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?