A: Strongly disagree. It takes from public education.
Our classrooms should be cathedrals, our teachers of the highest caliber and all students should be given every necessary opportunity to ensure that they have the skills to be a productive member of our society.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case. According to many experts, it will cost tax payers $300 billion just to bring our schools up to an acceptable level. That does not include the new facilities that will be necessary to meet the needs of our growing school age population. My plan for the economy would generate $65 billion per year, for the next ten years, to repair our current schools and build new schools before falling back to $30 billion a year for maintenance and to provide for future growth.
Common Core builds upon this precedent. States that adopt Common Core standards will not only be required to test, they will now be told by the US Department of Education what tests their students must take.
Once fully implemented, Common Core will allow national entities to determine what students are taught at the local level. Common Core is the means by which federal bureaucrats will exercise inappropriate control over local schools.
Alabama should follow the lead of other states and back away from Common Core and develop our own high standards. We need innovation and entrepreneurship in education, not a national, top down solution. We need choice and local control--not mediocre national standards or federal bureaucrats imposing national standards.
In 1999, Alabama voters rejected a lottery to pay for scholarships, pre-kindergarten and school technology. Griffith believes that voters would support a lottery now, and already buy lottery tickets in Tennessee, Georgia and Florida that fund education in those states. "We want them to stay here," Griffith said. "I think people understand that gaming is happening all around Alabama." Griffith said that pre-kindergarten would be one of the recipients of funding from his new education lottery.
Bentley said he does not think a lottery is the best way to fund government & that he would oppose earmarking such funds for specific purposes. He also said, "I have never been opposed to allowing people to vote on anything, and that includes a lottery."
Bentley said he will ask the Legislature for another $10 million increase next year. He said the state should gradually expand it be available to all 4-year-olds statewide. "Every child would have a foundation upon which they could build," Bentley said.
The governor said statistics show the value of First Class. All of its children, for example, have gone on to become grade-level readers in third grade. Moreover, pre-K narrows the achievement gap: Low-income children who experience pre-k are less likely to struggle later.
The 30-second spot repeats what has become a standard refrain from the Griffith campaign, namely that the only thing standing between Alabama and a brighter future is Republican Gov. Robert Bentley.
Griffith is hoping that his support for a lottery does for his campaign what it did for former Gov. Don Siegelman in 1998 when then Lt. Gov. Siegelman defeated Republican Gov. Fob James. Democrat Siegelman campaigned promising that if elected he would push for a vote on a lottery to support schools.
Siegelman won and the Legislature, then in the hands of Democrats, approved a vote for a lottery. The public overwhelmingly rejected it in 1999.
Alabama's First Class program is nationally-recognized for its quality. Alabama is currently 1 of only 4 states in the country to meet all 10 quality benchmarks established by the National Institute for Early Education Research. The benchmarks include teacher training, staff-child ratios, support services and more. However, only 6% of Alabama's 4-year-olds are currently enrolled in the First Class program. The state also ranks a disappointing 33rd in access among the 40 states that offer pre-K programs. In order to expand access, Governor Bentley proposed additional funding for voluntary pre-kindergarten in the fiscal year 2014 Education Trust Fund.
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