Last Thursday, Oct. 10, the Heber-Overgaard School District Governing Board took a stand. They unanimously refused to sign the Common Core Declaration that was “required” of them by the Arizona Department of Education (AZDOE). Agenda Item 8.02 Approval of Declaration of Curricular and Instructional Alignment to the Arizona Academic Standards was not approved.
The room was full of parents, teachers, and other members of the community. Many spoke out against Common Core. Senator Chester Crandell (LD6) spoke about his concern that, with the exception of the Superintendent, all of the members of the State Board of Education are appointed by the Governor, not elected by the voters. That needs to change. He also voiced his concerns about PARCC testing, stating that he was in favor of college entrance exams.
The board understands that they still have to abide by the Common Core State Standards, because the state law requires it. However, this vote should send a message to the Administration, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, and the AZDOE that the Heber-Overgaard Schools Governing Board and community are not in favor of Common Core.
You may think that this board vote was the big story. It isn’t.
The big story is what parents, teachers, and a governing board member had to say during this meeting.
Several teachers and parents gave strong emotional testimony against Common Core. Teachers stood up and told the audience that they are frustrated and overwhelmed with Common Core. They have to scramble to find assignments online. Some teachers actually cried when talking of the demands put on them by these standards and the curriculum that must align with them.
One outstanding teacher who is held in high esteem by her peers, parents, and students stood and said the whole Common Core thing is so frustrating to her that she will be retiring at the end of this year. Her main reason is the effect that Common Core is having on her students. She sees children crying and no longer liking school.
Some parents cried while telling stories of their children’s frustration with Common Core. Many said their children hate school!
Many people asked why Common Core is being forced upon the schools.
This is what Students in the Teaching College of one of our State Universities are Learning
One of the board members stated that our schools are being used, not to educate our children, but to “establish social justice in education.” He gave examples of what students in the teaching college of one of our state universities are learning.
These directives include:
• "Our schools should become sites for social transformation”
• "We anchor our curriculum proposal in constructivist views of learning”
• "Teacher educators can prepare prospective teachers to become agents of change by teaching that schools can become more equitable."
• "Teacher educators should guide prospective teachers in developing their own personal vision of education and teaching… nurturing their passion and idealism and promoting activism outside as well as inside the classroom"
• "Teachers have a moral obligation to become instruments of change in the classroom."
Will other board members from other school districts have the fortitude to refuse to sign a Declaration they despise?"