On September 28, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education awarded two national testing consortiums over $330 million to develop tests based on the Common Core Standards. These consortias were PARCC and SMARTERBalanced. Bill Gates also contributed millions of dollars to these two so-called “non-profits”. After our state signed onto the Common Core Standards in June of 2010, State School Superintendent, John Huppenthal and the Board chose the PARCC test for AZ. The PARCC test was scheduled to be taken in the spring of 2014. However, after it was soon discovered that John Huppenthal had a conflict of interest with being a member of the PARCC board. Arizonans cried foul! Concerned citizens demanded to exit out of the PARCC test. Concerns were also voiced about about the data collection associated with both the PARCC and SMARTERBalanced tests. So, the PARCC test never took place and Arizonans were promised that they would be given a true, state-led test for the next school year.
On November 3, 2014, John Huppenthal announced that the American Institute for Research (AIR) would provide our new Common Core State assessment. However, Huppenthal failed to mention that AIR was also a business partner of SMARTERBalanced. So, what did AIR do to help us create our own state specific AZ test? They chose test questions from the SMARTERBalanced test, and handed it back to our State School Board –which in turned named it “AZMerit” to lead Arizonans to believe that we now had a true state-led test.