Has Superintendent Diane Douglas Drunk the Common Core Kool-Aid?

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Look out Arizona!  We are headed for a rebrand of Common Core!  On Wednesday, December 14th at 9 a.m. the Arizona Standards Development Committee will be meeting to vote on Arizona’s new K-12 Academic Standards.  However, parents and educators who do not like Common Core see that there are very little differences between the previously adopted Common Core Standards and these purported “new K-12 Academic Standards”.  An appointed member of the Arizona State Standards Development Committee recently made the analogy, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.  It is nice that cursive was added and that inappropriate appendix reading material was taken out, but the rest is pretty much a copy and paste of Common Core.”  And on the James T. Harris show, the chairman of this committee, Scott Leska, voiced major concerns over the entire process in a September 2016 interview.  Leska said, “What I really am concerned about is that Arizona will be the first state to re-brand this twice and adopt it a third time.  We’ve re-branded Common Core two times and adopted it all three times. No other state has done that and we will be the first. We will be the last laughing stock as they say. It is unacceptable.”

And what is the state Superintendent of Public Instruction doing about this?  Well, apparently she is now applauding the new standards and saying that they are quite the improvement.  However, standards development experts like Dr. Sandra Stosky, Dr. James Migram, and Ze’ev Wurman disagree.  And even more importantly, so do many parents and teachers across the state of Arizona.

Gina Ray of the Mommy Lobby AZ has stated, “I am beyond disappointed Superintendent Douglas is applauding the new ‘K-12 Arizona Academic Standards’ when it is essentially a rebrand of the same old Common Core Standards.  Arizona parents have appealed to her multiple times to bring in an independent child psychologist to review the standards for developmentally appropriateness.  We have even presented two qualified psychologists who were willing to do this for our state for very little compensation.  However, an independent psychologist was never brought in.  This is the most crucial part of the whole process.  We do not want our children to be submitted to standards that cause stress, anxiety, and an aversion to learning.  The standards need to be age appropriate.”

Superintendent Douglas has also stated that she would like to push the “new” standards through quickly so that the Arizona Social Studies and Science Standards review can commence.  But, as many well-seasoned educators know, excellent standards take time to develop.  The former world class Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards that Dr. Sandra Stotsky helped develop took approximately 5 years and it was well worth the wait.  The standards vastly improved Massachusetts students’ NAEP scores, even for students in low income neighborhoods.  Dr. Stotsky personally gave her input on Arizona’s standards development process.  But, her comments must have been ignored by Superintendent Douglas and the Standards Development Committees and work groups –otherwise, we would not be headed for a rebrand.

In 2014, many parents across Arizona worked tirelessly to get Diane Douglas elected on her campaign promise to work hard to end Common Core.  One can acknowledge that the position of the State School Superintendent is not an easy office to hold  -and that the Arizona Department of Education is layered with employees who have drunk the Common Core Kool-Aid and are married to it.  Also anyone can see that the State Board of Education members are also largely Common Core proponents –which also makes her job difficult.  However, Superintendent Douglas’ recent actions of not inviting child psychologists in a timely manner to review the standards, applauding the rebrand, and then quickly pushing them through suggests to parents that she is no longer fighting against Common Core.  Parents are beginning to wonder she has been drinking from the same Common Core Kool-Aid fountain as the rest of the Department’s employees and the State Board of Education.  Parents are wondering if they no longer have the same Diane Douglas that they elected to the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Arizona Standards Review Committee will be meeting on Wednesday, December 14th at 9 a.m. to vote on the Common Core rebrand (a.k.a “Arizona’s K-12 Academic Standards”).  The meeting will be held at the Arizona Department of Education building located at 1535 W. Jefferson St. in Phoenix.  Parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend.

To see a larger map of where the meeting will be held, click on the map below:

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