Vote NO on Amendment 1

Up to now, the state board of education has been selected by the voters and not appointed.

This change would remove parents from having any direct say, and replace the board by a “commission” which is appointed by the governor. This consolidates the power over the education of our children, and places it in the hands of unelected commissioners.

Every move away from the direct say of parents and towards a top-down state-controlled commission is a move away from limited government and freedom.

And by making this an amendment to the constitution, it makes it much harder to change. If this passes, it will give parents less control of their children’s education.

The entire wording appears below:

Amendment 1

1. General supervision of the public schools in Alabama and the State Department of Education shall be vested in a state board of education, which the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education. One member of the commission shall be elected appointed by the Governor from each state congressional district, as those districts exist on the date of appointment, and any additional members, if necessary, shall be appointed by the Governor from the state at large, so that each congressional district is represented on the commission and the total number of appointed members equals nine. In the event the number of state congressional districts is greater than nine, the Legislature shall provide an alternative method for the appointment of the nine appointed members. Each member appointed to the commission shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate in such manner as the legislature Legislature may provide. The Governor shall ensure that the appointed membership of the commission reflects the geographical, gender, and racial diversity of the students enrolled in public K education in the state. Unless otherwise provided by the Legislature for initially staggered terms and for the filling of an unexpired term created by a vacancy, appointed members of the commission shall serve for terms of six years and may not serve for more than two full consecutive terms on the commission. Upon ratification of this amendment, and the appointment of the members of the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education pursuant to this amendment, respectively, the terms of the then serving members of the State Board of Education shall end.

2. The chief state school officer shall be the state superintendent of education Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, who shall be appointed by the state board of education  commission, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The secretary shall be a nonvoting member of the commission and shall serve at its pleasure in the position of secretary until a successor is appointed. If the Legislature is not in session when a vacancy in the position of secretary occurs, the commission shall appoint an interim secretary and shall submit the name of an individual for confirmation for the position of secretary during the next regular legislative session. If the Legislature does not confirm the appointee within five legislative days, the position of secretary shall be vacant and the  commission shall appoint another individual to the position of interim secretary. The authority and duties of the superintendent of education secretary, and the terms and conditions of his or her employment including, but not limited to, tenure in office, shall be determined by the state board of education according to such regulations as the legislature may prescribe commission. The superintendent of education secretary shall receive an annual salary which shall be fixed by the legislature of Alabama commission and shall be paid from the state treasury State Treasury in installments as the salaries of other state officers are paid.

3. The legislature Legislature shall enact appropriate laws to implement or enforce this article of amendment.

4. The provisions of article Articles V and XIV of the Constitution of Alabama as amended in conflict with this article amendment are expressly repealed. However, this amendment shall not be so construed as to effect the election or term of the state superintendent of education chosen before it becomes valid as a part of the Constitution.

5. In addition to any function or duty provided by general law, the commission shall adopt all of the following:a. Course of study standards that ensure nationwide consistency and the seamless transfer of students from within and outside of the state, in lieu of common core.b. A comprehensive educator certification program.c. A comprehensive professional development program for educators.d. A comprehensive assessment system.e. A comprehensive accountability system.

6. Immediately after the commission members are appointed and confirmed, the Governor shall appoint a diverse team, that is reflective of the geographical, gender, and racial diversity of the state, of current and former educators, school administrators, and appropriate officials from throughout the state, as determined necessary by the Governor, to consult with and make recommendations to the commission on a regular basis relating to the operation and functioning of the State Department of Education.

7. The State Department of Education shall be governed by the commission and shall work in coordination with local boards of education.[4]

[The entire Proposed Amendment with deletions & additions can be accessed at: https://legiscan.com/AL/text/SB397/2019]