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Schools want Arizona legislators' help with new standards

PHOENIX -- As the Arizona Legislature gets back to work this week, local schools hope lawmakers will send them money that helps aid teachers as they try meet new, tougher curriculum standards.

Next fall, Arizona schools will be required to use the Common Core standards to teach.

"The Common Core Standards look to standardize curriculum in grade levels and by subject area across the country," said Jim Dean, executive director of employee and community relations for the Dysart Unified School District. "It also comes with assessment opportunities that would measure students across the country on the same type of assessment."

Supporters said the standards will help students prepare for college but retired teacher Daniel Martinez doesn't like the curriculum's one-size-fits-all approach.

"You have to be able to individualize what you're teaching to students, especially those that need some extra help tutoring and so forth," said Martinez. "It's going to be difficult to meet the needs of all students by following one common core principle. You can't do it."

The Common Core standards would include a new online test called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (P.A.R.C.C.). That program would test a student's readiness for college.

Dean said P.A.R.C.C. is expensive, and, as of now, he wonders where the money will come from to pay for it.

"We estimate that for our school district, it would cost us approximately $4 million to be able to purchase not only the equipment for that but the infrastructure as well that would be needed for all of our students to be able to take that assessment," Dean said. "We don't have those funds."

State funding for education has dropped over the past few years and Dean hasn't seen any sign that the state legislature will give schools more money to pay for the standards.

Arizona is one of 48 states to adopt the Common Core standards.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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