Douglas Pushes False Narrative To Get Additional Funding

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos with Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas together in D.C. in March [Photo from ADE Facebook page}

Douglas begs for more as schools go without

Nearly once a week, during this legislative session Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas has issued statements regarding the need for funding for one program or another. Last week, Douglas caused a firestorm when she “shared her concerns regarding the lack of important funding for statewide support of K-12 academic standards in the House of Representatives’ initial draft budget framework.”

ADE Travel/Legal Costs 
7/1/16 TO DATE
TRAVEL TOTAL$631,115.72
AIR FARE$55,800.87
CAR RENTAL$51,929.09
LEGAL TOTAL$479,663.86
7/1/15 TO 6/30/16
TRAVEL TOTAL$1,230,342.52
AIR FARE$155,405.14
LEGAL TOTAL$678,769.15
7/1/2014 TO 6/30/15
TRAVEL TOTAL$1,483,583.36
TRAVEL – IN-STATE$940,318.11
TRAVEL – OUT-OF-STATE$543,265.75
AIR FARE$238,303.32
CAR RENTAL$3,557.49
LEGAL TOTAL$447,614.05

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) made a $1.1 million request to the Governor and Legislature for its K-12 Academic Standards Division. She claimed that without the money, the Department would lose up to 10 full-time employees, “who provide essential support and resources in the development, revision and implementation of the state’s academic standards.”

Douglas, who has done little to fight for funding on the school level, stated that Arizona “ended up with Common Core because Arizona was not funding standards support and instead turned to the federal government for money several years ago.” Douglas then tries to continue the false narrative that Arizona replaced “Common Core with standards that truly belong to Arizona.”

Related articles:

Douglas Stuns Lawmakers With Rant About “Fake News”

Douglas Proposes Proposition 301 Expansion, Teachers’ Raises

Teacher Resignation Letters Paint Bleak Picture Of US Education

Three groups: Arizonans Against Common Core, the Mommy Lobby AZ, and Opt Out AZ, that represent the 30 legislative districts throughout Arizona, are now challenging Douglas false claim. They argue:

● Arizona parents started asking questions about Common Core in 2013 when our schools fully implemented these standards. Since then, we have heard numerous excuses as to why Common Core isn’t a resounding success. Bad implementation by teachers was cited by Common Core financier Bill Gates. His goal was for the standards, curriculum and testing to align. John Kasich called Common Core opposition a negative runaway internet campaign. Arne Duncan, former Secretary of Education, started a war on Moms telling us our kids just weren’t as bright as we thought. Bill Gates said Big Textbook was creating books poorly. Jason Zimba, a Common Core developer, said even his kids’ NY teachers were implementing the standards incorrectly so he must tutor his daughters in Math on Saturday mornings. Zimba has a double standard for the rest of us parents as he cautions that we shouldn’t help our children with Math homework. A few weeks ago, Bill Gates chimed in again to blame Common Core’s failure on “fake” parents speaking out on Twitter.

● What is missing is school leadership at all levels being accountable to parents who are also taxpayers. None of us asked for our standards to be completely upended with standards no one had seen and had not been vetted. We were simply asked to go along and blindly trust those elected and appointed within the State and quietly let them make decisions while we pay the bills.

● Parents began asking questions of their teachers, principals, and school boards all of whom pointed at the State. The State pointed to the Feds and everyone seemed powerless to make any meaningful changes and pointed the finger at someone else.

● Both Governor Ducey and Superintendent Douglas ran with education platforms aimed to remove Common Core from Arizona. Parents rallied behind these candidates based on their promises. Our children still wait for the promise to be fulfilled.

● The AZ Department of Education press release gives the impression that 10 FTE’s are needed each year to revise or update standards yet, on ADE’s own website, there is a schedule posted indicating which year a school subject will be up for review. For example, PE isn’t scheduled for review until 2020, why would AZ taxpayers fund that particular FTE in years where those standards are not changed? How many years of training in implementing standards does ADE think certified teachers need in each subject each year?

● AZ didn’t accept Common Core because the Legislature didn’t fund reviewing or changing standards. In fact, in 2008, AZ adopted new Math standards only to discard them in favor of the sight unseen Common Core standards. Somehow AZ Department of Education created Math standards without 10 FTE employees working on them. AZ and 45 other states adopted CC for a whole host of other reasons during the Great Recession.

● Douglas says: “After finally replacing Common Core with standards that truly belong to Arizona, it would do our children a major disservice to let all of that progress fall by the wayside. We owe it to our students and our schools to fund our standards so that we finish what we started and complete the critical work that is yet to come.”

● These “new” 2016 standards belong to AZ only because they were forced through by AZ State Board of Education against the wishes and vote of the committee overseeing the standards review. Moreover, these “new” standards are virtually identical to Common Core adopted by AZ in 2010. Here is the link to the side by side comparisons to judge for yourself:

● If seven years later, Arizona’s teachers and district trainers are implementing Common Core incorrectly, then $1 M wouldn’t be enough money to make a dent in serving AZ’s 1 M school kids in 240+ school districts. If standards are so complex that ADE believes veteran teachers are still implementing CC incorrectly, how much more time and money is needed to serve our kids who have only 180 school days to master standards?

● Superintendent Douglas has indicated that parents should demand better curriculum from school districts if they are still unhappy with what is being taught. What is missing from this dialogue is that we know of no school districts or charter schools asking their school boards for NEW curriculum to match the “new” 2016 standards. Last month, one large local Arizona curriculum provider-Beyond Textbooks was happy to report: “Good news, there are only minimal changes as a whole to the existing standards.”

● Seven years later, we are full circle being sent back to our school districts asking for new curriculum that no one in the marketplace is producing–everything is Common Core aligned just as Bill Gates projected. Looking at the side by side comparisons of the “before and after review standards” reveals little has changed despite the efforts of many people and many man hours. AZ Department of Education implies without more funding, implementation will be poor and teachers will not know how or what to teach. Parents concerns are still being marginalized and ignored.

● Honesty and accountability are needed to place $1 M into AZ’s education budget. How many people have looked at the side by side comparisons to see how similar the Common Core standards are to the “new” 2016 standards? Perhaps some of the House Representatives have and realized little has changed after more than 18 months of working on Math and English Language Arts standards.

● Arizona parents against Common Core wanted meaningful changes to the standards. It didn’t happen.

Douglas says it “would do our children a major disservice to let all of that progress fall by the wayside” but it is she that is doing the disservice to the State by claiming that the standards are anything but a minor edit of the Common Core.

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  1. It’s worth noting that the FY ’18 budget Gov. Ducey signed today does not include funding for the implementation of the rebranded Common Core standards. Incumbent Douglas had requested $1.1 million for 10.5 new employees to implement the standards. Douglas says AZ standards aren’t CC rebrand but MommyLobbyAZ did a side-by-side comparison of the “new” ELA & Math standards & found them virtually unchanged from the Common Core (excuse me, College and Career Ready) standards. Beyond Textbooks, the curriculum development and licensing arm of the Vail School District, says the changes are “minimal” (March on-line newsletter). The state legislature, with persuasion from some of the good people who previously commented on this thread, made the right decision. After all, why give Douglas & the Arizona Dept. of Education more funding for new standards that are the same as the old standards.

    We must give our teachers the compensation (and respect) they deserve and the autonomy to manage their classrooms without the imposition of a “one-size-fits-all” standardized curriculum which prescribes what and how they must teach.

  2. It is so gratifying that our Judicial branch knows and understands our constitution. Trump continues to think that just because he says or does something by EO it will become the law of the land. Sessions, on the other hand, as AG, should know better. He obviously can not understand and interpret the constitution.

  3. We tried telling all her supporters during the election and then again during the recall that she was unfit for this job. Now I see from these comments her supporters are seeing the light. She only won because she had that dark money behind her. They knew she knew nothing and that’s how they wanted it. Someone who couldn’t and wouldn’t change anything for schools. She was their pawn.
    I’ll never understand how she could not participate in debates or attend public events until the very last minute and still had support. Arizona is the laughing stock of the country as far as our state supporting education.

  4. Diane Douglas had NO qualification at all to lead the Department of Education, but yet people voted for her because she yelled loudly!!
    The gentleman she ran against was OVERLY qualified to lead the Department of Education. Next time vote for the qualified person and not the party. Think and not follow like a farm animal being led to slaughter!!

  5. Don’t you all wish you signed the Recall Diane Douglas petition back in the day? Hindsight is 20/20. Hopefully, this will teach you to vote for the person, not the party.

  6. I would have anticipated my caving-in or morphing before Diane Douglas. I gave so much of my time, energy and resources toward something I truly thought was honorable and beneficial to Arizona families. While I still stand strong with my knowledge against indoctrination, horrid curriculum and teaching methods for American and Arizona’s students, I no longer believe Diane Douglas can or will strive for our good. I have been stunned, often speechless, and think MY Reputation has been ruined.

  7. So many parents have removed their children from the “Child abusive Common Core” They are now homeschooling with Better Curriculum. A friend of mine in California was working correcting CC test. She said it was a way to lower self esteem and called it “CHILD ABUSE”.

  8. Diane Douglas is a liar and a cheat. She needs to be thrown out in the next election and NEVER allowed to run for any other office again.

  9. How deeply disappointing it is that AZ is hailed as the country’s parental choice leader, but it also now has the dubious distinction of having re-branded Common Core TWICE. Parents and voters won’t forget this betrayal by those we entrusted with public office.

  10. I was there at the Capitol when Douglas promised to stop common core. Rebranding is not removing.

  11. Superintendent Douglas has become another mendacious bureaucrat. The financial expenditures which are included in this commentary are astounding!

    Let’s replace her in the next election.

  12. This is disappointing to see what Diane Douglas has done with the educational funds in Arizona. We all worked so hard to get her into that position. I want to know how it happens. We were convinced that she was strongly conservative and would help to get rid of common core. I now live in Colorado. Arizona can lead the way of getting rid of common core for the rest of the nation if they can elect a strong opponent of common core.

  13. She needs more money to teach “new” standards that are the same as the old ones? She needs to get out and take common core with her. I cannot wait to see what Frank Riggs will do if he is elected!

  14. Douglas never understood what getting rid of Common Core would entail. There are only two testing companies with true, state-wide capability, and both have aligned with the Core. Ditto the (also limited number of) national textbook printers.
    Getting rid of it is absolutely possible, but requires far more thought, planning (for example, the likely need to return to paper tests), and commitment than she has displayed in her time in office.

    Also the ability to play well with others.

    To get rid of Common Core, support Tracy Livingston ( for Superintendent.

    Because it’s time for a teacher to lead!

  15. When I witnessed Diane Douglas stand before me at the 2017 Maricopa County Republican meeting and falsely claim that Arizona is now rid of Common Core, I knew right then I could never trust her again. She stood right there before us all and lied. Therefore, when she begs for more tax dollars, I cannot trust how she will use that money.

  16. I Cant believe that those of us with the Tea Party in Arizona worked Day and night to get Diane Douglas Elected so we didn’t get another Hupenthal elected but all we got was a Common core re-brand from her And the icecream boy ducey and absolutely zero help to make schools better in Arizona.We wont be making THAT mistake again by voting for douglas Again.

  17. I don’t understand what happened. She completely went against her platform after she was elected. Very disappointing. Now, as parents, we are back to fending for ourselves in defending our children against Common Core.

  18. Interesting… they need more money to implement new standards that are identical to the old ones. Does that make sense to anyone?

  19. I am very disappointed in Superintendent Douglas. I fought for her election, I defended her to people that called her “unqualified,” thinking that she would listen to parents and not the Common Core lobbyists. I guess I was wrong. She’s just another politician with her own needs in mind, not the taxpayers, and certainly not the children.

  20. Diane Douglas has turned out to be, much to all of our chagrin, a disappointment. And that’s putting it lightly. She had one job: push back the Feds and re-establish local control. Instead, when given the chance to make meaningful change, she reversed course and cemented in place yet another version (same as the last two versions) of the CCSS.

    With that said, her embrace of Common Core is only the tip of the iceberg. Rather than protect student privacy, she continues to lead her department’s release of student PII without parental consent. She could have pushed for legislation, or simply created ADE policy that would have placed restrictions on the release of PII to protect what FERPA no longer does. Yet, she didn’t. The Federal Govt required the development and construction of the State Longitudinal Data System as part of the adoption of national standards and pursuant to receipt of Race to the Top grant money. The SLDS has cost the state millions upon millions of dollars to build a system that will feed student data directly to the Department of Education and various other federal agencies. Douglas has never spoken out about this and is now actively campaigning for more state funding to accommodate federal mandates.

    There seems to be no end to Douglas’ love affair with Common Core and its many intrusive tentacles, and she certainly milked the budget dry spending in excess of $3 million in travel expenses selling snake oil to parents all across Arizona. Would if we could recover some of that money and put it to good use before we run her out of office. Frank Riggs for SPI!

  21. I’m thankful my oldest is only in kindergarten so I can have hope Diane Douglas will be out office, since we know she likes to lie to us.

  22. Diane campaigned on 1 promise that she failed to accomplish and instead cemented common core standards into education policy in AZ. Pitiful legacy. Education is not a set of standards, it is the development of thinking and becoming a person, not a test score. Ditch the travel budget and give it to teacher training instead of begging the legislators for more of our tax money if the standards are so important.

  23. Common Core is alive and well in AZ, feeding off our innocent children, stealing away opportunities for learning by getting them ready for testing and testing and surveying them to death. Let us have some real curriculum developed by professional educators who know what real education looks like. No more rubber stamping curriculum because it has common core on it. The home work my kids come home with has grammatical errors all over it. Shouldn’t they have good examples of writing? So disappointed in Diana for not standing up for parents. In the town hall meetings she seemed to be on our side. All of the knowing looks and head nods were for not. Politics are terrible and I guess we just hitched our wagon to the wrong horse.
    Read the articles that Anita is talking about. There are people in AZ who are spending hours of their lives combing through the actual facts of the case. See the article detailing how the old curriculum is virtually indistinguishable from the old.

  24. Is there a drug these politicians take after taking their oath that turns them into the same-o same-o? This cycle is ridiculous, predictable and exhausting. No one politician can solve this completely, but don’t lie to us. Don’t tell us these are Arizona standards created by Arizona parents and teachers when you KNOW the vote from that committee never was allowed to take place! It’s time for a change. We’ll have to be relentless, but we already know how to do that.

  25. This just makes me sick! This is why my kids are being asked to bring in paper, pencils, and kleenex all the time! When I was a kid (here in AZ), our parents were NEVER asked to bring anything in. How could you spend that much on lodging and legal fees alone!?!?

  26. If Diane Douglas, or anyone just as incompetent, wins the next Supt. of Public Instruction election, I blame the willfully ignorant electorate and Arizona Legislature. Good grief. How many articles have been published PROVING without a shadow of a doubt that the Common Core Standards have NOT been removed and replaced? Why does anyone believe this woman?

    Did you notice that Ms. Douglas’s department (ADE) has spent nearly $5 million in LEGAL and TRAVEL-RELATED EXPENSES since 7/2014??? Now she’s begging for $1.1 million for more bureaucrats, who apparently know how to spend, not conserve, taxpayer dollars?

    Every person who has commented about this article knows the Truth about Diane Douglas’s false narrative. Once Common Core was adopted by Arizona, every bureaucrat fell in line. Parents were ignored, they still are, and they always will be until enough of them take control of their children’s education.

    Literally, the only person I know who is 100% qualified to replace Diane Douglas is Frank Riggs. He is clear, competent, has vast experience in K-12 education, and is refreshingly practical in his down to earth approach to educating children.

    • Dittos. Frank Riggs would be an excellent choice for the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

      There was no reason why Common Core had to be re-branded for the third time in our state. There was also no reason to be the first state in the nation to submit an ESSA plan to the federal government when we had a major change in administrative objectives. The new ESSA plan only further binds us to the Common Core clutches of testing and data mining. Even Betsy DeVos has said that the federal government will loosen the grips of ESSA on states. However, Diane Douglas had to make her claim to fame to be the very first state in the nation to promise how Arizona will implement the Obama administration’s ESSA plan.

      We need true Arizona state leadership who will promote state sovereignty in education. We need a leader that will take time to make thoughtful, wise decisions. We need someone who will be honest and frugal with tax payer dollars and who will fight for proper teacher pay and classroom dollar allocation. Not this.

  27. I had so much hope when I voted for her. Mrs. Douglas didn’t seem to be the normal politician, but I guess she played the game well. I am beyond disappointed.

  28. Before Diane Douglas ran for office, her predecessor John Huppenthal told parents Common Core was just a curriculum problem and we should ask our school boards to pick better textbooks. Parents tried this approach only to be ignored. Diane Douglas said she was against Common Core, but it seems she was only against those standards because they came with Federal strings. While it is true, Diane Douglas couldn’t get rid of Common Core by herself, she also voted to keep the 2016 Common Core Lite version of nearly identical standards. The only State Board of Ed member to vote against the new 2016 standards was Jared Taylor. Diane Douglas voted for to accept the few additions and minor verbiage changes in the 2016 standards.

    Diane Douglas now is using John Huppenthal’s line of go talk to your school boards for better books. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now.

    It begs the question, if Diane Douglas thought school boards were the way to end Common Core in AZ, why did she run on that platform instead of running for a school board and making a meaningful change in at least one AZ school district?

    Parents know school districts can’t thumb their nose at the State Board of Ed and Dept of Ed and pick their own standards. So 7 years later, our kids wait while those in power create false narratives like AZ has its own standards not ruled by Common Core.

    “Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”- Friedrich Nietzche

  29. First & foremost: Common Core is NOT gone from our state!!!

    As long as our statutes invoke “college and career ready” & “school readiness,” the Common Core Agenda still ravages the lives of Arizona’s children!

    I supported and encouraged others to vote for Diane Douglas because I believed that she understood the progressive/socialist/collectivist & technocratic foundation, with its full ramifications, of the Common Core Agenda.

    Mesa Keep the Republic Team, Mommy Lobby AZ, Arizonans Against Common Core, Opt Out AZ, East Valley TEA Party, Red Mt. Tea Party Patriots & other groups & individuals have all worked hard to get rid of Common Core; We’ve written numerous commentary & op-eds, proposed legislation & appeared before the state board & legislative & board committees in behalf of Arizona’s children & our future.
    We have all worked faithfully to protect our children, our constitutions & our God-given RIGHTS!

    Supt. Douglas has proven many times over that we were wrong to believe her & to give her the reins to guide our publc school system.

    In her tenure, our office of state superintendent of public INSTRUCTION (NOT “EDUCATION!) has suffered from executive, legislative & judicial usurpations that must be nullified ASAP, if we are going to save & protect our children by eradicating the EVIL that is the Common Core Agenda!

    It is NOT just about “standards!” “Instructing” children to so-called “standards” is nothing more, nor less, than brainwashing them of the lessons & values instilled by their parents, for the sole purpose of indoctrinating them to become human robots trained to work for CRONY capitalists & the state!

    I apologize for my past support of Supt. Douglas and any & all “public servants” who are colluding to keep the Common Core Evil in our children’s lives!!!

    At this time, I see no one running, or possibly running to replace her who would actually spearhead and effect the real change Arizona’s children need to eradicate the Common Core Evil from their lives. . . .

    I do know I have withdrawn my support from Diane Douglas!

    I pray we will all find a True Champion of AZ’s Kids to support in 2018!!!

    LIBERTY begins in our OWN BACKYARD!!!

  30. Diane Douglas promised to get RID of Common Core. Granted, Gov. Ducey stabbed her in the back from the first day after he too promised to rid of us Common Core. However, SHE caved in and is now promoting Common Core. VERY disappointed!

  31. I too am disappointed in Douglas. Mommy Lobby and others have done an excellent job of sticking to principled and not teams, as they worked hard to get Douglas elected but aren’t afraid to call her out when she betrays Arizonans. The third rebranding of Common Core was expected as is the request for funding. We have to wake up our neighbors and friends and demand that parents assert their rights in education. Let’s unarm the AZ Dept of Ed. Ideas?

  32. More politicians completely unresponsive to those who put them in office. This is beginning to look like a charade, folks. Either drop the pretense of the US being a republic or brush up on your acting skills.

  33. What? Why on earth would Diane Douglas need to train teachers on the “new” standards when they are just another Common Core rebrand? Didn’t teachers already receive sufficient training in Common Core? I know that my district schools have recently stated that they will not have to do any new training since the “new” standards are still Common Core. Has she lost her mind?

  34. Didn’t our state already allocate over 50% of the total budget toward education? Yet, very little of that money has been making it into the classroom. It is obvious that quite a bit of these funds are getting tied up in the Arizona Department of Education and district administrative offices. Our taxes and education bond debts keep going up while classroom funding and teacher pay remains low. I say enough is enough!

  35. What has Douglas done to rally for money in the classrooms or increasing teacher pay? Lots of lip service but zero influence. Here’s an idea, rather than pay hotels and travel expenses to God knows where, how about taking those dollars and spending them on kids and teachers. The blood sucking lawyers have gotten a big chunk of cash. Why isn’t anyone talking about this?

  36. The vast majority of schools seek experts in the field to come train teachers not ADE (except if there is another mandate). In regards to the standards, why should AZ reinvent the wheel? There are plenty of time tested and proven standards that work extremely well even at an international level. AZ could literally cut and paste (just like they did with the “new” 2016 standards). However, there are questions about the efficacy of a one-size fits all standards based education. Could AZ utilize a menu of standards (or scope and sequence) and allow local districts and parents to choose what works best for their student population? Local control! That is a novel idea!

  37. The only worse elected official in AZ is Gov Ducey, but only because he has more power than Douglas. For ignoring and breaking the law, Pima County Administrator Huckleberry may be worse from the standpoint of screwing taxpayers but then he wasn’t elected (now that is weird!)

  38. As the Chairman of the Standards Development Committee, I am dismayed and appalled with the whole process. I feel betrayed and am in utter disgust with the adoption and rebrand process. The Committee voted in December to not accept these standards until the public was able to get a better look at them. However, with Douglas’ forceful politics, she asked for a vote from the State’s Board of Education to vote against the will of our committee. We have a choice in two years to get someone in this office that will do what he/she says. Douglas is a typical politician. She only made promises to get elected, and then turned the blind eye and deaf ear to us once she was in. We need to do to her what we did to Huppenthal… Oust her at the primaries. Lets get someone who is really honest… Frank Riggs!

    • I was sitting in that very room when Diane Douglas pushed for the Common Core rebrand. I was completely floored! What happened? So many of us parents worked incredibly hard to get her elected so that we could remove the national grip on our children’s classrooms. And during this past year, Diane Douglas was the very one to give Achieve Inc. (the creators of Common Core) a primary seat at the standards review table. Such a disappointment. Hope Frank Riggs will run against her soon!

      • Diane Douglas ran her campaign riding a one trick pony. She obviously stole the pony and had no idea about how to take care of it so it could grow into a thoroughbred champion.

  39. One vote I wished I could recined and recall. such a spineless empty skirt waffling forgetter of campaign promises.

    She might as well move into the grijalva camp.

    • I agree completely, there are some I’m disappointed in but Diane Douglas is a total failure and i wish I could have a redo. She has no clue what she is doing and has surrounded herself with incompetent bureaucrats.

      • The hope I had for Ms. Douglas has been dashed to pieces; she is a huge disappointment and must be gotten rid of in the next election cycle. If this state had old fashioned investigative reporters, the story of Douglas’ sell-out would be a prize-winner.

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