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State Education Department looking for public input on revised standards

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2015 file photo, public school buses are parked in Springfield, Ill. The lazy days of summer are ending for millions of children as they grab their backpacks, pencils and notebooks and return to the classroom for a new school year. No more staying up late during the week. Farewell to sleeping in. And, hello homework! (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

The Arizona Department of Education is applauding a group of educators for coming up with new academic standards that it says will move the state away from Common Core.

A group of 200 Arizona educators were called on to develop the new standards for the state.

“We really wanted to clarify exactly what expectations were for each grade level,” said Arizona Department of Education Spokesman Charles Tack.

The educators came up with a draft of the “2016 English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards.” They want you to check the draft out and give your input on the State Board of Education’s website through October 3rd.

Tack described what the English standards are designed to do.

“Starting with kindergarten, it’s really making sure that the students have the concepts of understanding their letters and understanding how to write in script and in cursive, so that they’re learning how to write as they’re learning how to read,” he said.

As for math, there’s a need for more clarity when it comes to the difference between Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.

“There were some pieces between Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, where there wasn’t a real clear delineation between those two subjects. We’re really trying to help those teachers by saying ‘Here’s what the Algebra 1 concepts go through, and here’s where you can start with Algebra 2.’ You don’t have as much confusion with those two different subjects.”

Tack said educators are looking forward to the public’s input.

“We’re really excited,” he said. “We had a lot of Arizona input in the revision process, and now we’re looking to get the same amount of input, and the diversity of input, in this comment period.”

The revisions could be in place within the next two school years if all goes as planned.

In addition to taking public comment on the website, the State Board of Education will also hold public hearings on the new draft in 13 Arizona Counties from September 12th through the 21st. You can find the hearing dates, times and locations at their website.

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