Amendment One rejected by Alabama voters by wide margin
MONTGOMERY — Alabama voters overwhelmingly voted down statewide Amendment One in a referendum on Tuesday during Alabama’s primary elections.
With over 40% of precincts reporting, approximately 75% had voted against the amendment while 25% were in support. A threshold of 60% was needed in favor of the referendum for it to be successful.
The bipartisan measure would have replaced the current elected State Board of Education with the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education, members of which would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Alabama Senate.
The amendment would have abolished the state superintendent position and replaced it with a secretary of elementary and secondary education, appointed by the commission and subject to confirmation by the Senate. It also would have mandated that the newly formed commission replace Common Core in Alabama.
Opponents argued that the amendment was taking away the right for voters to choose their state school board members.
Alabama Policy Institute (API) President Caleb Crosby released a lengthy statement at 9:23 p.m. on Tuesday after learning of the defeat of the amendment as results still came in.
Full statement as follows:
Today Alabamians chose not to take a grand opportunity to reject the status quo and the recent ineptitude of the State School Board which has led to Alabama’s dead last ranking in education. The rejection of Amendment 1 places an even bigger gap between the children of Alabama and the quality education they deserve.
It is easy to oppose something, but real leadership offers ideas,. Reforming the State School Board, though not the final answer, was certainly a first step in the improvement process.
I challenge all those who stood against the amendment to stop just barking and come to the table with actual solutions to bring about real change in education. So far, no one who stood opposed to Amendment 1 has offered a single idea to improve Alabama’s dead last ranking.
Unfortunately, politics and misinformation has won out, and the careers of politicians were placed ahead of the needs of children and families.
Yes, the defeat of Amendment 1 is a hurdle in the quest for educational excellence, but it is not the last word on the issue. The Alabama Policy Institute remains committed to championing education reform from the State House to the schoolhouse; our children deserve nothing less.
Amendment One was heavily supported by Governor Kay Ivey and a bevy of other elected officials and business leaders across the state.
Gina Maiola, press secretary for Ivey, reacted to the amendment’s defeat in a statement on Tuesday night.
“Amendment One was a bold and ambitious effort to transform our state’s public schools,” Maiola said. “Governor Ivey was willing to step out and support this idea because she firmly believed leadership – and change – started with the Board itself.”
“Tonight, however, it appears the fear of losing the right to elect our State School Board members was greater than the confidence we had that fundamental change could be made. While disappointed, the governor’s resolve to improve our public education system remains intact. Amendment One is not where her plans for education stop, and you’ll see her continue to be more innovative and creative with her approach to improving Alabama,” she concluded.
This article will be updated with new vote tallies as results come in.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn