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Senate Passes Education Commission Legislation

Senate Passes Education Commission Legislation

The Alabama Senate unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment Thursday to transition the Alabama State Board of Education from an elected body to an appointed commission. 

SB 397 by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, would allow voters to decide whether to create the Alabama Commissionon Elementary and Secondary Education with nine members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. The statewide referendum would be held March 3, 2020.

The commission would include at least one member from each Alabama congressional district. Members would serve no more than two consecutive six-year terms. The amendment requires the governor to ensure the commission reflects the geographical, gender and racial diversity of students enrolled in public K-12 education in the state. 

The commission would be charged with adopting “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.” Additionally, the constitutional amendment charges the commission with adoptingeducator certification and professional development programs as well as comprehensive assessment and accountability systems. It also would replace the state superintendent of education position with a cabinet-level secretary of elementary and secondary education. 

SB 397 has been referred to the House Ways and Means Education Committee. 

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