Education

Arizona School Board Strikes At The Heart Of Common Core

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Blake Neff Reporter
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Arizona’s state school board took a symbolic but significant step towards ending Common Core by voting 6-2 Monday to cut ties with the standards.

Five years ago, Arizona’s school board voted to formally recognize Common Core as the state’s standards in math and English. Now, with Monday’s vote, the board formally repealed that decision, thereby paving the way for the state to create new standards.

The reversal doesn’t mean Arizona will see any immediate changes in its schools, though. The standards will remain in place until the board can complete an already-begun review and recommend specific changes, which may in fact amount to very little.

Eliminating Common Core has been the number one goal of Arizona state superintendent Diane Douglas, who was narrowly elected last year and has been in a running power struggle with the state board ever since. Despite the mostly symbolic nature of the vote, Douglas praised it as “a great victory for the people of Arizona,” and argued that it points the way towards a total removal of the Core. School board president George Miller, on the other hand, voted against the measure and described it as both “political” in nature and “reckless.” (RELATED: The Latest Common Core Civil War Is In Arizona)

Expect More Arizona, an education reform organization that supports Common Core, was also quick to describe the board’s vote as symbolic in nature.

“Educators and students have been working hard over the last five years to adapt to the new, more rigorous standards,” the group said. “What teachers are teaching and students are learning does not change as a result of the SBE’s vote.”

Besides the fight over Common Core, Douglas has been locked in a legal struggle with the board over her attempts to fire pro-Common Core employees and her refusal to give them remote access to some school data. Douglas was hit with a lawsuit at the beginning of the month, which has not yet been resolved.

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