Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions is talking with residents in Abbeville about the federal government's role in educating our kids.
A number of Abbeville residents showed up at Tuesday's forum to express their thoughts about a number of topics, the biggest being public education, something typically controlled by local and state governments.
“Federal government probably has too big a role in education, but it has a role and it does a number of things that are good and some things that are not good,” says Sessions.
State Board of Education member Betty Peters was in the audience.
She brought up the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a move she calls a complete federalization of education with national curriculum and testing.
“What I would ask of you and your fellow senators is when you reauthorize the education bill, the ESEA; do not let the federal government penalize the states that do not sign up. It is unfair to say they're not going to get their title money and whatever because they didn't sign up for the Federal Content Standards,” says Peters.
"I do believe that this proposal that you talked about is a threat to local control of education,” says Sessions.
Businessman Jimmy Rane also raised concerns about the power of the tenure law, alluding to a teacher of the year who lost her job because she wasn't tenured when cuts had to be made.
"If you have a choice of keeping the teacher of the year that is a science and math teacher and we can't get by without one less lunchroom worker or janitor; and I realize those are hard choices. I'm not saying, but somebody somewhere has to make that choice and when we don't have that right, then something's wrong,” says Rane.
Sessions responded saying he feels like school systems should be less concerned with keeping class sizes small and more concerned with keeping quality teachers teaching those classes.
"The difference in 15 or 18 and 22 isn't so great and it could be a whole lot of money that could be used to enhance education,” says Sessions.
Of course some also brought up other issues facing the U.S. today like immigration the economy.
Senator Sessions also attended the "Spirit of America" lunch with residents in Eufaula at Sardis Freewill Baptist Church Tuesday.