Diane Douglas: Arizona’s Queen of Common Core

by Jennifer Reynolds, Creator of Arizonans Against Common Core and member of Mommy Lobby AZ

The second rebrand of Common Core is no more than Lipstick on a Pig.  Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas continues to travel around the state in 2018 on the campaign trail telling crowds that she “Stopped Common Core” as part of her 2014 campaign promise. This is far from the truth! Common Core was Rebranded a second time on December 19, 2016 when the 2016 Arizona English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Standards were adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) with an 8-1 vote.  See Arizona State Board Of Education Approves Rebrand Of Common Core Standards and State Board Of Education Ignores Governor, Parents And Own Policy

SBE member Jared Taylor was the only vote opposing the adoption of these standards and he stated, “The bottom line is that I am very disappointed that we kicked the parents to the curb and ignored the will of the voters when they elected Diane Douglas. Yet she led the way today; we just renewed Common Core.”

Comments from Mommy Lobby,  Arizonans Against Common Core, Opt Out AZ
IGNORED by Supt Douglas, ADE, SBE Exec Director, Gov. Ducey’s Educ. Policy Director

Mommy Lobby AZ (ML), Arizonans Against Common Core (AACC), and Opt Out AZ reviewed the 1st and 2nd drafts of the 2016 Arizona ELA and Mathematics standards and submitted our comments directly to Superintendent Diane Douglas, as well as to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) Standards Staff, Carol Lippert and Suzi Mast; the former State Board of Education (SBE) Executive Director,  Karol Schmidt; and Governor Ducey’s Education Policy Director,  Dawn Wallace numerous times in 2016.

Comments Compiled by Parents and Teachers
IGNORED by Arizona Legislators, SLAPPED DOWN by Supt. Douglas

Parents and teachers had compiled all of our English/Language Arts and Mathematics public comments on these standards calling out where they were: 1) developmentally inappropriate by grade level; 2) where standards were missing; and 3) which standards were damaging to children due to the pedagogy that requires prescriptive "how to’s” for teachers to use in the classroom. I sent  an email to legislators calling out the “2nd Rebrand of Common Core- Lipstick on the Common Core Pig” in our state on December 6, 2016.  Subsequently, Superintendent Douglas wrote a response to legislators on December 13, 2016 denying the Rebrand of Common Core.

Three national standards experts asked to weigh in on the 2016 ELA and Math Standards

Three national standards experts were asked by the ADE and SBE to review the 2016 ELA and Mathematics Standards.  They included Dr. Sandra Stotsky (ELA) and Dr. James Milgram and Ze’ev Wurman (Mathematics).  They stated the 2016 Standards were “worse than the original” 2013 Arizona College and Career Ready Standards.  These were the first Rebrand of Common Core Standards, so renamed by former Superintendent John Huppenthal.  See Huppenthal: Arizona should rename Common Core

I included their quotes on the 1st draft of the 2016 ELA and Mathematics standards, which I emailed to leaders on the Arizona House Education and Senate Education Committees on December 6, 2016. 

Dr. Stotsky stated: “…it seems that the ELA review committee members it selected found it difficult to ignore the 2010 standards they have been using for five years. Despite intentions to eliminate pedagogical commands, the draft contains pedagogical or curriculum commands in every strand, as well as missing standards. These dictates and omissions need to be addressed as soon as possible, especially in the Vocabulary strand (my particular area of expertise). There must be many high school English teachers in Arizona who were not on the review committee but who write better English prose than one finds in the many Common Core standards that were simply copied by the review committee for this draft. The reason so many were copied word for word from the 2010 standards, one suspects, was that their meaning wasn’t clear enough for paraphrasing, and committee members may have decided to leave their interpretation to a test developer."

Dr. James Milgram stated: “What I found was that way too many of the standards in this draft were filled with actual mathematical errors, both in their original statements in Column A, and their revised statements in Column B. Moreover, remembering that the role of standards is to guide the construction of tests to measure the students understanding of the material actually taught, I found that almost half of the ‘standards’ I looked at were not really standards at all, but descriptions of the kind of pedagogy that ‘should be’ employed in covering certain topics. (Additionally, almost without exception, there is no reproducible research that shows these pedagogy methods actually work by improving student understanding of the mathematics involved.) There is virtually no real research that supports the assertion that these standards are what every student must know to be ready for both college and the workplace. In particular, there are very large differences between these standards and those of the high achieving countries. Indeed, these standards are very close to the kinds of standards that were in place in the early 1990’s and which did not work at all well in this regard.”

Ze’ev Wurman stated: “Both the current Arizona standards as well as the draft rewrite reflect essentially the Common Core expectations. Yet the essential flaws of Common Core standards that have been recognized over the passing years both in terms of experience gained, and in view of new findings of cognitive science, have not been addressed in the rewrite at all. The proposed rewrite is flawed in a very many ways, as detailed in the attached review. Its flaws, however, are not limited to making all these errors, although that made the draft significantly worse than the original standards. Rather, the rewrite flaws are more fundamental in that the rewrite did not even attempt to correct the many fundamental flaws in the original standards, both in terms of their low grade 2-8 content expectations and their embedded pedagogy and cognitive approach."

Comments from Dr. Stotsky, Dr. Milgram, and Mr. Wurman
IGNORED by Supt. Douglas, Gov. Ducey

I contacted Dr. Stotsky, Dr. Milgram, and Mr. Wurman on December 5, 2016 via email about the 2nd draft of the 2016 standards and asked, in their opinion, were their comments incorporated into the 2nd draft?  They submitted their respective reviews of the standards to me again and said “We are not happy that our comments have been ignored in the 2nd draft, and AACC and ML should work to expose to the press what is going on with the 2nd Rebrand of Common Core.” 

Dr. Stotsky stated in an email on December 6, 2016, “Can you find out why Ms. Douglas is lying? Or why Gov. Ducey is? There is something going on behind the scenes that needs to be dragged into the sunlight.”

Common Core Cover-Up
Moms Thrown Out of AZGOP Meeting by Douglas Surrogate

Dr. Stotsky later wrote an article in April 2017 exposing the states “cover up of Common Core by hiding the standards” which included Arizona! See How Do You Sell Common Core Standards and Tests To Unwilling Parents? Hide Them.  Some members of AACC and ML who were also on the Arizona Standards Development Committee (ASDC), wrote a letter exposing the “2nd Rebrand of Common Core.”  See State Board of Education Ignores Governor, Parents and Own Policy– Rubber Stamps Common Core Standards for Another 7 Years. This was sent to the press and was handed out to Precinct Committeemen (PC’s) and State Committeemen at the Maricopa County and state AZGOP meetings in January 2017. The press ignored our letter and refused to interview us.  Superintendent Douglas was visibly angry we were handing this letter out at the AZGOP meetings and had three of our ML mom’s removed from these meetings by April Riggins who was running them. April Riggins now works for the ADE, and she is traveling around the state with Superintendent Douglas on her 2018 campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

We continued handing out the ASDC letter outside of these AZGOP meetings and continued to talk to PC’s. Anita Christy, editor at Gilbert Watch, and member of ML also wrote a post in December 2017 exposing Superintendent Douglas’s continued lies about Common Core.  See More Common Core Double-talk by Diane Douglas.  

The 2nd Rebrand of Common Core Exposed by Mommy Lobby’s Side-By-Side Comparison

Mommy Lobby AZ also created a “side-by-side” comparison in 2017 of the 2013 Arizona College and Career Ready Standards (ACCRS) vs. the “adopted” 2016 Arizona ELA and Math StandardsJudge for yourself if there are “significant” changes in the standards!  

We also found that only 5% of the K-3 Mathematics Standards had changed and 7% of the K-3 ELA standards had changed.  See A Picture is Worth a Thousand Common Core Standards.   There were 95% and 93% of the 2013 ACCRS (aka Common Core) standards that still remained for Mathematics and ELA, respectively! Grammar changes, replacing a word for “clarity in a standard,” etc., were not considered "significant" by the ML and weren’t calculated. Even the numbering of the 2016 ELA and Mathematics standards had not changed, unless a standard was deleted or a new standard was added, because the numbering of standards is how AzMERIT test questions are selected to match the standards! Again, who is Superintendent Douglas and the ADE Standards staff trying to fool?  What “magical formulas” did the ADE use in their ELA and Math “Changes and Responses” documents?  ADE should provide legitimate data to back up their “percentage changed” formulas for the 2016 ELA and Mathematics standards! 

Frank Riggs: The Most Qualified, Most Experienced, Most Ethical Candidate for SPI

I am now working for Frank Riggs’ 2018 campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction. I had the pleasure of working with him “in the trenches” to Stop Common Core when he ran for Governor in 2014. He is the most qualified executive to run for the highest office in education in our state.   He will be an ethical SPI who won’t lie about his record, and he won’t betray parents by rebranding  Common Core. He has always fought for local control over education as a former school board member, classroom substitute teacher, businessman and Congressman who wrote legislation which promoted “local control,” not “federal control.”  See Frank Riggs: The Only Candidate with a Record for Fighting to get the Feds out of K-12 Education!  Join me today and support Frank Riggs for State Superintendent of Public Instruction with your time, donations, and your vote! 

See Also:

How Much of the Common Core Standards Really Changed?

The National Common Core Standards System

Arizona’s Newest K-12 English/Language Arts Standards No Different than Common Core  

Comparing Common Core’s Kindergarten English/Language Arts Standards to Arizona’s 2016 "Final"   

Arizona’s Newest K-12 Math Standards No Different than Common Core  

Why are Comments from Achieve, Inc. all over Arizona’s Redline version of the ELA and Math Standards? 

Diane Douglas Underwater; Frank Riggs Swimming to the Top

Frank Riggs Record of Leadership 

Legislation Co-Authored by Frank Riggs might help to Overturn Onerous Education Regulations

As you might know, the Congressional Review Act which Rep. Riggs co-authored/sponsored has been used by the Trump Administration and the current Congress (under a Resolution of Disapproval) to repeal 14 major regulations enacted in the last 90 days of the Obama Administration (including the latest regulations under the Every Student Succeeds Act, aka the Elementary and Secondary Education Act).

Claims About Frank Riggs’ "Environmental Record" Are Flatly Wrong and Very Misleading

Frank Riggs for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction

Riggs’ Congressional Record on education issues   

Joe Foss Institute Praises American Civics Act Signing

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Common Core Standards