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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.