Arizona legislature seeking 'common core' standards requirement in schools - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Arizona legislature seeking 'common core' standards requirement in schools

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Posted: Monday, March 4, 2013 5:27 am

The state House voted to require that teacher-education programs be revamped to conform with the new "common core'' standards.

Thursday's 36-21 approval of HB 2563 came over the objections of some who said it was none of the Legislature's business to direct that those at the front of public school classrooms be trained in a specific method of teaching.

Rep. John Allen, R-Scottsdale, said he's sure that colleges and universities preparing Arizona teachers will follow whatever are the preferred standards without legislative intervention. And he warned that if common core ceases to be the preferred method of teaching, then lawmakers will have to come back and alter the law.

But Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, said those writing to lawmakers objecting to the legislation are convinced it's part of Agenda 21. That non-binding United Nations resolution on sustainable growth has been attacked by some groups as part of a U.N. plan for social engineering and communism.

Fann said the key is that Arizona needs to do something different to prepare its students for jobs and college.

Arizona is one of 47 states that have adopted the common core standards which align what students here learn in English and math with what is being taught elsewhere. Some of that involves changing classroom techniques.

But it also means the achievement levels of Arizona students can be directly compared with other states. By contrast, students now are assessed with AIMS -- Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards -- a test which is based solely on goals prepared for Arizona students.

Lack of the ability to make comparisons aside, Fann said a change is necessary.

"AIMS was not working,'' she said. "All it was doing was teaching kids to be rote (learners) and memorize things and not actually learn.''

Fann also said those who fear some liberal agenda need to remember that the concept started at a national level when Republican George W. Bush was president.

The measure now needs Senate approval.

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