Arizona Capitol

Effort Under Way by Arizona Lawmakers to Ban Common Core

An effort is under way by Arizona lawmakers to ban the state's implementation of the controversial Common Core curriculum in schools.

Arizona's House Education Committee voted Wednesday to approve such a ban, and, of course, such a ban was the cornerstone of the campaign run by newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas.

The national Common Core standards were created with the intention of making benchmarks for students at each grade level. Arizona's one of the states where standardized testing based on the Common Core standards are supposed to be rolled out this year.

Opposition to these standards has become a political issue, with many conservatives taking the anti-Common Core stance. Douglas was elected purely on a campaign to repeal these standards in Arizona.

Complaints are that the standards undermine local education choice by butting out parents and teachers. There are complaints that the program costs too much to taxpayers, is a "one-size-fits-all education policy," and violates student privacy.

Of course, the developers of the standards take the opposite view, and like anything that's been politicized, there are a lot of half-truths being tossed around.

One of the most vocal critics of the standards is Brad McQueen, a fifth-grade teacher in Tucson who spoke out against Common Core at the committee hearing Wednesday. Still other representatives of local education-minded groups spoke in favor of the standards at the lengthy hearing.

That said, Arizona's bill is a clear and direct ban on Common Core. The bill's text states:

Notwithstanding any other law, the State Board of Education may not adopt and the Department of Education may not implement the Common Core standards, the state's College and Career Ready Standards, or any other standards or assessments that are aligned with standards or assessments proposed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Any actions that were previously taken to adopt or implement standards or assessments that conflict with this section are void on the effective date of this section.
The bill includes a couple dozen provisions that all look to keep education control in the state.

The bill passed the committee on a 5-2 vote, and still has a ways to go in the legislative process. The five Republicans on the committee voted in favor of the bill, and the two Democrats voted against it.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley