State, local GOP split on state board of education amendment

State, local GOP split on state board of education amendment

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Wednesday, the Pledge of Allegiance at the Madison Republican Women’s Club meeting was unified.

The party line about a looming school board vote, was not.

Activist Becky Gerritson spoke to the club about her issues with the proposed constitutional amendment on the March 3 primary ballot.

The amendment would eliminate the elected state board of education and replace it with a commission appointed by the governor, and confirmed by the state senate.

“We as Alabamians want the right to vote. We want to be able to elect our school board leaders that will represent us," she said.

Republican Governor Kay Ivey supporst the amendment and Valley senators Sam Givhan, Arthur Orr, Steve Livingston, and Tim Melson (all GOP) all supported legislation leading up to the vote.

Ivey’s office sent a statement reading:

"We can all agree that Alabama students should have the best possible education. Unfortunately, that’s not happening today. As a former teacher, I recognize that strong leadership and a strong plan are necessary components to improving our education system. Supporting Amendment 1 removes the state board from the whims of the election cycle. Currently, Alabama is one of only six states without an appointed board – it’s time we finally align ourselves with other high-achieving states. We need education leaders and a structure that works in the best interest of our students, and Amendment 1 offers a bold plan that Alabamians can support.”

If it passes, Alabama would also scrap Common Core, and replace it with a different curriculum that would still result in a “seamless transfer of students” from other states and have “nationwide consistency.”

Right now, Alabama and the majority of states do use common core.

The U.S. Department of Education is reporting Alabama 4th graders are trailing their counterparts nationwide in math, reading and science.

Gerritson said Common Core is the problem, and the amendment would repackage it.

“The change that she’s trying to make is actually not what’s going to help Alabama. What’s going to help Alabama is going to get out from under common core,” she said.

Right now Dr. Wayne Reynolds (R) represents the valley on the state school board.

He said he has the support of the voting public, and the governor should not take that away.

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