On Monday, at the request of Arizona’s Superintendent Diane Douglas the Arizona State Board of Education severed ties with Common Core. Over the next few months, residents have the opportunity to discuss those standards with the State Board of Education’s Standards Development Committee as they holding meetings across the state seeking public input on Arizona’s Mathematics and English Language Arts Standards.
Supporters of Common Core frequently argue that opponents cannot cite a specific standard to which they object. Opponents argue that if the standards only included standards there would be little to object to. The rest of us either 1) wonder what they are both talking about; 2) heard that Common Core is a miracle cure for what ails public education; or 3) know them to be or the bane of our kids, grandkids, neighbors’ kids’ existence.
The idea that opponents cannot cite a single standard that is objectionable is false. The claim that most of the standards would be acceptable if they were true standards – and only standards – is true. No one knows yet if they are a cure for all that ails education, but the standards and the high stakes testing that comes with them are making a lot of kids sick.
So what are the standards and what’s the problem?
Simply put: standards define the skill to be taught, curriculum includes the books and other materials schools choose with which to teach that standard, and pedagogy is the method a teacher uses to get kids to master the standard.
Liberals and conservatives, in the state of Arizona, agree on this one point: states set standards, local school board select curriculum, and teachers figure out a way to make kids – all kids in their classroom – learn the standard through the approved curriculum… and sometimes outside the curriculum.
Sounds too basic? It is basic, and for years the system has worked and our country has produce more Nobel Laureates that any other country in the world. Unfortunately the Common Core crafters have dumbed down our standards.
Again, just for clarity: standards tell an educator that they must teach students to master this-or-that skill. A standard pre-Common Core standard might read: Add and subtract numbers up to 20. As you can see above, under Common Core, standards now include essentially pedagogy and curriculum. It is clear that voters wanted teachers and school boards to have that control or they would not have elected Douglas, who ran against the Common Core scheme.
A group of women, known as the Mommy Lobby, have been working on the analysis of Arizona’s Common Core contraption for years. Contraption is not too harsh a word. The multi-faceted Common Core mechanism includes standards, the resulting curriculum, and the high stakes AZMerit test and the data generated by it.
As Jen Reynolds, a Mommy Lobby member notes, Arizona’s Common Core standards “are full of “how to’s” (process standards) and not just content standards.” For the purposes of informing those who want to address the State Board of Education’s Standards Development Committee over the coming months, we are focusing solely on their analysis of standards here.
Arizona’s Common Core “Career and College Ready” standards
As lawyer and member of the Mommy Lobby, Lisa Hudson, points out in her article; Why Digitizing Classrooms Won’t Work, Common Core leave out as much as it puts in. Hudson writes, “Cursive writing is considered prehistoric; it is not even found in the national Common Core Standards, which do require “keyboarding skills” and emphasize that children must “use technology and digital media strategically and capably.”
Members of the public are encouraged to weigh-in on what is and what is not in the Arizona Common Core standards.
One homeschooling Mommy Lobby member, who started the Opt Out movement in Arizona, created a visual that clearly shows what currently exists, and what parents and other education advocates can ask for of the Committee:
The Mommy Lobby says that academic standards should:
1. Be grade level and developmentally appropriate;
2. Be clear, concise, objective, and measurable;
3. Not require a specific teaching methodology or curriculum; and
4. Be consistent with the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Arizona
County superintendents will be hosting meetings across the state to allow for feedback to the Standards Development Committee on the current academic standards.
ALL PUBLIC HEARINGS:
Yavapai County – Prescott
Glassford Hill Middle School Auditorium
Pima County – Tucson
Pima Community College Downtown Campus
Maricopa County – Chandler
Chandler Center for the Arts
Pinal County – San Tan Valley
Walker Butte K-8 School
Apache/Navajo County – Show Low
Whipple Ranch Elementary School Multipurpose Room
Coconino County – Flagstaff
Flagstaff High School
Cochise County – Sierra Vista
Rothery Educational Services Center
Mohave County – Kingman
Mohave County Administration Building
Maricopa County – Peoria
Peoria High School
La Paz County – Parker
Parker High School
Graham/Greenlee County – Safford
Graham County General Services Building
Yuma County – Yuma
Yuma School District One
Santa Cruz County – Nogales
Santa Cruz County Complex
Maricopa County – Phoenix
Madison Elementary School District
Gila County – Globe
Gila County Board of Supervisors Room
For more information on Arizona’s K-12 Mathematics and English Language Arts Standards, please visit: https://k12standards.az.gov/. To submit feedback online, please visit: https://k12standards.az.gov/comment-standards. All public hearings will be publicly noticed by the State Board at https://azsbe.az.gov/public-meetings.