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Opponents of Common Core speak out on Arizona’s SB 1035

Two education experts who are on both sides of Arizona’s Common Core debate are both saying that they like the idea behind a bill that’s now being considered in the Arizona Senate.

Senate Bill 1035, which is sponsored by Senate Education Chairwoman Kelli Ward, would establish a committee of parents, teachers and others that would evaluate the standards for various subjects in the classroom then would make a report to the state board of education.

Expect More Arizona President and CEO Pearl Chang Esau likes the concept.

“A process to collect that feedback in constructive ways and improve the standards going forward, and make sure that they are right for Arizona and Arizona’s kids is a positive thing,” Esau said. “We are absolutely open to the idea of continuous improvement. There’s always progress that we can make. I do think that teachers probably have some good feedback at this point and parents as well.”

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas issued a press release last week in which she claimed that the bill is a way for the state to slowly pull away from Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards, otherwise known as Common Core, which she opposes.

“As we move away from Common Core,” wrote Douglas, “it is important to do so in a deliberate fashion so that we stop the pattern of creating new standards only to abolish them every few years. This endless cycle leaves schools in a constant state of upheaval and causes undue stress for students and teachers.”

But Esau said that there should be no “moving away” from Common Core. She said that the College and Career Ready Standards are beneficial and should stay in Arizona schools.

“Some schools have been implementing the standards for up to four years now. As a result, we’ve seen some really great gains in math and reading,” Esau said. “In fact, we were the fourth ranked state in the country this year on our improvements on reading gains. What we absolutely cannot do is throw all of the standards out and start all over again. That would be very detrimental.”