Monday, April 01, 2013

Extremists at Capitol threaten Common Core funding, jeopardize future of the state

Extremists at Capitol threaten Common Core funding, jeopardize future of the state

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Extremists at the Capitol are playing politics with Arizona’s long-term economic stability by threatening funding for Common Core education reform.

“Recently we have seen disturbing attacks on the Common Core education reform effort coming from some of the most extreme factions in the Legislature,” Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), said. “House Democrats are working to stop those attacks and to protect funding for Common Core reforms. We have to make sure that our schools have the resources needed to prepare our kids for an increasingly global economy. The state is now demanding more accountability from our schools. If we don’t adequately fund these reforms, then we are setting up the schools, and our kids, for failure.”

Common Core education standards are designed to provide students, teachers and parents with a clear understanding of what students should be learning. These standards will lead to a curriculum that prepares students for college and the workforce, while allowing decisions about how and what should be taught to be made at the local level.

Meyer is a past member of the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board. He said many schools have already started implementing Common Core standards as a result of the Arizona State Board of Education’s past action.

“Schools across the state are already invested in this, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” Meyer said. “If we don’t fund Common Core reform, then we are pulling the rug out from under all schools and seriously jeopardizing the future of our state.”

House Democrats and the governor have proposed budgets that would provide about $61.5 million for the implementation of Common Core reforms in schools next year. House Democrats propose giving an additional $82 million to schools to cover the cost of inflation.

“The business community and the schools are on the same page when it comes to this issue,” Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix (District 19), said. “We have to fund Common Core reforms. This shouldn’t be about partisanship. House Democrats and the governor understand that this is a priority. In the past, Republicans supported efforts to increase accountability in schools and now they’ve reversed course, claiming that Common Core reforms are part of some vast conspiracy. It is ridiculous. Kids and teachers are stuck in the middle of their ideological backpedalling. The extremists who are opposing Common Core reforms are sentencing the state to failure in order to support an ideology. It isn’t right. ”
Cardenas cautioned that if Common Core reforms are not funded, the detrimental effects will be long lasting.

“If we don’t follow through with our commitment to Common Core reforms and if we don’t provide the schools with enough funding to implement these reforms, then we are jeopardizing the economic well-being of our state,” Cardenas said. “Businesses will not want to relocate here because our workforce will not be prepared. People won’t want to put their kids in Arizona schools. That is an economic death sentence.”

Rep. Catherine Miranda, D-Phoenix (District 27), introduced HB 2563, a bill that would have required the education colleges at Arizona’s three state universities to include instruction on Common Core standards and implementation. She said her bill failed because some Republicans refuse to accept that the state has adopted Common Core standards.

“The purpose of my bill was to provide aspiring teachers the training needed to implement Common Core standards in their classrooms,” Miranda said. “Unfortunately, Common Core has become a political football for Tea Party ideologues at the Capitol. They will go to any extreme to support their agenda, even at the expense of reforms that will move Arizona forward.”

She added that House Democrats will continue to champion efforts to fund education and Common Core.

“Republicans in the Legislature seem more interested in supporting bills that will put Arizona in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. House Democrats are focused on what matters most to the people of Arizona. We remain committed to improving education in our state,” Miranda said. “The link between a strong education system and a strong economy is obvious. Funding for our schools and for Common Core is a top priority.”

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