Last month, several Republican State Senators crossed party lines to sway the vote in favor of keeping Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Arizona. Is the fight over?
State Sen. Al Melvin, who is hoping to be the Republican nominee for governor next year, sponsored the failed legislation (SB 1310). He cited testimony against the plan last month at the Senate Education Committee. “Many citizens – I think the majority – have fundamental problems with Common Core and its implementation in the state and believe that we, as a state, can do a far better job in this area than the federal government dictating to us,” he said.
The battle over CCSS in Arizona has been heated and long-standing. It really intensified last year when Gov. Jan Brewer (R) used an executive order to change the name from “Common Core” to “Arizona’s College and Career-Ready Standards” in an attempt to divert attention away from the hot issue. There was no change to the standards.
Arizona isn’t the only state trying to hide its Common Core policies behind a new name; Iowa and Florida have done the same. They’re keeping the standards but renaming them in hopes of gaining public appeal.
Even if the Arizona Senate voted in favor of stopping the implementation of Common Core, it would not have happened. Gov. Brewer warned the legislature that she would veto any bill that diluted the Common Core Standards.
“Gov. Brewer would have serious concerns with any legislation that endorses mediocrity by lowering the expectations for Arizona students,” gubernatorial press aide Andrew Wilder told Capitol Media Services.
She has suggested that she would veto any attempt to dilute them.
If Arizona wants to stop Common Core, they’ll have to wait until they elect a new governor in November.
The next governor will appoint members to the State Board of Education, the group responsible for adopting CCSS. Candidates for Arizona governor Jones, Melvin and Riggs are against Common Core. Smith is the only Republican candidate who supports it.
“Whether it’s called Common Core or un-Common Core or whatever it’s called, I like the fact that states have created these standards for which our students can be judged against a national group of people”, Smith said .
The current Superintendent for Public Education, John Huppenthal supports Common Core. His opponent, Republican Primary opponent Diane Douglas said , “Make no mistake, Common Core is to education what Obamacare is to healthcare”.
With a Republican governor, no lost seats in the legislature and Diane Douglas as the Superintendent–opponents of Common Core would be in a much better position to accomplish their goal. The mid-term elections will have a monumental impact on K-12 education in Arizona.