Repeal of Common Core Standards

It is a privilege to serve you as Superintendent because nothing is more important than educating our children so they become successful citizens of our great Republic; fulfilling their goals and ambitions with their God-given talents.

When I asked for your vote I campaigned in opposition to the federal mandated Common Core English Language Arts and Math Standards. I traveled the state and spoke about 3 major problems with the standards.

 First, AZ did not own the rights to the standards which were created by special interest groups in Washington DC.

March, 2015 – I received, on behalf of Arizona, a release from the copyright from the Council of Chief State School Officers.

My next concern was the process by which the State Board of Educaton (SBE) adopted the standards – being mandated to do so through the Race to the Top grant process prior to the release of the standards.

October, 2015 – I requested an agenda item for the State Board of Education to reconsider its adoption of the Common Core a.k.a. Arizona College and Career Ready Standards as the official standards. By a 6-2 vote the SBE repealed Common Core.

Finally, the curricula embedded in the standards drove classroom instruction rather than being adopted by your locally elected governing boards.

December 2016 – The State Board of Ed adopted revised standards. The revised standards were the work of hundreds of AZ teachers, representing 10 of our 15 counties, working over 7,000 man hours to read and review over 10,000 comments from citizens all across our state. Over 40% of the Math and almost 50% of the English Language Arts standards have been revised; embedded curricula and reading lists with inappropriate, graphic “literature” were removed from our new standards.

At my direction the ADE standards team has created an ongoing review process so that AZ standards never again sit on a shelf for years on end. Improvements to the standards will be brought to the SBE as necessary.

Our students will be expected:

to learn to write and read cursive – we are the first state to have adopted foundational writing standards.

to memorize their math facts for fluency.

to tell time and count money.

Also standards for phonetic reading have been strengthened.

 

It is a good start but we are not done. We must now revise our Social Studies standards so that our children have a complete and true understanding our nation’s history, our Republican form of government and the documents that protect our God-given rights. Additionally, we are updating our Science standards.

We have updated the standards development process to allow parents and citizens to take a more active role in reviewing our standards. I have also created a citizens’ committee to review all the questions included on the AZMerit test for appropriateness to ensure our questions are academic and do not have a political or socio-economic bias.

I believe that our education system belongs to all of us and the education of our children is vital to the future of our state and our nation. That is why my goal is to ensure that everyone – parents, all citizens even those without children in our education system, teachers, administrators, students – all have a seat at the table to improve our education system.

I thank you for your support and ask for your vote on August 28, 2018.


Az MERIT Testing

We need to re-examine why we test students at all. My plan is to significantly reduce the emphasis on AzMERIT as the only state level assessment that measures students’ proficiency in English language arts and math. Teachers and schools should be using a variety of assessment tools in thoughtful ways so that teachers know, on a real-time basis, if a student is on the path to proficiency or not and can in turn provide assistance on an individualized basis. Mandated statewide testing should only be confirming what teachers and schools already know about student performance.