PHOENIX — Arizona’s Monday vote to repeal the Common Core standards shouldn’t threaten the state’s federal education funding, a spokesman said.
The federal government requires states that take money under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to meet specific standards. While the U.S. Department of Education views Common Core as benchmark of sorts, it has not made them mandatory to receive funding.
If a state opts out of Common Core, as Arizona did, it has to develop their own federally-approved college and career readiness standards.
“We are looking to build upon the current standards we have, and since the current standards we have in place today have been approved by the federal government as college and career ready, we don’t really see that there is an issue,” Arizona Department of Education spokesman Charles Tack said.
In an email, Tack said Arizona receives about $582 million in education-related funding annually.
According to Michael Cohen, a leader in standards-based reform and education policy, Arizona could lose control over as much as 20 percent of its funding should its standards fail to meet the federal requirements.
Under the No Child Left Behind Act, states that meet federal requirements can apply for a waiver to use 100 percent of funding as it sees fit. If a state fails to meet the requirements, it is required to use 20 percent of the funding to provide supplemental education services — typically out-of-school tutoring programs — to low-income students.
Federal funding would be completely lost if a waiver was not granted and the guidelines on how to use federal funds were not followed.
Tack said he is not concerned Arizona will lost federal funding, as he plans to work with the federal government to ensure the state meets all requirements.