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I am passionate about education in Alabama PDF  | Print |  E-mail

 Jessica James’ Doing the Right Thing:

Education in Alabama

I am passionate about education in Alabama. Education is the foundation of our State’s economy. Without a solid educational footing, Alabama could not attract and retain world-class industry. How would we train a skilled workforce without it? Many people discount education, and teachers for that matter, but without it none of us would amount to anything. Think about it.

We’re currently at an educational crossroads in Alabama. The majority of Americans and Alabamians still don’t even know what the Common Core State Standards Initiative is and how it’s set to revolutionize education in our nation. Let’s face it. That’s how our current administration likes it these days. This “pass-it-so-we’ll-understand-what’s-in-it” mentality doesn’t only apply to education. State Boards of Education have bought into something they had little or no input in. Many of them, like Alabama, did not fully understand that adoption would lead to the federal government setting education standards for the children in their state.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative was formed as a one-size-fits-all approach to education standards, curricula and assessments. First of all, how is that even giving students a fair advantage when we are all individuals and each learn differently?

Taken from a powerful critique of CCSSI (Dr. Bill Evers’ Closing the Door on Innovation: Why One National Curriculum Is Bad for America), Common Core will end local and state control of schooling, stifle innovation and create an unacceptable status quo, and impose a one-size-fits-all model on America’s students that is fundamentally flawed given the nature and size of this Country. Further, the study notes that CCSSI lacks an evidentiary basis for applying its solutions, overstates the problem of migration as a reason to fundamentally alter American education, has never been field-tested prior to its adoption, and inverts the educational process by creating assessments before curricula. Teaching our students to test, not to learn.

Furthermore, Core Curriculum State Standards are specifically targeted to higher education, which does not meet the realistic needs of Alabama’s workforce. For example, the reflexive response to education reform is to educate more scientists and engineers through increased STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). But less often considered are the nearly twice as many skilled individuals who will be needed to bring the scientists and engineers’ innovations to market.

In the end, this is not about achieving higher standards in our state education system, as proponents of CCSSI have argued. I am all for increasing educational standards in our State. However, it has been shown in several states, including Massachusetts, that after adopting CCSSI educational standards were actually lowered.

Alabama’s “The Local Control School Flexibility Act,” or HB84 (Fincher), which passed the House on February 14th is a step in the right direction, as it will give school systems flexibility from regulations and certain laws in exchange for greater accountability for improving student performance. State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice is an advocate of this bill, which is now slated for debate in the Alabama Senate.

On February 12th, the Alabama House and Senate Republicans introduced bills (HB254 sponsored by Barton, and SB190 sponsored by Brewbaker) that would repeal CCSSI by prohibiting the Alabama State Department of Education from adopting the CCSSI and end the collection and sharing of data on students and teachers except in specific circumstances. It is imperative that these two bills be made into law.

Alabama must be able to control its own education system.
A skilled workforce is crucial for Alabama’s economic recovery to strengthen businesses, create and retain jobs, and ensure productivity and prosperity for families. The first step in achieving this at the foundational level is to rescind Common Core. Education is the foundation of our economy.

For more information on The Common Core State Standards Initiative, please visit
For more information on the fight against Common Core State Standards in the State of Alabama, please visit

Jessica James is the founder of Politika, Inc., a full-service political consulting firm based in Mobile. For more information about Jessica and Politika, please visit She is also a licensed REALTOR with Roberts Brothers, Inc.