By Julie Wiessner
There have been questions raised concerning the Common Core Standards that many schools across Arizona have begun implementing. Some groups, such as Stop Common Core in Arizona and Arizonans Against Common Core, wonder if Arizona educators created these standards or if Achieve, an independent, non-profit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C., did so.
In describing the Common Core standards for education, Navajo County School Superintendent Linda Morrow said, “They are a set of standards developed by the National Governors Association for Best Practices and the Chief State School Officers.” These standards have already been implemented in most schools in Navajo County.
Morrow explained, “Basically, the goal for them was to develop a set of common standards to provide guidance for any student. For example, in the Four Corners region, if a student moved to a different state, one state could teach fractions in the fourth grade, another state might teach it in the fifth grade and yet another might teach fractions in the third grade. Depending on how often a student might be moved by their parents to follow jobs, the student could miss being taught fractions completely. This, in my opinion, helps guide states into what they should be teaching and provides a platform for teachers to have a common language,” said Morrow.
“The math standards that were created in 1989 by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics are sort of the basis used for the Common Core Math Standards.
“This is not a national curriculum and local control remains. I have heard of a push going on to have Arizona not have Common Core Standards, which have already been adopted with open meetings held concerning them in 2010. I personally don’t understand in 2013 why there is a big push to do away with them when they have been around for a few years,” said Morrow.
When asked what costs were involved with implementing Common Core, Morrow replied, “I don’t know, everything costs money. Anytime any standard changes it’s going to cost money.”
District III Navajo County Supervisor Sylvia Allen said of Common Core, “These standards started with 2009 stimulus money that went to the governor and the legislature did not see it. It was never discussed, debated or voted on through anybody’s elected officials. Some of the money was spent to start Common Core. The states started agreeing with what the federal government wanted to implement because they took federal money. The federal government is behind it, so are two trade associations and a lot of corporations.
“The money people who created it didn’t want it to go through normal channels,” Allen continued, noting that for a long time there has been talk about nationalizing education in case someone moved.
“There are 67 pages of things listed for which information gathering is to be done. Everything shown is to help monitor children; they are building a profile on your children. Right now, Obama, through executive order, says all data collecting laws are on hold for the implementation of Common Core,” noted Allen.
She went on to state that standards mean nothing really; the actual danger is in teaching to the test, giving up local control, glorifying United Nations declarations, glorifying the negatives of America and glorifying communism. “This will dumb our kids down,” said the county supervisor.
An attempt aimed at preventing the state from participating in the Common Core and also giving lawmakers the responsibility of giving the final approval on educational standards was presented last week in an amendment by Senator Rick Murphy. The amendment to House Bill 2458 was defeated 11-17.
For more information on Morrow’s point of view, please visit www.corestandards.org. For more information on Allen’s point of view, please visit www.theblaze.com. Look for an 18-page document called Response to The National Review Online. Also search the same website for anything associated with the phrase Common Core.
By Julie Wiessner