State Senate Moves to Let Schools Opt Out of Common Core

Mar 13, 2014

Unable to kill outright the Common Core standards they dislike, state senators now are moving to let schools opt out. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Senate President Andy Biggs

On a voice vote Wednesday, the Senate approved two different measures. While the wording and methodology are different, both allow local school boards and charter-school operators to decide not to implement the standards. The moves come a week after the Senate refused to absolutely forbid Arizona from implementing the Common Core standards adopted by the National Governors Association. But, suspicion of the standards as some sort of nationally imposed mandate remains. Senate President Andy Biggs:

“The federal education department is actually urging that the GED, the SAT and the ACT get in line with the Common Core standards. But what is that? That is a further nationalization of the education system,” Biggs said.

Sen. David Farnsworth said he’s not a big fan of standards, but understands some may think they’re necessary.

“I think if we are going to have standards they ought to be home-grown Arizona standards,” Farnsworth said.

Both measures face an uncertain future. Most major business organizations support Common Core as a method of ensuring that students graduate from high schools with the skills they need either to get a job or go on for higher education. And, Gov. Jan Brewer, who has been supportive of the standards, has suggested she would veto any attempt to dilute them.