North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

January 30, 2014

Sen. Scott Beason takes up fight against Common Core yet again

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

MONTGOMERY — First in a series

State Sen. Scott Beason has rarely, if ever, shied away from a political fight, nor given one up even after losing a round.

And so it is that the Gardendale Republican has laced up the gloves again, to fight another round to stop the implementation of Common Core education standards in Alabama, siding once again with the Tea Party wing of his party.

In other battles, Beason has taken on traditional GOP foes such as the Democrat-leaning Alabama Education Association. This time, though, he’s often fighting members of his own party.

When Beason introduced a bill in 2013 to remove Common Core from the state’s schools, it was blocked from reaching the Senate floor by President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, who supports Common Core. Last Thursday, Beason put together another draft for a bill to do the same, which Marsh still steadfastly opposes.

The whole concept of Common Core and what it entails is not easily or quickly explained, Beason admitted in an interview in his State House office two weeks ago.

“Common Core is a federally-supported, centralized set of standards with an accompanying curriculum,” Beason said. “Depending on which supporter you talk to, they’ll either say that it’s not a curriculum or that it is. That’s where the devil is, in the details.”

The program was originally put together by the National Governors Association, but embraced by the Obama administration, which offered federal funds to states that adopted it.

“Since all the states were broke and were having to lay off teachers and they didn’t know what they were going to do, almost all of them signed up,” Beason said.

For Beason, it’s a case of federal government interference in the state and local education systems. He refers to the bureaucrats who administer the program as “educrats.”

Beason showed a copy of his daughter’s homework assignment from a Gardendale school. It’s an item he talks about often to Common Core opponents, as an example of the Obama administration promoting a liberal agenda to impressionable schoolchildren.

The schoolwork is about automobiles, acknowledging their usefulness but disparaging their internal-combustion engines because of pollution. The assignment claims that hybrids are better, and government should require manufacturers to make them more affordable.

“Education has always been about a world view — train up a child in the way they should go,” Beason said, quoting a portion of Proverbs 22:6.

Beason likens Common Core to Obama’s struggling Affordable Care Act. “We call it ObamaCore,” he said.