Legislative Alert
Dear Parents, Guardians and Teachers,
We need your help! 

Academic rigor is being challenged.  We must act quickly!   The Huntsville Council of PTAs is very concerned about a bill that has only recently been filed in our state legislature.  It could severely damage the quality of education in Alabama.   The House bill and Senate bill are linked here.             
                               House Bill 254     Senate Bill 190
What's it about?
Alabama College and Career Readiness.

SB 190 and HB 254 are attempting to not only revoke the common core standards but make them illegal in Alabama.  In doing so the legislature would disallow longitudinal data to be collected on students (in lay terms, the data on a students' progression in test scores, like ACT, SAT, ARMT)  and ban a school from applying for any grants that require Alabama to report data on students.  The bill goes further stating that the legislature (politicians), and not the State Department of Education (educators), would set curriculum standards for our students.  It would be illegal for any teacher, school or system that would attempt to continue teaching to the higher standards.
apple books  
What is Alabama College and Career Readiness? 
Also known as Common Core Standards.

Common Core Standards were adopted by the Alabama Board of Education in 2010 and reaffirmed in 2011 under the name Alabama College and Career Readiness Standards.   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 consistent education standards for each grade level for everyone across the country.  The common core standards have more rigor than our previous standards; giving our students the skills they need for college, and for a career.  Students were leaving high school unprepared for college, and would have to take remedial classes or additional classes, adding extra semesters and extra tuition cost. The business community was concerned about how unprepared students were for the workforce.   The common core is one way we are beginning to repair those problems.   


For more information on the common core standards, known as College and Career Readiness in Alabama, CLICK HERE.

state house
Montgomery, AL
Why is this happening? 
Good question.
It appears this is a backlash to the current administration and  to things happening in Washington.   The proponents of SB 190 are using this opportunity to undo the College and Career Readiness Standards as their way of attacking the administration. Unfortunately, Alabama is not alone in this battle.  The standards are currently being challenged in 14 states, and Indiana has already repealed their standards earlier this year. 
downtown birmingham
Birmingham, AL.
When is this happening?
A joint committee meeting is happening today, Feb. 27.

There is a joint committee hearing on this subject today, and the proponents are supposed to be turning out in force.  We've got good advocates on the side of education, but our opponents have been preparing for this battle for months and we're just now getting in the game.
Orange Beach
Orange Beach, AL
Why haven't we heard about this?
It was intentional.

As I said, those who want to revoke the standards have been preparing for this battle for months and we're just now coming up to speed on it all.  Having this legislation come in under the radar was intentional.   Those opposed to the standards hoped supporters of the College and Career Readiness Standards, would be caught off guard.

Dismals Canyon AL
Dismal Falls, AL
What do we stand to lose if it passes?
Funding, jobs, students' futures.

Schools or school systems cannot apply for any grants with any organization that requires historical data on students.  

Huntsville has local business people currently in Washington, D.C. for a conference.  They have been informed that businesses with an Alabama presence are threatening to pull out of our state if we revoke  the College and Career Readiness Standards.  Lost business means lost jobs, lost tax revenues, and an impact to school funding.  If the impression in the rest of the nation is that we are regressing in education, rather than progressing, we will lose even more industry.

Most significantly, we stand to lose academic competitiveness with the rest of the country.   If our students are not in a challenging academic curriculum, and the rest of the country is, scholarships, college acceptances and career opportunities  will all be in severe jeopardy.

PTA with tagline Where does National PTA stand on Common Core Standards?
They support them fully.

If you are on the mailing list for National PTA, you just recently received an email with a tool kit supporting common core. Click here for  the common core state standards National PTA toolkit.  Click here for the advocacy toolkit that was included in the original email. 

advocate button
What do we do?
It is time to act!

A lot needs to happen on this quickly, and the coordinators of the effort are hoping that our PTAs can provide some of the traction that they need to make sure that the senators and representatives know that we're out here and that we care about keeping these standards.  Please contact your local unit PTAs and mobilize them to contact their legislators.    CLICK HERE to look up contact information for your legislator.

Bankhead National Forest
Bankhead National Forest, AL
What do we say?
Each email or phone call should be personalized.

Legislators are aware of  form letter campaigns  within the first one or two emails.   Some have filter systems that begin to send the duplicate forms to junk mail.  Their time is valuable and they will not take the time to read the exact letter over and over.   Have your members write their own stories, tell their own point of view, give their own examples.   A phone call to the legislator's office saying "please vote no" will be a powerful way we can be heard.

Downtown Mobile
Mobile, AL
 What points should we highlight?
Let's get to brass tacks and list 3 main points.
  • Alabama's College and Career Readiness Standards (important to use that language instead of Common Core) are national, as opposed to federal; meaning that the nation embraces them, and they were not mandated by the federal government.  They are standards that were developed by the state governors and state school officials. Again, please note these standards were not developed by the federal government.
  • The College and Career Readiness Standards provide a baseline of what our kids should be learning and when.  No one is taking away Alabama's right to provide more rigorous standards.
  • The College and Career Readiness Standards have provided an added dimension of rigor that our students need to be able to compete in a global economy (any specific examples of how the new standards have been implemented this year as opposed to what our kids learned last year under the prior standards would be beneficial). The legislators are asking for data on this position.  Any data you have on your student that shows the benefits of this more rigorous curriculum under the new standards would be useful in keeping the standards in place.
space camp
Huntsville, AL
What else can we do?
Sign an online petition.  Get the word out.

A+ College Ready, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the bar in education for the students in Alabama, also understands that this bill could be devestating to our childrens' future.   They have an online petition.  Please do this in addition to directly contacting your legislator.  CLICK HERE to sign the petition.  

The most effective thing you can do is get the word out.  Have your members, your area businesses, contact your legislators and let them know that the students in Alabama deserve the best and SB190 and HB254 are not it.   Thank you for your time and your assistance!


Elisa Ferrell, President 
Huntsville Council of PTAs
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