Bonneville Phoenix Network
 KTAR News
 Arizona Sports
92.3 FM KTAR
Updated Mar 5, 2014 - 5:27 pm

Arizona Senate votes down ban on Common Core standards

PHOENIX — A few key Republican senators joined with Democrats on Wednesday
to defeat a bill that would have prohibited Arizona from using a set of
educational standards known nationally as Common Core.

The Arizona Senate failed to pass Senate Bill 1310, sponsored by Sen. Al
Melvin, R-Tucson, after giving it initial approval Tuesday.

Senators Adam Driggs of Phoenix and Steve Pierce of Prescott were among the
five Republicans who broke rank with their party and helped Democrats defeat the
bill. The others were John McComish of Ahwatukee, Michele Reagan of Scottsdale
and Bob Worsley of Mesa. The Senate killed the bill with an 18-12 vote.

The measure would have prohibited the state from using a set of new educational
standards accepted by most of the nation, and which Arizona adopted in 2010
without opposition. Melvin and others have said the standards are a poorly
conceived federal effort to usurp states’ rights.

Common Core standards aim to focus learning on comprehension and real life
examples and were designed by a national, bipartisan group of governors and
education leaders to better prepare students for college and the job market.

Gov. Jan Brewer has supported Common Core and renamed the standards the Arizona
College and Career Ready Standards.

At a debate on the bill Tuesday, Melvin said, “many citizens, I think the
majority, have fundamental problems with Common Core and its implementation in
the state. I believe that we, as a state, can do a far better job in this area
than the federal government dictating to us, and that’s the thrust of this

Supporters of Common Core standards said eliminating the program would cost
Arizona millions in federal funding and would make the state less economically
competitive. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Greater Phoenix
Chamber of Commerce opposed the repeal effort.

Opponents of Melvin’s bill also said getting rid of Common Core would have been
a disservice to the many Arizona school districts that have spent millions of
dollars implementing the program since 2010. Additionally, the Arizona
Department of Education receives about $1 billion annually in federal funds for
Common Core implementation. Potentially, all of that funding would have been at
risk if Arizona moved away from the standards, according to the department.

However, education advocates had said it’s hard to track down a specific dollar
cost figure because each school district handles its own implementation.

Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, has said the legislature should not
make decisions based on whether or not schools have already invested in the
program but on what is the best policy for the state. Biggs supported Melvin’s
bill and voted in favor of it.


comments powered by Disqus