Arizona launches Common Core Standards resource

The Arizona Public Engagement Task Force, joined by Governor Brewer and Superintendent Huppenthal, has launched the ArizonaCommonCore.org, a tool for Arizona educators, families and business leaders to learn more about Arizona’s Common Core Standards.

The Superintendent is selling the Common Core Curriculum, which is opposed by many educators who question the tracking of students and lack of rigor. However, proponents claim that the curriculum is global in nature.

This school year, schools are implementing the Common Core Standards in targeted grades, with full implementation in all grades expected next year.

“In an ever-competitive global economy, it is absolutely crucial that Arizona’s students are well-equipped for college and career success upon high school graduation,” said Governor Brewer. “The Common Core Standards will not only enhance our children’s education, they also will promote the long-term economic vitality of our State. I applaud the Task Force for its collaborative efforts in this important pursuit.”

The Arizona Public Engagement Task Force was convened as an independently formed collaboration of more than 30 partners.

Despite Pearl Chang Esau, President and CEO of Expect More Arizona and the leader of the Arizona Public Engagement Task Force, saying that it was “critical that we communicate with parents, families and communities about the implementation of the Common Core Standards,” little information has been provided at all.

“Arizona’s Common Core Standards provide a foundation and path for students to be well prepared for post-secondary educational options, whether it’s technical school, college or on-the-job training,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, who has displayed a remarkable lack of understanding of education. “This is an important step in the direction of truly ensuring our students are prepared for life opportunities in the 21st century. Building creative, innovative thinkers in our education system will better position our state to be nationally and globally competitive economically. Through the collaboration of the Arizona Department of Education and the Task Force, we believe we have developed a useful tool for parents, students and the education community that supports the implementation of Arizona’s Common Core Standards. It is work we can be proud of.”

As a part of ArizonaCommonCore.org, the Task Force also announced the launch of the Arizona Common Core Standards Communications Toolkit. The Toolkit provides superintendents, principals, teachers, parent liaisons, and other community leaders with resources to let parents and the public know about the new Standards. Items in the Toolkit include: an overview of the Standards, an elevator speech, talking points, key messages for target groups, a template letter for educators to send to parents, and a PowerPoint presentation for families, among other resources.

“As an educator, ArizonaCommonCore.org, will be a helpful resource as my school implements the Common Core Standards,” said Steven Aranda, 5th grade teacher from the Flowing Wells Unified School District. “The Toolkit will make it easier for us to communicate with our parents about the new Standards.”

“ArizonaCommonCore.org, is a go-to resource for parents and families to understand the Common Core and the information we need as parents to stay engaged in our children’s education,” said Isabel Serna, parent.

“The real questions about shifting to the common core standards have little to do with what parents and community leaders know and have everything to do with whether or not the state, school districts and charter schools are ready to make the transition. That includes whether teachers have been trained in the new set of standards and whether materials are either being developed and/or purchased that provide the requisite examples and practice in the skills covered by the new standards,” said Rich Kronberg, co-founder of TU4SD. “Most importantly, has the state developed a new set of high stakes tests (used to rate schools and teachers) that are based on the new standards or will Arizona be using tests based on the old standards that students are no longer focused on mastering, i.e. will the fourth grade tests judge teachers and schools on what used to be taught in fourth grade or will they be changed to judge teachers and schools on what is taught at fourth grade under the common standards regime. The transition to the common core standards is not a simple one (the shift in math standards is said to be substantial,) and the state’s role in making the transition as seamless as possible must be much greater than collaborating on a public engagement project. Is the real nuts and bolts work involved in making such a transition being done? We’ll know next year.”

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