Alabama voters reject amendment one

Published 10:39 am Thursday, March 19, 2020

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By PAUL DeMARCO | Guest Columnist

Note: This is an opinion column.

Last week, Alabama voters soundly defeated Amendment One on the ballot that would have changed the selection of the Alabama State School Board from an elected to an appointed position.

By a vote of 75 to 25 percent, the Alabama electorate made it clear that they wanted to keep the selection of the school board in the hands of the voters.

Governor Kay Ivey and legislative leadership had supported the bill on the basis that the status quo was not working for state students since Alabama’s academic rankings were at the bottom of national standards. The math scores alone now are dead last in the country. Opponents to the bill argued that they did not want an appointed board and wanted to keep the decision of who serves on the  board with the citizens.

With the vote behind us, the state school board needs to step up and show the voters they made the right decision. And the Governor and the Alabama Legislature should immediately determine what has to be done to change the current status of academic standards in the state.

First and foremost, the responsibility of a child’s education lies with a student’s parents. The parents also have to look to local and state leaders to provide the resources for those students to learn to excel in school.

Thus, Alabama voters need to make it clear they will hold the state school board and  leaders accountable at all levels if state students do not get the scholastic training they need to succeed.

With the rejection of this Amendment, we will see if there will be any new recommendations for the state’s school system.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.