Common Core Survives

Senate nixes bid to limit federal standards


A slew of bills before the Arizona Legislature that would allow school districts to opt out of federal Common Core Standards, but this week the Senate spiked the first of those bills — Senate Bill 1310.

Republicans have long insisted the Common Core Standards represent a federal take-over of education. Some Tea Party Republicans have even denounced the Common Core Standards as an Agenda 21 plot by the United Nations.

The hue and cry prompted Governor Jan Brewer to officially change the name of Common Core to Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards to diffuse the perception the reforms come from the federal government.

In actuality, The National Governors Asso­ciation and the Council of Chief State School Officers created the standards.

Arizona adopted the standards in 2010. Schools have in the past three years scrambled to train teachers and administrators, although school staff has often balked and complained.

Senator Chester Crandell (R-Heber), who represents the Rim Country, said he believes in local control and so supports alternatives to the Common Core.

“I’m very opposed to a national assessment,” said Crandell. “You end up with a national curriculum, that takes away the ability of local control with the slant of the morays of the community.”

Arizona plans to scrap the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test in favor of a nationally recognized test such as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) test.

Crandell would rather the state rely on assessment tests colleges and trade schools already use. He worries a national test would only encourage educators to teach to the test.

Payson Unified Director of Student Achievement Brenda Case said opting out of Common Core at this point will cost the district a lot of money.

“If states/districts are allowed to develop their own standards and assessment tools, it will require a lot of money,” she said. “The standards have to be researched, and carefully written, then correlated. Assess­ments would have to be developed based on the standards (for all grade levels), then sent out to be tested for validity and reliability. This is an extremely complicated (and time consuming) process.”

With this first vote, state legislators seem to agree with Case, but three more bills await action.

Those three have passed the Senate Education Committee (SB1388, SB1395 and SB1396), but none have gone to the floor for a final vote because many of them conflict with each other. They all seek to limit Common Core and hand responsibility over to school districts.

Case said the district has struggled in the past year to convert over to the new standards and predicts more challenging times for the future.

“I am sure that the state of Arizona will fight it (Common Core), as will many other states,” she said. “That does not mean that the AZSCCR (Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards) won’t change. It just means that to implement what is being discussed at the Legislative level would take years. Many are unhappy.  Many are looking for change. Many want support that just is not there. It is a challenging day in public education.”

The following bills passed out of committee on a 6-3 party-line vote and will be combined into a single bill before facing a floor vote in the senate.

SB1388 - Takes control of standards and assessments away from the State Board of Education and gives it to school districts and charter schools.

SB1396 - Requires school districts and charter schools to adopt standards/assessments that meet or exceed the 1999 state standards.

SB1395 - Allows school districts or charter schools to “opt out” of State Board of Education standards.


Anita Christy 2 years, 10 months ago

The issues with Common Core (renamed by Gov Brewer to the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards) include: 1) What and how curriculum is being taught in classrooms; 2) an unconstitutional federal overreach to standardize the education of our children; 3) the massive cost of implementing such a system without any cost analysis or public input which would constitute taxation without representation; 4) data collection of private student and teacher information without consent; and 5) loss of state and local control.

These standards are supposedly very basic. Yet, massive amounts of money is already being spent to "train" teachers to implement them. The standards were not developed locally, or even by "the states." They were developed by Washington, DC-based "think tanks." There is literally nothing a parent or local school board can do to change a single standard. All that can be done is to add 15% to the regimental standards "as is."

This isn't a "TEA Party" issue, and you needn't go searching for Agenda 21 conspiracies. The Left-Right Alliance for Education ( opposes Common Core. Many psychologist are opposed to it (

This will end up being another failed top-down government program. It has never been field tested. The "guinea pigs" are all of Arizona's children K-12. We should be pushing for local control.


Mel Mevis 2 years, 10 months ago

Ms Christy,

How are Arizona's education strategies working?

You should be afraid of another standardized test ..... it will show how Arizona's education system is a failure, any way you measure it.

Just a few facts.

Arizona K-12 Test Scores

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): Arizona’s national rank for 2007 NAEP Scores in given content areas and grade levels:

Grade 4 Mathematics Rank, 44

Grade 4 Reading Rank, 47

Grade 8 Mathematics Rank, 37

Grade 8 Reading Rank, 42

ACT and SAT (Scores for Arizona’s college-bound high school students) The ACT and SAT exams are “self-proscribed” tests taken primarily by the highest achievers in the student population. ACT (2008) Arizona’s ACT 2008 Composite Score ranks 21st in the nation. Arizona’s SAT Composite Score ranks 31st in the nation. Arizona’s student participation rates for the ACT and SAT exams are among the lowest in the nation. Source: ALEC – American Legislative Exchange Council Report Card on American Education.

K-12 Education Per Pupil Funding

• Arizona ranks 50th in the nation in any fair comparison of per pupil spending.

• Arizona spends $6,248 per pupil (2006-07), $3,000 less than the national average of $9,389.

• Every national ranking of per pupil funding consistently shows Arizona at or near the bottom of the 50 states.

• From 1986-87 through 2006-07, Arizona’s percentage change in expenditure per pupil has been -0.96%, while nationally it was 36.56%. This means that Arizona has actually decreased its relative per pupil funding while other states have increased their expenditures.

Source: American Legislative Exchange Council Report Card on American Education, 2006-07 figures

Class Size

• Arizona’s class size average is second highest in the nation, with an average of 24.2 students per class, compared to a national average of 15.3.

• Arizona is one of only four states in the nation that have increased class sizes over the last ten years.

• Arizona increased its class size average 31.72% over the last 20 years, while the nationwide average fell 11.9% over the same time period.

Source: American Legislative Exchange Council Report Card on American Education, 2006-07 figures.

Student Enrollment Growth

• Arizona ranks second in the nation for percentage increase in public school enrollment, far outpacing the national average.

• Arizona’s Average Daily Membership (ADM) has increased from 840,130 in school year 1999-2000 to 1,044,785 in school year 2007-08.

Source: Annual Report of the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction for Fiscal Year 2007-2008 and NEA Ranking of the States, 2008

**Yes you should be afraid of showing how appalling our children are being treated ..... Again our legislators are failing our citizens.

Is bottom up education working? NO!**


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