In Thursday's Senate Educational Committee hearings a number of people got up to speak in favor of Common Core and against the four bills aimed at cancelling this Federal debacle and removing it from our schools. Strangely our current Superintendent of Public Instruction who is so adamant about pushing this onto our local schools and our children was nowhere to be found to defend his position. He instead sent Stacy to the podium to 'spin' the virtues of Common Core all the time wearing a Lobbyist's pin promoting "Arizona Standards" which, as a State Employee I believe she is prohibited from doing. The 'spin' included statements later published in the newspapers that with Common Core we have seen an "improvement" in our student's performance. Since no evaluations have been made and the testing arm of Common Core known as PARCC is yet to be developed, such a statement is not only misleading, it is a bold faced lie! A lie perpetrated by representatives of Mr. Huppenthal's staff and the unelected State Board of Education.
Additionally a stream of lobbyists claiming to represent, among other things, The Charters Schools, ALL businesses in our State, and a host of other organizations which stand to gain financially from the continuation of forcing this Federal system on our children. Chief among these was our own State Board of Education staff who stand to lose their current unlimited control over our schools, testing and...yes...curriculum. Make no mistake, with Common Core local control of curriculum is nothing but an illusion.
On the other side of the argument which receives little coverage by the MSM were concerned parents, teachers, and two ladies that I have the deepest respect for: Diane Douglas who is running to replace Mr. Huppenthal and my colleague in the fight against Common Core, Jennifer Reynolds. Rather than 'spin' the facts, they presented the true facts surrounding the development and implementation of this system which those with their hands in the pie, so to speak, would not like you all to know. For the true picture on Common Core (or as Mr. Huppenthal would like to you to believe "Arizona College and Career Ready Standards") go to www.dianedouglas.com
and Arizonansagainstcommoncore.com. It's all in there.
Now as to the comments by the individual claiming to represent "all" Charter Schools in Arizona, here is a copy of Mr. Frank Riggs' statement in rebuttal:
Arizona Businessman, Former Congressman And Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Frank Riggs, a national leader of school choice and education reform over the past two decades, applauded the State Senate Education Committee for taking action on legislation to rescind Arizona’s participation in the national education standards and testing regime known as Common Core and the PARCC Assessment. “It was a mistake to force Common Core on Arizona schools,” said Riggs. “It infringes on state and local control of public education and the cost to implement and comply with Common Core would only compound our structural state budget deficit, at a time when K-12 education funding is $750 million less than 2008.”
Riggs pointed out that Arizona has been the national leader in offering parental school choice, including charter and home schooling options for families. “I believe in local school autonomy and the fundamental right of parents to choose the best education for their children. Common Core could interfere with local curriculum decisions that are best made at the school site-level and the freedom of school choice that is well established, and cherished by many parents, in Arizona,” Riggs said.
Riggs supports expanding Empowerment Scholarship Accounts which put 90% of a child’s per-pupil funding directly into the hands of parents, who know best of their child’s unique education needs. Riggs also favors eliminating school district monopolies by making every school a “choice school” based on the charter school model, with a governing board and principal responsible for the academic and financial performance, funding, personnel and curriculum.
Riggs pointed out that there are a number of nationally norm-referenced tests for the purpose of comparing Arizona students to their peers in other states, as well as the federally funded NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) aka “The Nation’s Report Card.” The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act requires states that receive Title 1 funding for “disadvantaged” (low-income) students, including Arizona, to test a sampling of students in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8 every two years. The test results can then be used to compare Arizona students with students in other states and with the nation.
Riggs, a founding board member and CEO of the Charter Schools Development Corporation and President of Arizona Connections Academy, an on-line charter school that provides accredited, tuition-free curriculum to home schooling families, called on his challengers to join him in repudiating Common Core and urged swift passage of the legislation withdrawing Arizona from Common Core. “I’m steadfastly opposed to all attempts by the Obama Administration and the federal government to contravene the 10th Amendment of the Constitution and infringe on Arizona’s state sovereignty, whether it be education, health, privacy or personal liberty,” he said
Mr. Riggs' points highlight the very reason that Diane Douglas is seeking to replace John Huppenthal and why I am her ardent supporter. I ask you to join me in this quest to take back local control of our schools and our children's education. Visit Diane's website and sign her petition, get your family and friends to also do so and volunteer to help us get this done.\
Finally my hat is off to those Senators who have stepped up to protect Arizona's children from the clutches of the Federal Government, Senators, Yee, Melvin, Ward, Burges, Crandell, Griffin and Farnsworth. Education is not a Republican or Democrat thing...it is an American Thing.