State Superintendent of Public Education John Huppenthal has made mixed statements about his stance on Common Core.
Today, the incumbent may have flip-flopped still again.
Huppenthal was initially a strong proponent of the Common Core standards, called the College and Career Ready Standards here in Arizona. He once referred to opponents of the standards as "barbarians at the gate."
But in a radio interview late last month, Huppenthal said he was opposed to the "new definition" of Common Core and that he would seek a review of the standards to "keep all the good stuff" and to cut what he referred to as the "crap." And in an August 5 debate with his opponent for the Republican seat, Huppenthal said, "I have never supported the Common Core standards."
But in a video message released this morning, Huppenthal again changes his tune.
"I have always supported rigorous standards that prepare our students for success in college, career, and life," he says. He cites Common Core components he supports, including basic reading and math standards.
He then goes on to make clear just what constitutes the "crap" portion of the standards, saying he will oppose elements touching on such debated topics as, oh, history and science. "I will always oppose any standard that presents an unbalanced debate on scientific topics like climate change," he says, "and I will always oppose any standard aimed at denigrating our Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution."
But Huppenthal seems open to continued discussion of the merits of Common Core.
"I intend to partner with the next governor and the education community to fully review the standards in a series of open public forums to ensure that we are implementing standards that are best for Arizona students," he says in the video.
Diane Douglas, Huppenthal's Republican opponent in the August 26 primary, has built her campaign platform around stopping Common Core in the state. Her website, in answer to the question of why she is running, says, "Quite simply, to stop the Common Core Standards in Arizona."
In the Democratic primary, David Garcia, an education professor at ASU, will run against Sharon Thomas, a teacher. Garcia supports Common Core as part of the school improvement equation, but wants it to be used in the scheme of a larger school accountability structure that looks at more than just test scores. "Where I differ from all of the other candidates in this race is my belief that we need to look beyond standardized tests to measure student academic achievement," he says.
Thomas supports Common Core, claiming to be "the only candidate who has written curriculum aligned to Common Core and taught under the CC standards."
The general election for State Superintendent of Public Education will be held on November 4.
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