Guest Opinion: Arizona Board of Education Rubber Stamps Common Core for 7 More Years

State Board of Education Ignores  Governor, Parents, and own Policy and  Rubber Stamps Common Core for another  7 Years

After a raucous 2014 election year for the office for Superintendent of Public Instruction only 16,034 votes separated the outcome of the 2014 election results between Diane Douglas and David Garcia. One would like to suggest Douglas’ opposition to the top down federal one-sized-fits all standards helped ensure she was the victor. This was a coup for the parents who despised the unconstitutional federal outreach in their children’s classrooms – later only to learn the fox was in the hen house all along.

A quick history lesson on Common Core in Arizona. In 2010, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted Common Core standards for all public schools throughout Arizona. As these standards were being implemented, parents and practitioners alike started to have difficulty learning and teaching them.

This classroom battle came to a head in 2013 inciting a Republican primary challenge to then-Superintendent John Huppenthal who was fully engaged in implementing these standards that had to be rebranded to “college and career ready” due to public outcry.

Like so many top-down government mandates, implementing Common Core became a gravy train for special interests who only care about their profits, not about the outcome of our children’s future. These same corporate entities joined local business chambers to ensure they helped elect pro-Common Core candidates for local and statewide offices.

Meanwhile, grade school children who loved math started to hate math. Other children who loved writing, started to hate writing. Parents knew something was wrong.  In some instances, parents with higher degrees in engineering and math could no longer help their children with basic arithmetic homework.

As with the other 49 states, Arizona retains the authority to approve and modify its academic standards. More importantly, there is no federal law requiring the adoption of specific standards. Yet, 46 states originally adopted common core.

To address this, Governor Doug Ducey directed the State Board of Education (SBE) on March 2015. His direction was for the State Board of Education to “make right the situation…with full transparency.” Direction was given for “teachers and parents to bring [standards] forward together.”

In response, the Arizona SBE created a review process that included 17 members representing different sectors of communities across Arizona. Six of these members were parents from various parts of Arizona. This group was called the Arizona Standards Development Committee (ASDC), consisting of educational experts and parents. Its task was to recommend updated standards to the SBE per the Governor’s request.

However, for the past year and a half the standards were only being reviewed by “technical professionals” and lobbyists in closed-door meetings. These individuals were largely pro-common core individuals. Multiple requests were submitted to the Arizona Department of Education to include parents or people with opposing viewpoints, but these were turned down each time.

On December 14th, the ASDC was scheduled only 3 hours to review and possibly approve hundreds of standards. Up to this point, the ASDC had no substantive discussion on the standards and very little time to study the latest version of the standards.

After two and a half hours of presentations and public comments, the ASDC had 30 minutes to discuss and feel comfortable recommending hundreds of pages of standards. They were concerned that many issues with common core remained. Further, there was no evidence that hundreds of public comments were received or one standard changed by public comments. Many of the ASDC were concerned.

Thus, the parents requested additional time to discuss the standards and voted 8-7 vote to delay approving any current recommendation of these newly revised standards to the SBE until at least January 2017.

It should be noted that the clear expectation from ADE and the SBE staff was for the ASDC to rubber stamp the draft and not ask too many questions. At the same time, the Executive Director and President of the State Board of Education posted an agenda item on the SBE’s December 19th  agenda for the SBE also to rubber stamp the standards. Most of them had never read these “new” standards in any substantive detail.

On December 19th, the SBE shocked the public and the ASDC by rubber stamping the recommended standards. The request of the Governor to have standards brought forth by teachers and parents were largely ignored. Not one person in opposition appeared to speak in public because they trusted that the SBE would respect the direction of the Governor and the ASDC to do their job and recommend standards to the SBE.

In a shocking irony, the very person—Diane Douglas–who promised to “stop common core”, recommended the ‘revised’ standards; standards virtually identical to the common core state standards foolishly adopted by the SBE in 2010.

It is no wonder why President-elect Donald J. Trump is in line to become our next President. No one trusts the government. If a process is in place it should be adhered and there shouldn’t have a go-around if the vote doesn’t fall in your favor. Our Republic doesn’t exist to be overrun by bureaucratic tyrants.

As members of this subcommittee we waited patiently for the review and public commenting period to end. We welcomed proponents of these standards to our public meetings and only gave them the deepest respect at our meetings even though they didn’t always model the best public decorum they would want their children or students to convey.

We call upon Governor Doug Ducey to request that the SBE reconsider the vote; respect the public; and follow the process established.

We also call upon Governor Ducey to seat people on the SBE that truly respect the parents of our State who are deeply concerned with the direction of public education in our State.

Respectfully Submitted By

Scott Leska; Public School District Elected Board Member
Grant Peterson; Middle School Parent
Dr. Richard Rutkowski; Business Community Member
Olga Tarro; Elementary School Parent
Maureen Tozzi; Business Community Member
Shawnna Bolick; High School Parent

Jennifer Reynolds: Arizona’s Common Core Rebrand is Just Lipstick on a Pig!

by Jennifer Reynolds, publisher of Arizonans Against Common Core.

A Rebrand of Common Core is coming unless we stop it through our combined voices speaking against the proposed 2016 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Standards. Very little has changed with these 2016 Standards and we will still have Common Core!

As suspected the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and State Board of Education (SBE) are trying to “Rebrand Common Core” with their latest 2016 draft of the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Standards. The ADE Working Groups were tasked to review and incorporate our public comments which have been ignored. Our pleas to take out the “prescriptive examples and developmentally inappropriate standards for ELA and Mathematics” have been brushed aside, and the ADE Working Groups proceeded with the 2nd rewrite with very little changes to the Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (aka Common Core). If you put lipstick on the Common Core pig, it is still a pig!

Here are the reviews that our combined groups- Arizonans Against Common Core, Opt Out AZ and “Mommy Lobby AZ”- submitted to the SBE K-12 Standards website on October 3 for the draft 2016 ELA and Mathematics Standards. Parents voices were NOT heard, our comments were NOT incorporated, and here we have another “Rebrand of Common Core” if we let this happen just like we saw in 2013 with the renaming of Common Core to “Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.”

WE NEED YOUR VOICES at the Arizona Standards Development Committee Meeting on December 14:

December 14, 9am at the ADE building (1535 W. Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ 85007). If you have commented on the draft 2016 ELA and Math standards AND/OR if you are fed up with what is happening in your child’s classroom with the Common Core standards and testing please show up and let your voices be heard. Nothing will change in Arizona if the 2016 ELA and Mathematics standards are approved by the Arizona Standards Development Committee and the State Board of Education which will happen with a subsequent vote. Common Core will be here to stay if we don’t rise up and stop it!

CAN’T ATTEND THE MEETING? Who to contact about the Rebrand of Common Core?

Governor Ducey initiated the “Arizona Standards Development Committee” to “review and replace the Common Core Standards”(http://education.azgovernor.gov/edu/arizonas-academic-standards) on March 23, 2015 and these are his direct words, “As you know, I am against Common Core and spoke out against it on the campaign trail. That has not changed. Like you, I have high expectations and am for high standards for our students. We cannot excel without them. So, Arizonas standards must reflect the goals, expectations, and input of Arizonas parents and teachers. I encourage every Arizonan to get engaged in this process of creating new standards and assist the State Board of Education in the work ahead. Attend public meetings. Make calls. Write letters. Use social media. Make your voice heard. If like me, you are opposed to the federal governments increased involvement in our K-12 system, this is the quickest, best and most responsible way to fix it. If Arizona is going to be the best place in the nation to educate a child, then Arizonans must lead the way.” (http://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/im-arizona-standards) ”

Contact Governor Ducey’s Senior Education Policy Advisor Dawn Wallace: dwallace@az.gov or 602-542-1316.

Diane Douglas ran on the campaign promise to “Stop Common Core.” Contact Superintendent Douglas and her staff who ran the ADE Working Groups and who are “Rebranding Common Core:” Superintendent Diane Douglas: Diane.Douglas@azed.gov or 602-542-5423

Carol Lippert, Associate Superintendent, High Academic Standards: Carol.Lippert@azed.gov or 602-364-1985.

Jonathan Moore, Deputy Associate Superintendent, K-12 Standards: Jonathan.Moore@azed.gov or 602-364-2810.

Suzi Mast, Director of K-12 Mathematics Standards: Suzi.Mast@azed.gov or 602-364-4030.

Sean Ross, Director of K-12 ELA and Humanities Standards: Sean.Ross@azed.gov or 602-542-6342

Executive Director at the State Board of Education (SBE)- Karol Schmidt: Karol.Schmidt@azsbe.az.gov or 602-542-5057

Let our voices be heard that “WE WILL NOT ACCEPT A REBRAND OF COMMON CORE on our watch!”

For our precious children,

-Jennifer Reynolds
http://arizonansagainstcommoncore.com/

If you are just now waking up to the WAR that has been going on all around you for the last 5 years, READ MORE HERE

David Gowan 1st CD-1 Candidate to Sign “Stop Common Core” Pledge

David Gowan

Proven Conservative & Constitutional Republican Signs Eagle Forum Pledge

Phoenix, AZ (October 8th, 2015) – Arizona Speaker of the House David Gowan became the first candidate in the race for Congressional District One to sign the Eagle Forum’s “Stop Common Core Pledge.”

“For me, this was an easy pledge to make because it was nothing more than a continuation of my history of opposing Common Core, no matter what it was called.” said Gowan.

The pledge commits its signers to opposing Common Core and limiting or eliminating various aspects of Common Core such as data collection, directed vocational training, and nationalized assessments.

“The Federal Government has no Constitutional authority when it comes to education, and Common Core represents nothing more than the next step in the federal takeover of our schools.” said Gowan, continuing “I believe that control of the schools ought to be a local matter, and I will fight against any efforts to give control to bureaucrats thousands of miles away from Arizona.”

Rep Paul Boyer: Common Core won’t make your dreams come true

No education standards, however well crafted, can teach a student how to use their minds well. Only a teacher can help accomplish this.

Yet Common Core supporters tell us the new education standards in English, language arts and math will give future generations hope, ensure access to a high-quality education and prepare students for wherever their dreams will take them.

Paul BoyerSupporters of Common Core also tell us Arizona can opt out of the standards whenever we want, we will not have to shoulder the cost of implementation and the standards will not impact curriculum since they are separate.

They are wrong on all three counts.

Administrators and teachers tell us how many millions of dollars we have invested in implementing Common Core and training teachers, so how could Arizona possibly consider opting out and adopting our own standards, thereby maintaining our state sovereignty in education policy?

In June of 2010, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted the Common Core standards in exchange for $25 million in Race to the Top money. Normally when Arizona hands over policy control in any given area, we receive a favorable dollar-for-dollar match — two dollars for every one we put in or a three to one match. Instead, Arizona received a one to six match where even supporters of the new standards have estimated a price tag of over $150 million for the initial implementation.

The Arizona School Board Association and Arizona Association of School Business Officials estimate $48 million for teacher training, $96 million for curriculum aligned to the new standards and $13 million for the assessment.

Yet supporters still insist schools will maintain their curricular freedom. If so, then why is Arizona being told we must spend nearly $100 million we don’t have on Common Core-aligned curriculum? Aren’t standards and curriculum separate?

Nor does this include a nearly $25 million estimate in future costs to the state for additional hardware and software necessary to implement the new one-size-fits-all test that every Arizona student must take.

It gets worse.

If Arizona decides to offer our own test or a menu of tests that is more in line with the curriculum we are actually teaching in our classrooms, the federal government will threaten us with the loss of $582 million based on a 50-year-old law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

I support reasonable standards of achievement, but they are not enough on their own. What matters most is the quality of learning that occurs in the classroom: teaching that inspires and fosters student learning.

With an increased emphasis on specialization of education in K-12 along with a heavy emphasis on informational texts, the new assessment will force teachers to teach to the test, since their teacher evaluations and school letters grades are based on it, thus further chipping away at curricular freedom. This means our curricular decisions will be directed by decisions made in Washington, D.C., not Arizona.

Supporters can look very hard for the word “education” in the U.S. Constitution but they’d come up empty. It’s not in there. This means education policy should be reserved to the states.

Instead of having to spend this money on implementing federal standards, Arizona ought to reverse course and instead focus our time, talent and treasure on placing excellent teachers in every classroom.

At a recent town hall, a supporter of the standards told me we sent man to the moon with public education. She is correct. And we managed to do it without Common Core. We did it with excellent teachers.

State Rep. Paul Boyer chairs the House Education Committee. He is also a high school teacher.

“Recall Douglas” Leader Exposed As Bad Leader…. And Poor Speller

Espy(screenshot: DianeDouglas.com)

  • Anthony Espinoza is the founder and leader of the RECALL DOUGLAS campaign
  • Misspelled his name on Recall Douglas PAC’s forms
  • Teaches at MC Cash Elementary School as their ‘Technology Teacher’
  • Is a Democrat Party Precinct Committeeman and Liberal Activist
  • Graduated from ‘Arizona Stare University’ (see screenshot above)
  • Allegedly fired from the Murphy School District for ‘abandoning teaching post’

Unlike Arizona Republic’s EJ Montoni, Arizona Liberal Watch has “done their homework” on the man behind the ‘RECALL DOUGLAS’ campaign.

Get your bag of popcorn ready and then click here to read the entire piece.

 

 

ArizonaInformer.com is a new-media site with the main purpose to call out bias and activism by the local media, monitor Arizona’s institutional left, hold Republicans accountable, and reclaim our rightful place in pop culture.  It’s our primary mission to inform Arizonans with the Truth and amplify the voice of Arizona Citizen Journalists — all with a heavy dose of snark.    We are factually correct and politically incorrect.  #War

WHO IS ANTHONY ESPINOZA? THE MAN BEHIND ‘RECALL DOUGLAS’

 ArizonaInformer has learned via Twitter that  Arizona Liberal Watch is launching a multi-part series on the man behind the ‘Recall Douglas’ movement, elementary school teacher, Anthony Espinoza.

We’re glad to see citizen journalists do the job that the Brahm Resniks, Yvonne Wingett Sanchezs, and Dennis Welchs refuse to.   ‘The Fourth Estate’ lives, but obviously not in the local newsrooms.

Read the story here…

ArizonaInformer.com is a new-media site with the main purpose to call out bias and activism by the local media, monitor Arizona’s institutional left, hold Republicans accountable, and reclaim our rightful place in pop culture.  It’s our primary mission to inform Arizonans with the Truth and amplify the voice of Arizona Citizen Journalists — all with a heavy dose of snark.    We are factually correct and politically incorrect.  #War

‘MAILER’ UPDATE: AZGOP Stands With Diane

Yesterday roughly 30,000 Republicans in Arizona received  an AZGOP mailer promoting the GOP slate but many activists quickly noticed that the mailer did not include Jeff Dewit (who is running unopposed) and pro-local control of schools candidate Diane Douglas.  After the Chamber of Commerce’s declaration of war against the Tea Party plus the local chamber’s endorsement her pro-Common Core opponent, many interpreted this as an intentional slight of Diane Douglas by an AZGOP hijacked by ‘The Chamber’ — however we are happy to report that is not the case.

AZGOP Executive Director Chad Haywood tells ArizonaInformer that the AZGOP is 100% behind the Republican candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas.  In fact, AZGOP has sent out ‘slate’ mailers which feature Diane Douglas along with Tom Forese, and Doug Little (see below) and has consistently made calls promoting Diane’s candidacy since August’s Primary. Diane is also scheduled to appear alongside other candidates on the GOP slate, including Republican gubernatorial Doug Ducey in the run-up to Election Day.

A recent AZGOP featuring Diane Douglas for Superintendent

A recent AZGOP featuring Diane Douglas for Superintendent

The explanation for the sans Douglas mailer is that the AZGOP is one of logistic instead of opposition, corruption, or malice.  By law, the AZGOP must send out ‘slate’ mailers with a minimum of 3 candidates (Arizona has seven candidates on the slate)  and often there is not enough space due to pictures and text to place the entire slate fit onto one mailer.  Thus, the slate mailers is often broken up into two to make room for messaging and picture and the ‘splitting’ of the mailer allows for strategic targeting of certain voting districts.   This ‘splitting’ was the source of the confusion for yesterday’s mailer.

The AZGOP attempted to assist Diane’s campaign in addition to the mailers and robocalls but are hampered by ‘Clean elections’ regulations in what they can and cannot do but are putting their full weight behind every candidate.

“We would love to be able to respond by mail to attacks on Diane. She is a great candidate. Unfortunately we are not allowed to do a piece about 1 candidate because of slate laws and clean elections. Clean elections also prohibits us from donating directly to her campaign. She is at the top of our slate calls and will be included in all of our pieces disseminated to election day voters this weekend.” ~ AZGOP, Executive Director Chad Heywood

Heywood states the AZGOP is looking forward to a clean sweep on Tuesday and after a lengthy discussion with him, we at ArizonaInformer find him to be sincere and have no reason to doubt him or the AZGOP’s efforts to ensure Diane Douglas becomes our next Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Now that we’ve had this question asked and answered, there are only 2 more things that need to be done:
1. Defeat the Democrat Ticket Tuesday
2. Recharge for 2016
#War

 

Hear John Huppenthal and Diane Douglas Debate Arizona Education

Huppenthal-Douglas

On August 5, John Huppenthal (incumbent) debated challenger Diane Douglas for the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Arizona Department of Education.

It was a lively debate, with both candidates touting their record of support for local control of education and their opposition to federal control and meddling. Each challenged his/her opponent’s actual commitment to these principles.

Common Core, College & Career Readiness Standards (CCRS), Race to the Top, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) Testing, school choicecost controls, ethnic studies, and student data gathering were among the topics debated.

Full video at this link.

Scott Smith – Only Gubernatorial Candidate Who Supports Common Core

Of all the GOP candidates seeking the highly coveted governor’s seat, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith doesn’t try very hard to hide is support for Common Core. Oh, sure, he’s fallen in line with the establishment’s politically correct makeover of Common Core’s name change. But he is on the record as being that one GOP candidate furthest on the left on Common Core and education in general. And he’s in good company and much aligned with those Republican legislators now in trouble for abandoning the Republican majority to support big government, democrat-supported policy shifts.

So why would a candidate who wants to win the GOP primary run furthest on the left from the rest of the pack? Maybe he’s received bad political advice. Or possibly Smith is so accustomed to running as an establishment candidate. Or perhaps he’s never run in an actual GOP statewide primary that requires firing up the base unlike a city election. One can only guess.

But the obvious observation is that Scott Smith is the more liberal candidate on education issues who is seeking the Republican nomination. And this stands out in his support for Common Core.

Here’s an excerpt from an answer he gave back in March at a Mohave County candidate forum when asked about his position on Common Core:

One blatant revelation is Smith’s condemnation of Arizona’s performance in education. For someone running to replace a Republican Governor with a state education system headed by another Republican, this is simply bad form to indirectly blame Republican executive leadership.

But is what Smith says about Arizona’s education system even true? Is Arizona really at the bottom of the list on all education measurements? The answer is it depends on what you’re measuring, when you’re measuring and who you’re measuring. Anyone can jump on the National Center for Education Statistics website, plug in the variables and see where Arizona ranks. It’s not impressive but then again, it’s not dismal as Smith suggests. Arizona has made tremendous strides when it comes to education reform in the charter and school choice movement – and its helping to our rankings but more important, it’s helping our children.

But Arizona does have a problem as we’ve pointed out before. We’re paying a ton of money into the system and not getting a good return on our investment. For example, Arizona roughly spends $8,900 per pupil (2013 ADE financial reports). With average classroom size set at 25, $222,500 should be designated per classroom (in the most direct sense). We know that there are other costs but even considering non-classroom related costs, we’re talking about a lot of money that should be going to the classroom that simply is not. That needs to be fixed and Republicans have been working on that for years despite voracious attacks by teacher unions every single session.

Common Core will make matters worse – a lot worse. With a federally driven, top-down approach to educating students, one can imagine what another federal program will do to waste money, time and the lives of our precious children. Scott Smith wants Common Core and he wants the same old big-government approach to educating our children. AIMS was a disaster. No Child Left Behind was a mistake and now Common Core is trying to dig deeper into Arizona’s education system. If Scott Smith gets elected, it will be business as usual and the education establishment wants it and expects it. The next governor of Arizona needs to push back against the Obama’s Department of Education and reject Common Core. Scott Smith won’t do that and its the reason we want you to reject Scott Smith for governor.

Our question is, if all the national conservative organizations (listed below) oppose Common Core, why would any Republican candidate running for Governor in Arizona support it?

Heritage Foundation

CATO Institute

Heartland Institute

Goldwater Institute

Family Research Council

American Enterprise Institute

Americans for Prosperity

Concerned Women for America

RNC-GOP Resolution regarding Common Core

Scott Bartle avoids questions on Medicaid expansion, Common Core

Reposted from Arizona Daily Independent

By Diego Moya

Scott BartleArizona Senate candidate Scott Bartle attended Saturday’s meeting of the Republican precinct committeemen in Legislative District 11 (LD11). Bartle, who is challenging Senator Steve Smith, had few answers for the large crowd at an Oro Valley library.

Bartle, owner of InMaricopa.com, initially ran for the House but changed his mind and is now shooting for the Senate. He is currently a member and was the former president of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board.

The engaged precinct committee members asked Bartle the same questions that are being asked of all hopeful candidates these days: 1) Would you have supported Medicaid expansion? 2) Will you support Common Core?

With sly cunningness and the moves of a square dancer, Bartle danced around the topics. Bartle said he opposed any federal expansion of programs, but declared his stand on Medicare expansion.

While it is widely understood that Bartle is a strong proponent of Common Core, he refused to say whether he supported it in Arizona.

Bartle refused to answer a pointed question about who supported his campaign, specifically his donors and handlers.

Perhaps it is his desire for privacy that led Bartle to keep his opinions to himself. He said, “I am not so naïve and selfish, or maybe it is because I am selfish, but I got other demands on my time that I would not be pursuing this if I didn’t feel comfortable that there was an opportunity to win. I am more of a sit in the back row type of guy. I am not comfortable with having my face plastered on billboards and that sort of thing but I know that comes with the territory.”

According to the Arizona Auditor General’s report, under Bartle’s leadership the Maricopa Unified School District earned a “C” grade overall from the Arizona Department of Education, with 3 of its 10 schools earning a “D” grade. The District’s administrative costs/spending is considered high compared to other districts in the State with only 47% of its dollars making their way into the classrooms (To read the Arizona School District Spending (Classroom Dollars) Fiscal Year 2012, click here).

While Bartle may know what comes with the territory, voters can only guess what comes with Bartle’s territory based on his performance at the helm at MUSD.

The candidates for the two LD 11 House seats include Vince Leach and Mark Finchem.