By Bob Allen
Alabama state leaders were urged to repeal Common Core standards promoted by the U.S. Department of Education in a resolution adopted at the Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting Nov. 11-12 in Birmingham.
The resolution titled “On Parental Authority through Local and State Control of Education” urged the governor, State Board of Education and/or the Alabama legislature to replace Common Core learning standards for K-12 students in English and math “with sound, proven practices of educating and testing through local and state control of what is taught and how it is taught for the betterment of all children in the great state of Alabama.”
The initiative launched in 2009 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and adopted by 43 states is both praised and criticized. Aimed at better preparing students for college, conservative critics regard incentives by the Obama administration pressuring states to adopt the standards as a classic example of overreach by the federal government.
Common criticism by parents is that the standards make math needlessly complicated. The methods are so different from those used in the past that some parents complain they are unable to help their children with their homework.
Proponents of the new standards say teaching kids to understand the concepts behind the problem is more important than getting the right answer if American students are going to compete in science and math with higher-performing nations such as Singapore and South Korea.
The Alabama Baptist resolution affirmed that “the God-ordained family is the rightful place for inculcating values and determining career choices.” It labeled Common Core an “unproven methodology” with” little or no evidence that the level of student achievement would be raised by the Common Core Initiative.”
The resolution expressed confidence that “sound methods being applied in Alabama classrooms can be utilized without subservience to a federal mandate” and stood for “proven, superior education curriculum and practice chosen by state officials who will respect parental authority and respond to citizen input.”
Another resolution opposed the use of Next Generation Science Standards, which “treat evolution as an established fact” and “man-made climate change as a settled scientific fact.”
The resolution urges that public school subjects like origins science “that touch on religion be either presented objectively so that the effect is religiously neutral or omitted from the curriculum.”
Other resolutions encouraged adoption and foster care, opposed payday lending, compassion for illegal immigrants short of “amnesty” for those who are breaking the law, against anti-Semitism, affirming the nation of Israel’s right to exist, threats to religious liberty and calling for prison reform.
One resolution supported Alabama’s Health Care Rights of Conscience Act to ensure that medical professionals are not forced to participate in procedures that violate their religious views or their moral conscience, such as performing an abortion.
The convention also commended CVS pharmacies for deciding to no longer sell tobacco products in any of their stores and congratulated the state’s Woman’s Missionary Union on its 125th anniversary.