Dear Sen. Allen,
Like you, this has been an especially stressful session for me, too. SB1416 (previously SB1313 previously SB1416 previously HB2184) is not what I planned to fight this session.
I planned to do all possible to help parents protect their children from politicians and corporations that are using and abusing them, under the guise of “assessing their academic progress.” AzMERIT by any name is an abomination brought to us by the Governor-appointed personalities on the State Board of Education (SBE). In fact, it was the SBE that brought us AIMS, PARCC, and every other useless standardized test that has literally accomplished nothing in improving student achievement in Arizona.
It was the State Board of Education (SBE) that agreed to Common Core in Jan. 2010, before it was even written. The SBE fell into lockstep to do what Governor Brewer required of them. It was also the SBE that formally approved, in June 2010, the implementation of Common Core after a Dog and Pony Show put on by Dr. William McCallum, one of the lead math writers. In fact, I didn’t find any evidence in the Minutes that the SBE reviewed the standards. Not that it mattered. The Governor wanted them, because she blindly believed the experts, plus she saw a chance at the $250 million jackpot called Race To The Top. Even the “vetting” that went on within Arizona when teachers were brought in for their “opinions” of draft standards was nothing more than a publicity stunt on the part of the Common Core Team headed by David Coleman, who is well known as the chief architect. The “fix” was in from start to finish. The SBE didn’t do any independent “vetting” of their own.
Common Core Standards didn’t take years to put into place. They were literally dumped on teachers, kids, and parents, as witnessed by the revolt that occurred all across America, including the revolt of the grassroots in Arizona who did the vetting.
I could go on with many more examples of the wasteful, incompetent, downright dangerous performance of the Governor-appointed State Board of Education and why they need less, not more, powers and duties. But that’s for another day.
You have stated that SB1416 is “the most misunderstood bill of the session with the most misinformation circulating among the grassroots organizations mostly fueled by their support of the Superintendent.”
We aren’t alone. Many Arizona senators and representatives join us in our precise understanding of the negative effects of this bill.
If SB1416 is approved, this is what the people who voted for Diane Douglas will know:
1. The “clarification” to remove the SPI’s (Superintendent of Public Instruction) few powers came about only because this particular SPI used those powers, in an effort to fulfill a campaign promise to the best of her ability–Get rid of Common Core–and those who were dead set against the fulfillment of that promise. Previous SPI’s followed SBE’s orders without question and caused no waves.
2. The “clarification” is certainly for the purpose of keeping Common Core in place, since the SPI’s campaign promise to get rid of Common Core will be thwarted by SB1416.
3. Rather than “clarify” powers and duties that favor the "people’s elected SPI, who is the state-level executive officer responsible for executing enacted laws governing the public school system." SB1416 disfavors the powers and duties of the "people’s elected SPI.”
4. A very poor performing entity at the state level–the governor-appointed SBE–will have full authority over the “people’s elected SPI, who is the state-level executive officer responsible for executing enacted laws governing the public school system."
5. All power regarding Education will be consolidated under the Governor, since the Governor appoints the members of the SBE, and they answer only to him.
6. Regarding a “constitutional change,” we will wonder why the SPI will remain in Article 5, Sect. 1.A., as a member of the “executive department,” along with the Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and Attorney General, since the SPI will be reduced to doing little more than follow orders from the governor-appointed SBE, just like any of its other employees.
7. Since the "people’s elected SPI, who is the state-level executive officer responsible for executing enacted laws governing the public school system." will be nothing more than “an employee,” why bother spending all that money electing such a person? This won’t be the first time dollar signs drive high level decisions.
The intended purpose and consequences of SB1416 will sear into the memories of those who voted for Diane Douglas, the woman who dared to honor her campaign promise to them.
In the Name of God, Family, and Self-Governance,
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