Amendment 1 will appear on 2020 ballot

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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The primary elections are just weeks away and one constitutional amendment will appear on the ballot – Amendment 1, and will affect the state board of education and how those who serve in that capacity are selected for their seats.

During the last legislative session, the Alabama Legislature approved a plan for this measure. Then, lawmakers said changing the education governance was a key step in fixing Alabama’s problems in schools that consistently rank at the bottom nationally on tests.

Under the plan, the governor would appoint at least one member from each of the state’s seven congressional districts and a total of nine members. The membership of the commission would reflect the diversity of the enrollment in state public schools based on race, gender and geography. Three of the nine members would be black based on current school enrollment, according to legislators.

In all, the amendment will make several changes.

First, the Alabama State Board of Education will become the “Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education.”

The public will no longer elect the members, but instead, commission members will be appointed by the governor and then approved by the Alabama Senate.

Next, there will no longer be a state education superintendent, but instead a position called the secretary of elementary and secondary education. This person would be appointed by commission members and then approved by the state senate.

This commission would then adopt state education standards instead of Common Core standards.

Additionally, the governor will have the authority to appoint a team of local educators and other officials to advise the commission on matters relating to the functioning and duties of the department.

Gov. Kay Ivey heavily supports the Amendment.

“Supporting Amendment 1 removes the state board from the whims of the election cycle,” Gov. Ivey. “Currently, Alabama is one of only six states without an appointed board. It’s time we finally align ourselves with other high-achieving states. We need education leaders and a structure that works in the best interest of our students, and Amendment 1 offers a bold plan that Alabamians can support.”

Alabama’s GOP agreed in August to oppose the Amendment and is urging Alabama voters to vote ‘no’ in order to keep their right to vote.

The primaries are set for March 3.