If the Arizona Legislature succeeds in passing Senator Jeff Dial’s repulsive SB1416, this is what they will have accomplished:
Turned Arizona’s only elected official within the Department of Education into a water boy kowtowing to the will of 10 unelected, historically incompetent and downright dangerous, wasteful members of the State Board of Education.
Arizona’s voters won’t be fooled into believing that this bill "merely clarifies statutes," as Dial states. The voters who put Ms. Douglas into office aren’t that stupid.
This is what will be very clear to voters: The Legislature has removed the Superintendent’s effective representation of the voter’s mandate. The Legislature has devalued and dishonored the voters. The Legislature has told the voters to “stuff it.” The Governor, if he signs it, will be signing one of the worst "anti-voter", anti-elected official" bills we’ve seen in a long time.
Historically, members of the State Board of Education, serving at the will of whichever Governor appointed them, love to wield power, without a shred of deliberation, debate, or accountability. (Recent Ducey appointees Jared Taylor and Chuck Schmidt are the exceptions.) Here are just a few of their thoughtless, costly, and downright dangerous actions:
The SBE’s reputation for lowering standards. "In 2005 the State Board, over the objections of state Superintendent Tom Horne, reduced the passing grade on the AIMS test from 72 percent to 59 percent for reading, and from 71 percent to 60 percent for math. Even with the reduced passing threshold, and a math test that has gotten progressively easier, just 61 percent of the class has passed after three attempts." Most State Board of Education members said lowering the scores would look as if they were lowering the bar and backing off high standards for high school graduates, but still they voted 9-1 to do it. And the Legislature, in their vast wisdom then as now, got into the act, allowing grades in class work to add as much as 25 percent to a student’s AIMS results.
The SBE spent untold thousands of dollars developing new Math standards in 2008/2009, only to dump them for Common Core Math in 2010.