Arizona Standards Development Committee Working On Faulty Premise

By Itasca Small

The bulk of the February 4th, Standards Development Committee Meeting proved the premise that the “educators” on the committee are working from faulty premises!

There is stunning confusion among the ‘educator’ members of the committee. Please remember as you read further that these people are responsible for ‘educating’ your children!

As the meeting got under-way, members began the discussion. Following is my treatment of the conversation with asides and paraphrasing as I recall it aided by quotes and near-quotes from my notes. Brackets are intended to identify some of my asides.

Conclusions reached during the ADE opening presentation: “There’s a difference between curriculum and standards . . . It takes a number of years of training to understand this principle. . . .” [Ohh, we’re supposed to think that Common Core standards stand-alone and can be plugged into existing curricula! . . .]

But, Lay State Board Member/Charter School official [a contradiction in terms], Jared Taylor, says, “There are things in these standards that guide away from other curriculums.”

A couple of comments later: “That’s because of the ‘i.e.’ examples included with the standards that could be construed as pedagogy: [as the reader concludes] ‘this is going to be on the test.’” Nearly quoting Chairman Leska.

“In Common Core Math, when a pupil gets the right answer but doesn’t use the correct process, he gets a zero, because he used the wrong pedagogy.” Roughly quoting Supt. Douglas. [As long as they show that they followed the right process, the ‘wrong’ answer is counted correct!]

“Common Core is a process,” aptly speaks Dr. Robershotte. [So true! It isn’t about the standards! It’s about the process—the pedagogy.] And, “A standard is a process.” [Huh? Isn’t
a standard ‘What’ you seek to achieve? not ‘How’ you seek to achieve it?]

“A standard is a process; how is that ‘How?’”

“We’re supposed to be working on the standards! Isn’t that ‘What?’ not ‘How?’”

Says, Chairman Leska, “Leave the ‘How’ to Common Core, not the ‘What.’ We’re focusing on the ‘What,’ the simplicity of the ‘What.’” [Ah, hah! Which must mean the standards are the ‘What,’ because isn’t that what the committee is focusing on . . . ?]

They discussed the question, How is a standard the ‘How’ and not the ‘What?’

[It isn’t! And, if a standard gives examples aren’t they, ‘What?’ Well, noooo, not exactly. But, by the educators’ ‘standard,’ it could make the ‘standard’ cross-over into pedagogy—and that is how a standard becomes ‘How?’ Uhh, that is exactly ‘What’ Common Core-aligned curricula does! And the so-called ‘standards’ are wolves in sheep’s clothing! The True Nature of National Standards lurks beneath that fluffy white wool! The entire flock is nothing more—nor less—than tools the behavioral scientists devise to reduce your child to the lowest common denominator: the Common Core of mediocrity created to supply the perverted version of Human Capital to the businesses and industry represented by crony capitalists, chambers of commerce and the recent past and present governors, some legislative leaders, and past state superintendents.]

In order to teach the Common Core standards, teachers must be ‘trained’ at-length.

[At great expense because the Common Core-perverted version of constructivism is counterintuitive— to ‘train’ the ‘How’ of the Common Core Agenda into pupils, so they will emulate the ‘What.’ Thus, using the perverted form of constructivist pedagogy to ‘instruct’—not ‘teach’—using ‘the How,’ on pupils so they can be ‘trained’—not educated—in the ‘What’ that keeps them on the career pathway that Common Core ‘assessments’ are supposed to be used to direct them on, toward their future college or vo-tech ‘training.’ I apologize if this is confusing! Now, I know how pupils being indoctrinated with Common Core-aligned curricula feel!]

If a standard says a pupil must meet given criteria to be considered proficient, isn’t that, ‘What?’ Chairman Leska did say, “We are focusing on the ‘What,’ the simplicity of the ‘What.’”

And, Dr. Mari Koerner said, “Simplicity is clarity. If we have clarity, then, we have simplicity.”

A great segué into the Subcommittee Reports. If you’re an ‘educator’ you have to learn how to dazzle the masses with your fancy footwork. Well, I’m no simpleton when it comes to
understanding all those big words and deep concepts, in fact, I actually enjoyed Dr. Patrick Thompson’s condescending assessment of the linear thinking We the Little People wouldn’tcomprehend if he tried to explain it to us. I was intrigued and wanted to know more! But, he was just letting us know that it would be a waste of his time to continue.

The High School English Teacher informed us that there is nothing wrong with Common Core Standards requiring a heavy emphasis on nonfiction instructional texts—you know, those instruction manuals that your child is learning to read instead of classical literary fiction—because, “Reading fiction is just for pleasure, and after he ‘graduates’, reading
informational texts is most important!”

After all, ‘he’ is being trained for a career, not educated for a wondrous life of continually acquiring “knowledge” and applying it to whatever path HE MAY CHOOSE FOR HIMSELF!

This English Teacher has no concept that reading fiction is the best method for learning and expanding one’s grasp and use of human language ever devised by Man. (Other than
reading/studying “The Holy Bible.”) The most effective means of learning to ‘see’ the world in which we live, acquire vocabulary, become a terrific speller and ‘intuitively’ write correct grammatical structure, is reading fiction and the Bible. Does she not want her pupils to live full, rewarding lives?
Then, the committee began to contend over what their charge is: “What are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to look at only standards for which we received public comments? How do we address public comment versus our own expertise?” [After all, we do know best.]

It is now nearly one year after the Members of the State Board of Education were tasked by Governor Ducey—wait, isn’t he the ‘governor,’ who has NO constitutional authority to direct any entity regarding Education in Arizona?—to review each and every ‘standard’ imposed upon Arizona’s children with the Common Core State Standards Initiative. After review of each ‘standard’ the committee is to recommend replacements for each one that doesn’t measure-up to Arizona’s public education needs.

Sounds like a simple concept that could take an inordinate amount of time. Here’s another place they could use Dr. Koerner’s observation, “Simplicity Equals Clarity.” Only, these ‘educators’ haven’t a clue as to why they are talking about the standards, much less what they are expected to be ‘doing’ with them!

“Aren’t we supposed to be looking at just the standards about which we receive specific public comments?”

Nooo, “Can someone read the governor’s directive to the committee so we can all remember what we’re supposed to be doing? Thank you!” Parent Representative/Mom finds the directive on her Smartphone and reads it to refresh the ‘educators’ short memories: Review each standard and immediately recommend replacing any and all that don’t measure-up! (Paraphrased)

The ‘educators’ just could not comprehend what that charge really meant! And, these people are supposed to be ‘educating’ your children!

There were comments on whether the standards should take a constructivist approach to Mathematics, or if should they use direct instruction. [Actually, they would do well to ‘teach’
rather than ‘instruct’ or use constructivism. The latter forces a pupil to try to figure-out for himself ‘What’ math is and ‘How’ to perform its functions, before his natural development is ready to do so.]

There were references to Saxon Mathematics for STEM graduates, and someone invoked epistemology—a fascinating branch of philosophy that investigates all the different aspects of human knowledge acquisition and use.

What did these comments do to advance the purpose of the committee? Nothing that I heard in that meeting.

At one point, the ‘educators’ talked more about ‘instruction.’ Now, it’s important to know that there is a difference between instruction and teaching. The former is used to ‘train’ a student to perform a task, a trick, a job, etc. The latter is used to ‘educate’ a pupil in preparation for choosing his own path and following it wherever it may lead.

An audience is instructed; a consumer is educated—I realized, as I listened to one lady ‘educator’ come-down from her ivory tower to instruct us.

Have you ever wondered, as did I in Grade School upon first hearing of our State Superintendent of Public Instruction, W. W. “Skipper” Dick, why the title is “of Public  Instruction?” Why not “Education,” I wondered. . . . It’s because the purpose of progressivism’s form of public education has always been intended as instruction for job training, not education for a full and meaningful life.

It is the Instruction Mentality that has brought our public school system down to the depths of the lower ranks among the States. As we seek to rescue our system of public education, we would do well to change the name of our office to State Superintendent of Public Education.

And, the Big Question was finally asked, What is the Timeline for reviewing and replacing the Common Core Standards in Arizona? ADE representative, Carol Lippert, protested that they are “. . . only now starting on the standards,” and have “Really just begun to do the revision.”

There is no way they can provide a Timeline at this point! Nearly a year after Governor Ducey’s directive was issued.

From the confusion and condescension I witnessed, the purported goals of the Arizona Standards Development Committee will never be met as long as the ‘educators’ have a major role in its work. Could that be the point?

I never thought this Smoke & Mirrors Game was intended to actually end Common Core in Arizona. The tragedy is that Arizona’s Children are being subjected to the evils of the Common Core Agenda while Rome burns and Nero fiddles. Our Legislature plays games with the Constitution and refuses to acknowledge the clear structure of our public school system—for which, they have ultimate responsibility—while aiding and abetting the Governor’s deliberate usurpation and consolidation of our elected State Superintendent’s executive authority into the appointive State Board of Education: an “IT,” the members of which are pretending that “it” is a state agency under the authority of the Governor.

They all fiddle while our Arizona public school system burns in the Destructive Fires of Common Core, and it is the children who are suffering the consequences of their folly.
The ‘educator’ Members of the Standards Development Committee need to check their faulty premises and discover what it is they are supposed to be doing.

About Letter to the Editor 311 Articles
Under the leadership of Editor in Chief Huey Freeman, the Editorial Board of the Arizona Daily Independent offers readers an opportunity to comment on current events and the pressing issues of the day. Occasionally, the Board weighs-in on issues of concern for the residents of Arizona and the US.