Opinion:Getting rid of common core could mean loss in funding

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Scott Shelton

Staff Writer

The Alabama State Legislature is making a push to get rid of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, R-Anniston, is the legislator behind the bill, and he wants to get rid of Common Core. 

He, along with Gov. Kay Ivey, want to do something about the state’s reputation concerning education. 

The stereotype encompassing Alabama is that our state is only better than Mississippi when it comes to education. 

But at what cost to Alabama?

Marsh’s bill says that our State Department of Education will lose $10.9 million in funding if we drop Common Core.

Who’s going to make up $11 million in funding?

A good guess would be the taxpayers. The State Legislature did something similar with the gas tax.

One idea Alabama has seen as radical for a couple decades is the concept of a lottery.

State Sen. Jim McLendon, R-Springville, proposed a lottery last week, and half of the revenue from the lottery would go toward education.

But McLendon’s referendum on the lottery would likely not be on the ballot until a year from now when the Alabama presidential primary takes place in March 2020.

The proposed lottery is estimated to bring in about $250 million for the state. 

If $125 million goes to the education fund, then that’s a huge boost for Alabama.

But what happens between the time Common Core funding is cut and the Education Trust Fund receives revenue?

Besides funding, the issue at hand is Common Core itself. 

Alabama adopted Common Core in 2010, and that makes the state adhere to federal standards of education at each grade level. 

It’s controversial because it changed the way teachers taught and students learned English in grade school.

If repealed, state educators would have to again change their way of teaching and go back to the way students were taught before Common Core’s implementation.

The Alabama Education Association is split on repealing Common Core, according to AL.com.

The Alabama Association of School Boards said that Alabama is in control of its standards and scrapping Common Core would “further politicize” the Legislature’s oversight on education.

The legislation looks like it will pass anyway, reflecting an ambitious Alabama Legislature, which has already surprised our state with the gas tax increase and now a revamp of the education system.

I’m not Common Core’s biggest fan, but I would not want to see it repealed without implementing another mean of revenue like a lottery to make up for lost funding.

The State Legislature ultimately has the final say on Common Core, but this should be an issue left up to the state’s educators to decide — not the legislators.

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