Gov. Brewer signs HB2425 into law, and the devil is in the details
On March 28, 2013, Gov. Jan Brewer signed HB2425 into law heralding an end to AIMS testing in Arizona only to be replaced by a yet unseen PARCC test which will be aligned to Common Core, the set of federal standards coming to a school near you from The U.S. Department of Education.
While Gov. Brewer waxed poetic about Common Core and all the promises of ‘rigor’, ‘best classrooms’ and ‘high academic goals’, there was no discussion on just how this bill would ensure such miracles of government. What it did ensure is that AIMS testing will go on this year and next then be replaced by something ‘better’ – we just do not know exactly what.
Here is the sad reality: most people do not know about Common Core. Teachers, parents, students, administration and even state lawmakers are largely in the dark on the matter. Why? Because state executives accepted the Obama administration’s ‘Race to the Top’ funds without question. Part of receiving the Race to the Top funds required the implementation of Common Core which circumvented the proper debate that should have gone through the public and the state legislature. How incredibly sad that decisions about education in this state (and any state implementing Common Core) now rest solely on the shoulders of Superintendent Huppenthal, the governor and now, of course, any amount of intrusion from the federal government.
The entire premise of Common Core should give us all many sleepless nights. Besides the fact the federal government is usurping the state and therefore, the public’s voice, it is also going to track every child from K-12 and beyond electronically. The Arizona Board of Education will now replace AIMS with online assessments that will put more emphasis on ‘critical thinking’ and ‘problem-solving’ skills than through memorization of facts. As an educator, I certainly want to see critical thinking and problem-solving taking place – and to see a child excel in those areas knowing solid facts on which to base their conclusions; however, I am a cynic when it comes to the federal government’s definition of what constitutes as critical thought and problem solving skills. Thus far, the math portion in Utah’s first grade Common Core standards are proving to be convoluted, confusing and burdensome for children and their parents alike (1).
By the way, Gov. Brewer, the state of Utah is on the path to repealing Common Core as are other states.
Another component to consider is the online data-mining of every school child in Arizona and, eventually, across this nation. When textbooks are only available online and under the control of the federal government along with replacing pen and paper with online access for school work, just imagine the goldmine a nameless, faceless bureaucrat in Washington DC, PARCC, Achieve (one of the corporate machines responsible for Common Core) and a host of other prying eyes will be privy to! Your child’s entire value system, stated feelings, scores throughout their school career, desires, health and behavioral issues as well as address, social security number, ethnicity, family info, etc. will be available online. John Huppenthal addressed the Ahwatukee Tea Party on March 20 stating that by the time a child is in the second or third grade, ‘they’ will know if they are on the track for college. How about that?
Isn’t it nice to know that Huppenthal and his team of ‘they’ will be one of the elites who have access to your child’s past and present all in an effort to dictate their future?
The potential for great harm to Arizona’s children has just been unleashed. What Gov. Brewer and Superintendent Huppenthal fail to acknowledge (whether through ignorance or sheer dishonesty on this matter) is that Arizona will not have a say in what the federal government plans to do the education system in this state. For now, math and English are the two subjects most affected by the Common Core standards, but there is no way to avoid the complete takeover and subsequent federalization of America’s education system by the Obama administration – and no one seems to be aware.
I have supported Governor Brewer on many items including voter ID, the border, SB1070 and protecting the unborn, but I cannot – and will not – support her at all on Common Core. Allowing the federal government to circumvent the voices of Arizonans on the education of our students presents a danger to the welfare of children and the future of America.
So Gov. Brewer and Superintendent Huppenthal, you are receiving this notice from an Arizona teacher: When it comes to Common Core, I will NOT comply!