Amendment 1 gets ‘No’ from voters on Super Tuesday

Published 11:46 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2020

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

Alabama voters had the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on an amendment that, if passed, would have dismantled the State Board of Education.

But voters across Alabama made their voices heard on Super Tuesday, March 3, by rejecting the proposed Amendment 1, which was backed by several state lawmakers, including Gov. Kay Ivey.

If passed, Amendment 1, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, would have done three things.

To start, it would have changed the name of the State Board of Education to the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education. Members would have been appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate for up to two terms instead of elected by voters.

Next, the title “State Superintendent of Education” would have been changed to “Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education,” and the position would have been appointed by the commission and subject to confirmation by the Senate.

 Lastly, the commission would have adopted new education standards to replace “common core” standards.

The governor also would have been charged with creating a team of state educators and other officials to advise the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education. 

With educators taking to social media and other platforms in the days leading up to the election spreading their displeasure with the proposed amendment, word spread quick and by the time Super Tuesday came to an end, Amendment 1 had 762,797 ‘no’ votes and 252,357 ‘yes’ votes with 92.33 percent of precincts reported as of 11:30 p.m.

Ivey’s press secretary, Gina Maiola shared a message about Ivey’s disappointment in the vote.

“Amendment One was a bold and ambitious effort to transform our state’s public schools,” Maiola said. “Governor Ivey was willing to step out and support this idea because she firmly believed leadership – and change – started with the Board itself. Tonight, however, it appears the fear of losing the right to elect our State School Board members was greater than the confidence we had that fundamental change could be made. While disappointed, the governor’s resolve to improve our public education system remains intact. Amendment One is not where her plans for education stop, and you’ll see her continue to be more innovative and creative with her approach to improving Alabama.”

In a poll done by the Shelby County Reporter, 84 percent of voters said they were planning to vote ‘no’ on the ballot, which came close to the statewide vote of 75 percent rejecting the proposal.

In Shelby County alone, 39,033 people voted no for the amendment, while 15,977 voted yes.