Showdown in Show Low: Common Core State Standards

Karen Warnick, a reporter with the White Mountains Independent, featured an excellent article titled "Huppenthal Grilled on Common Core standards."  Click HERE for the link to the article. 


You may not be able to read the entire article, unless you subscribe.  So,here are some highlights.  


State Superintendent of Schools John Huppenthal heard from many parents and teachers on Arizona’s new educational standards during a meeting of the White Mountain Conservatives held at the VFW on Oct. 23.


Huppenthal and Janet Ryan, owner and operator of the East Valley Academy charter school, spoke on the Common Core Standards, or what is now called the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. The name was recently changed by Gov. Jan Brewer at Huppenthal’s suggestion. The meeting was also Huppenthal’s idea.  About 80 people attended the meeting, most of them local parents and teachers of various mountain school districts.

“No American should be forced to accept national standards,” said Ryan. “The old standards are superior to these and there was no public discussion or cost analysis done.”

Ryan asked where they were supposed to get the money for computers for the upcoming PARCC test that all students will be required to take to measure their progress against the standards.

"This is an unfunded mandate," she said.  "We don’t teach Common Core at our school and our parents signed opt-out forms."

Ryan also said that she had heard from parents and teachers in the Valley that they have been issued gag orders to not talk about Common Core.
“We are supposed to have state sovereignty over education, standards and testing. The SAT and ACT tests are all aligned with Common Core. Who benefits?  Not teachers, students or parents.”

Ryan stated that Bill Gates funded the standards and that data mining and biometric devices for monitoring students in the classroom were coming. She believes the standards “pigeonhole” students and then funnel them through career and college paths. She also believes that the math standards are way below what they should be.

“We need to withdraw from the PARCC testing, or take a year to talk about these standards, testing and data mining issues, and get public input,” said Ryan.

He (Huppental) said that the state had control over education and then gave his background as a conservative, and listed some of his accomplishments that included creating the best home school, charter school and faith-based programs, as well as 212 pieces of legislation.  Huppenthal stated that the Common Core standards came from the nonprofit organization ACHIEVE.

“A lot of people were involved in creating these standards, including teachers. They were adopted in 2010 and I came into office in 2011.
He believes that the old standards were not high enough and that states with high standards have been very successful. He also said that local schools decided on the curriculum they will use to teach the standards.

Huppenthal responded that there is nothing liberal in the standards and that before any more are adopted, there will be debate ahead of time.
Throughout his speech and the question-and-answer session, Huppenthal kept referring to several nationally-recognized opponents to Common Core and their flawed arguments, though the comments were not specific to the current questions and most people did not understand how it answered their questions.
“It’s a step towards nationalization and then the curriculum will follow.”

Many comments focused on the testing and data mining issues, especially concerning students with special needs. Huppenthal responded that he would “get to these issues and solve them.”

Other comments from the audience included: “If our teachers feel they can’t speak up, that’s wrong … I’ve heard a lot from you about everyone else but parents, why didn’t we have a voice, I want to hear about what we want, not what you want … we are trying to be respectful but don’t feel you are being respectful of those opposed … where is my right to educate my kids as a parent if charter and home schools have to follow Common Core … my concern is the monitoring that will be done and not having any input … parents can’t monitor what is on the computers, or check homework … Bill Gates controls the software for the testing … after 40 some years of crap from the government, why should I believe anything you say, what kind of guarantee is there … my daughter is in second grade and spends hours in tears over the math, she thinks she is stupid, I went to the teacher and said it was too much for her, the teacher said it was but they are ‘kicking butt on the test’ … one standard concept is taught each week and she has to explain what she did but she doesn’t understand it.”

Many people started leaving before the meeting was over and made comments that Huppenthal was not listening to them or to teachers.