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Huntsville Council of PTAs
State Legislative Update
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Common Core
School Flexibility
Calendar Opt Out
Letter from the President

The 2013 Alabama Legislative Session began on Tuesday, February 5.    Alabama law states that the legislative session will encompass no more than 30 legislative days, and those days have to be within a 105 calendar day period.  At the very latest the Legislative Session will end on May 21.


During the 2013 session, there are numerous bills impacting education that are being considered.  Please take the time to read the synopsis on three of these bills and let your representative and senator know your opinion on the bill and its impact to your student's education.  


Thank you for staying involved in your childrens' education through advocacy.

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Common Core Revocation Bill (HB254, SB190)

Common Core Standards were adopted by the Alabama Legislature last year.  Alabama was one of 45 states, along with District of Columbia and 4 U.S. Territories, to adopt the standards.   Core classes are defined as Math, Science, English and History.  The Common Core Standards only pertain to Math and English Core classes.  


The Common Core standards are not a federal mandate, they were written by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Representatives from the National PTA office also participated in the crafting of Common Core standards.   National PTA supports the continued implementation of Comon Core Standards in every state.    


So what exactly is Common Core.  In a nutshell, the standards create grade level curriculum consistency across the country.  The common core standards have more rigor than previous curriculum; giving our students the skills they need for college, and for a future career.  Students were leaving high school unprepared for college, and would have to take remedial classes or additional classes, adding extra semesters and extra cost. The business community was concerned about how unprepared students were for the workforce.   The common core is one way to begin to repair those problems.   


House Bill 254 and the Senate Bill 190 seek to revoke the common core standards in Alabama.  The bills go further to state it will be against the law for the State Board of Education or an local school system to continue to use the common core standards.   The bill also makes it illegal to keep cumulative data on students.  Our AR testing, Star Testing, and college entrance exams, the ACT and the SAT, all keep cumulative data.  Should this bill pass, all those tests, by definition, would be illegal in our state. There would be no way to measure student progress.   


The Huntsville Council of PTAs supports student enrichment and parental engagement.  As such, the HCPTA supports the continued implementation of the Common Core standards in Alabama.   In a military town like Huntsville, it is important for our military families, and other families transferring in, to have continuity in their education.  It is also important for all students to be challenged and have rigor in their curriculum.   Please read the bills referenced below, and let your representative and senator know your opinions on the bill and how, as your representative, you would like them to vote.   The House bill is in the Education Policy committee and the Senate Bill is in the Education Committee. 


Senate Bill 190     House Bill 254

School Flexibility Act (HB84; SB54)

During the 2012 Legislative Session there was a push to create a charter school bill.   The bill viewed Charters as a good option because they could have flexiblity from some of the state laws and regulations.  As a result of that flexibility, it was thought that they would have more positive outcomes in educating their students.   The effectiveness of charter schools has been a matter for debate.  Many though asked if the flexiblity from these regulations and laws would help Charters, why wouldn't we give that flexibility to all schools.   This law does not allow for the calendar to be flexible, nor does it make any changes to the tenure law.   It would give systems the ability to apply for a waiver from a regulation or law.   A flexibility law presented in 2012 was not passed in legislative session.  This year the flexibility bills HB84 and SB54 are being presented and working their way through the legislative process.   This bill was assigned to the House and Senate Education Committees.  Click on the links to read the bill.  

Calendar Opt Out Bill (HB288; SB9)

Last year our state legislature voted to enact the calendar bill, mandating a start and finish time for every school in Alabama.   We must start no sooner than 2 weeks before Labor Day and end before Memorial Day.  As everyone knows, in order to squeeze in 180 days of instruction time, we have had to sacrifice fall break, days in the Winter Break, and several federal holidays.   The bill has a sunset or ending in the Fall of 2013.  The bill is still impacting our 2013-2014 school year.   There is talk that members of the legislature will try and make the bill permanent next year.  In the 2013 session there are bills in the House and Senate giving school systems the ability to opt out of the mandated calendar.   The Senate bill is in the Finance and Taxation Committee and the House Bill is in the Education Policy committee.  To read the  bill, click on the links below.   Make sure to let your legislators know how you feel about these two bills.


Senate Bill 9   House Bill 288      

Links, links, links!

ALISON Alabama Legislative Information System Online

Common Core Standards FAQs

Common Core Website

National PTA Common Core Toolkit Information



Trip to Montgomery

Public hearings on the Common Core Standards Bills (SB190 and HB254) are taking place on Wednesday, February 27.  If you are interested in going to Montgomery next Wednesday for the public hearings, please CLICK HERE.


Elisa Ferrell
President, Huntsville Council of PTAs