State Board of Education Ignores Governor, Parents And Own Policy

Governor Ducey addresses the Arizona State Board of Education on March 23, 2015 [Photo from governor's office]

Preempting the Arizona Standards Development Committee (ASDC) that was about to conclude 18 months of work, on December 19 the State Board of Education (SBE) voted to impose Common Core standards on all Arizona schools—likely at a tremendous cost to the state’s recent education gains!

In 2010, the SBE adopted “Common Core” for Arizona schools.  Parents and teachers soon started having difficulty learning and teaching them.

Like many government mandates, Common Core benefited those who place profits above our children’s future.  Children who loved math started to hate math. Children who loved writing started to hate writing.  Parents recognized a problem.  Sometimes, parents with engineering and math degrees couldn’t help their children with basic arithmetic.

In March 2015, Governor Doug Ducey directed the SBE to “make right the situation…with full transparency,” and allow “teachers and parents to bring [standards] forward together.”

The SBE formed a 17-member committee (ASDC) representing parents, teachers, school administrators, and the business community from across Arizona, and tasked it with reviewing existing standards, developing better standards, and then making a recommendation to SBE.

The standards were reviewed primarily by “technical professionals” and largely pro-Common Core advocates.   Public input was sought, but it’s unclear how the opinions of parents and others with opposing viewpoints were considered.

On December 14, the SBE scheduled only three hours for ASDC to consider approval of the final draft math and ELA standards for K-12.  The ASDC previously had no opportunity to discuss the latest standards as a group.

After two-and-one-half hours of SBE presentations and public comments, only 30 minutes remained for ASDC to discuss and responsibly consider recommending hundreds of pages of standards. Serious concerns remained and it was uncertain whether all public comments were incorporated.  Several ASDC members requested additional time to “get it right.”  ASDC voted to delay further consideration and possible recommendation to SBE until a January 2017 meeting.

It appeared that ADE and SBE staff expected ASDC to “rubber stamp” the draft without delay.  SBE’s December 19 meeting agenda already included an item for approval of the standards, although ASDC had made no recommendation.

Shockingly, on December 19, SBE approved the standards, violating its own public policy which was to await the ASDC recommendation. The spirit of Governor Ducey’s request was not honored.  The public trusted the SBE to respect the governor’s direction and allow a recommendation from ASDC after careful, thorough review and consideration of the standards.

Ironically, Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, who promised in 2014 to “stop Common Core,” voted in favor of these ‘revised’ standards, which are in large part the same Common Core standards SBE adopted in 2010.

As members of ASDC, we patiently listened to all sides, and objectively considered and respected all opinions.  However, SBE prevented us from responsibly completing the task prescribed by SBE’s own policy and by Governor Ducey.  We were not allowed the time to adequately read and study the standards before we voted.

We respectfully ask Governor Doug Ducey to: 1] request that SBE rescind its improper vote, respect the public, and follow its own established policies; 2] appoint people to SBE who truly respect Arizona parents who are deeply concerned about public education in Arizona.

Respectfully Submitted by the following members of the State Board of Education’s Arizona Standards Development Committee (ASDC):

Scott Leska; Public School District Elected Board Member

Grant Peterson; Middle School Parent

Dr. Richard Rutkowski; Business Community Member

Olga Tarro; Elementary School Parent

Maureen Tozzi; Business Community Member

Shawnna L.M. Bolick; High School Parent

About Opinion 362 Articles
Under the leadership of Editor in Chief Huey Freeman, the Editorial Board of the Arizona Daily Independent offers readers an opportunity to comments 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.


  1. This is all part of end times..satan wants as many as he can get and this is one big apart familys..liberal agenda.. No rules..come soon Lord..

  2. Diane Douglas really thinks Arizonans will be happy with these new standards. Overheard at a legislative district meeting saying “What else do those parents want?” Parents are voters.Insert foot.

  3. Feel violated. I never believed Ducey when he claimed to be against Common Core, but Douglas, she fooled me. So the legislature can’t do anything now. Does Douglas think people will believe she ‘repealed and replaced’ Common Core? It’s insulting, this generation of kids will be the victims this action.

  4. If AZ was serious about having the best education policy,then there would have been open discussions of the standards that took 18 months to produce. A 30 minute conversation before a presumed rubber stamp doesn’t pass the smell test. A lot of the concerns parents had are still visible in the ‘new standards.’ Look who signed the letter–the parents on the committee!

  5. Definition of Dictatorial

    1 a: of, relating to, or befitting a dictator
    b: ruled by a dictator

    2 : oppressive to or arrogantly overbearing toward others

    Definition of Tyrant

    1 a: an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution
    b: a usurper of sovereignty

    2 a: a ruler who exercises absolute power oppressively or brutally
    b: one resembling an oppressive ruler in the harsh use of authority or power

    These definitions should tell everyone, why, and how, the powers that be do as they please.

  6. Hank: Charters are public schools so they too must follow Common Core system of standards, testing, and data collection.

    There are many big named charters which paint a pretty picture, but their picture is a snap shot. If you count heads of who enrolls and graduates from some of these big named schools, you will notice their attrition rate can get quite high. In some cases, these schools start out with 90-120 5th graders and by the time these kids in the same charter get to 12th grade, maybe 15 kids graduate. Where did most of the other kids go? Elsewhere over time for various reasons. If a district public school graduated a small percentage of their student population the pitchforks would be in hand and the school board run out of town. But as a charter, this seems to be overlooked.

    Consider the description of our new standards as being “college and career ready.” It implies that a student can slide easily into college life prepared–or ready. Sadly that was a misnomer from the original common core standards and these new standards make this claim, too. AZ is still assuming all will turn out ok. AZ spends your money on this speculation and is experimenting in real time with kids in classrooms. Maybe our money could be spent better?

    Already, across the country, 4th graders who have known NOTHING but common core learning are not outpacing other countries on national or international testing. Are there small pockets of student success? Yes, but there are always pockets…but recall common core’s promise was a set of common standards to give success for ALL kids yet nationwide US scores are flat or stagnant.

    This is the discussion that needed to be had about what kids are learning and how we would know success would follow. Another one size fits all based largely on the last one size fits all standards list seems like fool’s folly.

    The State Board of Ed didn’t listen to the recommendation of its own subcommittee who had been listening to presentations for over a year. I would be surprised if those serving on the SBE read the huge volume of comments from the public or technical reviewers, the previous standards and the new standards they adopted. Did they read the standards from the point of view of parents who had repeatedly time after time shared their concerns. Did SBE wonder why the same comments kept coming up at each time the public spoke even 18 months later? Did they wonder if perhaps parents weren’t being heard? Did SBE care that a discussion about the draft was so curt before they over-rode their recommendation to wait for more discussion?


  7. I wish that Education policies from the legislators would quit using kids as Guinea Pigs whenever the wind blows. Young kids need time to absorb concepts and shoving all this information down their throats isn’t helping anybody except the publishers. It is one thing if there were smaller class sizes and money for all the books, worksheets, copying paper, copier ink, demonstration kits and extra time for the concepts to evolve. They expect teachers to be at a certain teaching criteria on a certain date without any time for the kids to actually grasp and learn the concept that is being taught. Too bad if the kid doesn’t get it, just move on.

  8. Doug Ducey was instrumental in stacking the deck with pro-Common Core cheerleaders. He loves CC and the great deal of wealth it has generated for current and future donors. Doug Ducey’s goals are motivated by political aspirations and money. He will turn a blind eye to this, undoubtedly, unless we raise holy hell about it. As for Diane Douglas, she ran on one platform and has failed. She should not be re-elected. We need a strong, conservative candidate to replace her.

  9. Rep. Finchem, let’s start by electing school board members, not appointed stooges for this governor, or any other governor to follow.

  10. Gov Ducey has shown once again that he cannot be trusted so we must begin immediately to do whatever is necessary to deny him a second term. Along with turncoat Atty Gen Brnovich.

  11. Why the rush to adoption when the Review Committee thought it wise to be transparent, thoughtful and deliberate about moving ahead. This is how governance develops mistrust. Unless something is in fire, flooding or threatens life, taking time to carefully assess the inputs, process and outputs if a system is never wasted. The SBE has sewed the seeds of mistrust, discontent and suspicion when it did not need to. I’m pretty sure there will be a backlash.

  12. Common corp standards, hell kids now can read write or o SIMPLE math (3R’s) and they are cramming this crap down our throats. Just like obamacare, have to pass it before you know whats in it! I am around school kids everyday and you would be amazed to hear how they talk about stuff. By that I mean they do not have basic concepts in place. This country became what it was due to teaching BASICs and then those more inclined were able to reach out and take HIGHER level courses. NOT ALL want or are destined for college educations. The US needs to keep this in mind. As they like to reference OTHER countries, why do they not explain that kids RECEIVE BASIC educations and those DEEMED capable of further education receive it? This BS of putting all into the pot HOPING that something good comes out just wont cut it. And then they wonder why their systems are failing! Do charter schools have to follow this BS or just public? If not then that may explain why private and charter schools put out a better product.

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