Has there ever been a ballot initiative that reduced the number of politicians? I mean, ever?

What if I told you that with the stroke of a pen you could get shed of several ineffective politicians? What if the pot was sweetened just a bit by having that same stroke of a pen do away with common core education policies? Let’s imagine it for just a moment…..let the possibilities sink in. But then, why just imagine it. We can do both in reality this Tuesday with Amendment One on the statewide ballot.

Amendment One is really very simple. It says that Alabamians have the right to tell the ineffective current elected State School Board members that they are out of a job due to their wholesale failure to promote quality education policy in our State. In recent education rankings Alabama dropped to deadlast in all 50 States. That is a direct result of the lack of foresight, planning, policymaking and teamwork at the State School Board.

For the past decade Alabama’s education budgets have steadily increased without a hint of proration. Funding for education in this state is at record levels. By comparison there are at least eight states that spend less than Alabama per-year-per-child and yet they all rank higher than Alabama in education performance. Money is not the issue. Leadership is the issue.

Yet, with that said, the current members of the Board have complained that the voters should not have such a say. One Board member has gone so far as to threaten litigation to be allowed to keep his job. We are one of the small handful of states that elects our State School Board. We’re also one of the few States consistently at the bottom of the list in rankings.

If the team is losing you fire the coach. If the war is being lost you fire the general. And if you rank last among all 50 states in education you look for transformative change in education leadership.

In a desperate bid to keep old school politicians in office the opponents of the voters’ rights on Amendment One have resorted to mischaracterizing every aspect of it. They’re hoping you aren’t smart enough to read it for yourself. The real whopper they tell is that the Amendment is all a trick to put in common core standards. Never mind the fact that the Act that created Amendment One specifically states that any future standards must be “in lieu of common core”. That’s a direct quote, and I’m no rocket surgeon, but the last I checked the definition of “in lieu of” means to replace, or to supplant.

How about this – on Tuesday let’s say “Yes” on Amendment one so that we can put in a new team “in lieu of” the current State School Board.


Phil Williams, API Director of Policy Strategy, is a former State Senator from Gadsden. For updates, follow him on Twitter at @SenPhilWilliams and visit alabamapolicy.org.

MORE ON Education

The Need for Education Reform Didn’t Die with the Defeat of Amendment One

When voters defeat a proposed state amendment, it is often thought that the matter is put to rest. That is often the case, but when Alabama’s voters went to the polls in March and shot down a proposal to replace the elected state board of education in favor of one appointed by the governor, they […]

Debt and Shiny New Buildings Will Not Improve Education in Alabama

In the waning days of the abbreviated 2020 Regular Session, the Alabama State Legislature approved a $1.25 billion school bond issuance. The money would be used for capital improvement projects, i.e. construction, at K-12 public schools, colleges, and universities. The bill received nearly unanimous support, with just five House members voting no. While the fate […]

MORE FROM Phil Williams

Has the Magic City Become the Tragic City?

Leadership matters. The tone and tenor of a policy are often the reflection of the leader who presided over the period in which that policy took effect. And leadership matters the most, becomes most visible, and is looked to by others more often when crisis looms. Noted author and lecturer Victor Davis Hanson said that […]

The RESTORE Alabama Agenda

Read the full RESTORE Plan here. The 2020 Regular Session of the Alabama State Legislature is behind us. Did anyone notice? It was a Session marked more by what didn’t happen than by what did. One minute the lobbyists were being paid well to try and get marijuana legalized, state budgets were flush, and gambling […]

Points of Policy: The $1.25 Billion School Bond Issue

In this Points of Policy edition of the 1819 Podcast, API’s Director of Policy Strategy and General Counsel Phil Williams is joined by API’s Senior Director of Fiscal Policy Justin Bogie to discuss the recently enacted $1.25 billion school bond issue and whether or not such an act is good policy during a pandemic.   To listen, […]