in a rush to push that they're rigorous, including going through a wide range of things but nothing is mastered," said Sabri.
One of the other concerns is that Alabama has given control of the schools to the federal government.
"We don't have any control over common core. They are a federally mandated, well it's not mandated at this time, but it's a federal program and I would like to see it repealed. We had great standards to start with. We have the talent in this state to write new standards and I think that's the way we need to go," said Becky Gerritson with the Wetumpka Tea Party.
But one recent college student wishes the standards were taught while she was in high school. Katie Green says she was not prepared for college.
"I took calculus one in high school and got an A. Went to Birmingham Southern and took it again and I had to get tutored twice a week just to keep up. It was ridiculous trying to transition to college level coursework and handling everything," said Green.
The bill against common core still has to go through committee before it can be debated in either the senate or the house. 
There have been several attempts to repeal common core in the state house, but none have been successful.