The Alabama Legislative Watchdogs and other conservative groups held a press conference last week at the Alabama State House in which they presented their legislative agenda for education for the 2022 Alabama regular session.

“We invite our Alabama Legislature to join with determined parents and grands (Mama & Papa Bears) to take our children, families and state back to Pathway of Truth,” the group said in a statement. 

Former State Board of Education member Betty Peters (R), who served 16 years on the board, joined the conservative group at their press conference.

The groups asked that the Alabama Legislature:

  • Say No to Vaccine Mandate: Be on the offense and pass the No Vaccine Mandate Bill (Upcoming) for Students and HB31.

  • Say No to Mask Mandates: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin just recently gave masking decisions back to parents. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also sided with parents.

  • Say Yes to Protecting Parent/Doctor Relationship especially on use of Therapeutics Bill (Upcoming).

  • Say No to Keeping Common Core (Initiative/ aka College and Career Ready Standards).

  • Say No to Expansion of Mental Health Department in our Education System. Keeping a proven debilitating program such as Common Core (stated above) along with pandemic rules have caused havoc to the minds of children.  The statement said, "We need breathing room from all these new treatments of the 'whole child' policies. Time to listen to parents and let them parent their children again. Schools must go back to teaching traditional academics vs subjects which has proven to send us to the bottom."

  • Say No to School Shutdowns.

“I would like to talk to you about the children of Alabama because they are our future,” Peters said, “We can and must do everything possible to make their lives better. Every day counts. For starters, I believe we must restore the primary responsibility for our children’s health to their families. For starters, we need the legislature and the governor to repeal the mandates on COVID-19 vaccination and the wearing of masks. These are not working.

“I would encourage the legislature, the governor, and state and local school boards all to work together to improve what goes on in the classroom. We need to change the content of what is being taught and how it is being taught and discipline must be restored.

“We have still not returned to the traditional type education which was producing such better results right before the comprehensive national education approach called Common Core Standards were brought into our schools," Peters continued. "Even though superficial changes were made while I was on the Board and Tommy Bice was Superintendent, they were practically of no use because all they changed was the name of the program.”

Peters said COVID has made education more difficult.

“The COVID pandemic has certainly made things even worse,” Peters said. “A good teacher in the classroom cannot be replaced. There have been some real horror stories about the quality of the instruction of some of the virtual instructors. Children have felt isolated, and depression has become much more common, sometimes leading to suicide attempts. Do we really know how much learning occurred during the many months of chaos within our schools while the schools were shut down?

“Small children have trouble learning to read phonetically when both the children and the teachers are wearing the mandated masks."

Peters also expressed concerns about the curriculum used in schools, including things like critical race theory (CRT) and social-emotional learning (SEL) being taught.

Peters said, “Critical race theory (is) very divisive and anti-American and it is not based on facts. Those pushing it are determined to make everything racial and there is also a lot of real bad things going on with that.

“There is also a lot of what we used to call social indoctrination, now called SEL or social-emotional learning. I understand that there is going to be a lot of money, grant money, 'free money' to hire counselors to teach children to have the correct feelings about controversial topics instead of teaching them facts. Schools of education consider the teaching of facts to be rote memorization, which is called old-fashioned in the age of computers. But others say this is about indoctrination, (about) changing the values being taught at home and church to the values that fit in with the latest very controversial curriculum.”

The bills that the conservatives want to see adopted by the legislature are in the process of being introduced.

Tuesday will be day four of the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session.