Late Monday, just moments before the Alabama Legislature adjourned sine die for the 2021 regular session, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will institute a two-year delay of the accountability component of the Alabama Literacy Act.
The legislation, SB94, was introduced and shepherded through the Senate by State Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham). It puts off the requirement that third-graders unable to demonstrate third-grade reading skills must repeat the grade. One of the primary opponents of Smitherman’s effort was State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), the chairwoman of the House Education Policy Committee and the original sponsor of the Literacy Act.
During an appearance on Thursday’s broadcast of Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Collins criticized the delay, which was deemed to be “compassionate” by many of its Democrat proponents.
“[I] kept hearing the word bandied around about compassion,” she said. “To me, compassion is making sure our children are reading. To not ask our children to read is the worst thing we could do for them. When people talk about holding back or not failing a child — to me, if we pass a child out of the third grade and we’ve not taught them to read, we’re failing that child. And that, to me, is not compassionate. That, to me, is a crime. And we may need to look at some of these things because of COVID. But we really will have data this summer, and we’re not willing to wait a month to look at it. It was very frustrating to me on Monday.”
Collins encouraged Gov. Kay Ivey to veto the bill, where it is awaiting the Governor’s final consideration.
“I am hoping,” she said. “I urge her to veto this bill. I have worked with different education groups. From Todd Stacy, I’ve seen a lot of the articles and letters to her. I know a lot of my fellow legislators have reached out to her. I really do appreciate that. It’s just not time to make a decision about it right now. And that’s what I’m asking her — to do the right thing.”
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.