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7/17/2013 6:00:00 AM
Common Core 'myths' bedevil supporters of Arizona's new curriculum
New education standards have some worried the worst is nigh
State Rep. Doris Goodale, R-Kingman, and Vince Yanez, executive director of the state Board of Education, field questions about Arizona Common Core Standards from members of the Republican Men’s Club.
State Rep. Doris Goodale, R-Kingman, and Vince Yanez, executive director of the state Board of Education, field questions about Arizona Common Core Standards from members of the Republican Men’s Club.

Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - When state Rep. Doris Goodale, R-Kingman, agreed to sponsor a bill last year transitioning the state's educational system from Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to the new Arizona Common Core Standards, she had no idea it would meet with such vocal opposition.

Goodale, who was asked to sponsor the bill by the state Board of Education, has spent much of her time since it passed answering heated questions and trying to explain the controversial educational program to concerned constituents.

She got the chance to do it again Monday during a meeting of the Republican Men's Club at Dambar & Steakhouse, accompanied by state Board of Education Executive Director Vince Yanez.

Goodale had asked to address the gathering after Cassandra Mooneyham, a mother from Lake Havasu City who disagrees with Common Core, spoke to the club in May.

"I'm getting the same questions wherever I go," said Goodale. "There's a certain group with beliefs tied in to globalization and UN Agenda 21, and they chose to make opposition to Common Core their cause. What we're hearing are fairly consistent myths."

Agenda 21 is a non-binding 1992 United Nations document promoting sustainable development, environmental protection, economic growth and the eradication of poverty. It's often cited by those promoting anti-government conspiracies.

At the meeting, Goodale and Yanez heard claims of the possible federalization of the public school system, tracking of minority students, "dumbing down" of school curriculum, hidden identity of the program's organizers and the potential for misuse of student information - concerns they said are not based on the Common Core curriculum.

"My constituents are deeply concerned about data mining," said Linda Stevenson, a member of the Bullhead City School Board. "They don't want their information given to other agencies. What guarantee can I give them that their religious preferences, income levels and where their guns are located won't be disclosed? This is their greatest concern, and I'd like to have an answer."

Yanez said Common Core doesn't require student data to be collected or reported, but the state Department of Education is currently trying to build a new database with student information to make sure schools are being funded appropriately.

Goodale said data mining is a big fear, but federal laws already exist that prohibit schools from releasing student information. She also said Arizona legislators would fight "tooth and nail" to protect students' personal information.

The Common Core standards were created by a consortium of teachers, business leaders and education experts from 46 states, including Arizona, to toughen up standards for math, English and writing from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Arizona Common Core standards are based on the national Common Core standards and were adopted by the state Board of Education in 2010 without input from the Arizona Legislature. The education board has the authority to adopt new standards and assessments without the legislature's consent.

Common Core is scheduled to take effect this fall.

Mike File, superintendent of Mohave County School District, spoke up for Common Core, noting he has been involved with teacher training and has been amazed by its depth and scope. File said 400 teachers attended regional training centers in the past six months to learn how to help children think in new and better ways.

"My opinion is, this is a movement we're all going to have to deal with," said File. "I have heard all of these questions and more, and my advice is for everyone to go to their school board meetings, ask questions and get these answers.

"The local school boards will be selecting their own textbooks and setting the standards that apply to their students."

Goodale agreed, noting Arizona has many good schools but some bad ones, too. She said students throughout the state are failing academically and that colleges, the business community and the military are questioning the quality of their education.

She said many high school graduates don't have critical thinking skills and can't solve problems.

"We cannot continue to fail our children in the area of education," said Goodale. "That's just not an option. It's been difficult for me to be the sponsor, but I believe we have to stand up for our students. We have to do something."

Yanez said John Huppenthal, the state's superintendent of public education, has been very active in addressing questions and misinformation about Common Core.

And Yanez said he has done his share of speaking about the program and explaining the standards to audiences across the state. But that doesn't mean the questions go away.

"I hope people will read the standards and not rely on the Internet for their information," said Yanez. "If they'll read the standards, they'll find they are of high quality and very rigorous and are not devious.

"For some reason, the notion of a federal takeover of the public education system has become a well of misinformation. All we can do to fight that is put the facts out there so people can see them."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article comment by: Home Schoolers Should Not Give Up on Public Schools

H.A., don't you think it is important for your children to experience all that is America - the good, the bad, the productive, the lazy? A well educated child is one exposed to all things. How does that child deal with others different? What does a child do with their time while those around them are wasting theirs? What value do they internalized when observing others and having to tolerate others? We are all formed by experiences. To home school a child is shielding them from things that will help them develop.

Home schoolers are concerned parents and really want what is best for their child. They would help their child far more by monitoring their child's work closely, helping with their homework, visiting their classroom often, and advocating for positive changes in our schools. Not only would they help their child but all children.

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“According to Phyllis Schlafly,… Professor Sandra Stotsky …”

Always a rightie, every single time.

“In a nutshell, Common Core gives leftist educators a backdoor for bringing left wing activism into the classroom.”

Funny stuff! Always good for a laugh with the conspiracy theories.

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

The whole thing is that these are MINIMUM standards. Nothing is preventing any student from excelling, doing self study, or taking harder classes...not easier.

"The standards make clear that evolution is fundamental to understanding the life sciences."

And indeed it is...sounds like a good statement by Education Week. Or would you rather they teach about a woman being created from the rib of a man? And that men have one less rib on one side(which is completely and totally incorrect)?

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Moss

One of the benefits of Common Core is that it will allow Arizona to objectively compare the education level of our kids as compared to the kids of other states without subjective facts lowering our standing.

Steve Moss
District 5 Supervisor

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

According to Phyllis Schlafly, Common Core won't make kids smarter, the strategy is to raise middle scoring students a point or two but do nothing to motivate or help the smarter or the least smart kids. In other words, a goal like the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegan -"all kids are above average".

I have books by Professor Sandra Stotsky, member of CC validation committee, trust her to the max and she has refused to approve the standards finally published.
. "Common Core has carefully disguised its road to equally low outcomes for all demographic groups and many state boards of education may quickly follow up their unexamined adoption of CC's K-12 lowering their high school graduation requirements in the name of alignment.

Teachers will be compelled to teach to the test. National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Tested concludes "educators will align curriculum and teaching to what is tested..and what is not assessed largely will be ignored".

Word limit but CC English standards replace half the readings in lit classics with INFORMATIONAL materials which CC advocates say are supposed to promote analytical thinking by students.

Professor Stotsky's example of her own grandson -

Assigned to read fate of Taino Indians from a diary supposedly written by Columbus's cabin boy, then told to write to a state offical opining on whether Columbus should be honored with a state holiday.

Every student said no. That's "informational" reading morphing into liberal propaganda.

In a nutshell, Common Core gives leftist educators a backdoor for bringing left wing activism into the classroom.

Proponents of evolution and manmade climate change are ecstatic about the new science standards. Education Week reports: “The standards make clear that evolution is fundamental to understanding the life sciences.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

We have to replace elected representatives who don't keep their campaign words and the basic ideology they campaigned on. Yes this is America, and yes Rep. Goodale has raised the ire of thousands if not more with her moderate conservative position by name only. The people can debate and argue wrong doing and put any label they want on it, but its still wrong doing. You jump, you pole vault above opposing ideology based on pure pronciple and being able to trust a person at their word. Goodale would make a fine Democrat and Common Core will come down. Americans don't care what the world thinks, they care about America.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Hoo Dog

Give these concerned citizens the AIMS Test. See how they do. Then we'll talk.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

Rep. Goodale, Mr. both have a very tough job trying to educate a sector of the public who are so ignorant of what has and is going on in our education system...but I'm happy that you're trying to do so even if it may be a lost cause on some.

Please keep up the good work and don't let the "b_______s", (detractors), get you down.

Rep. Goodale, if the far right wing loonies are complaining that you're not Republican enough, maybe you're doing something right...oops, I mean correct... and I hope that you continue to keep an open mind and try to find a way to work with all of your fellow legislators, regardless of affiliation, to move this State forward.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Uncle Anson

And how do we measure the success of this program....another version of an AIMS test? And what is an acceptable level of equality? Whose results do we toss out as spurious? What sample size? Do you sample various cultural groups and set different standards? Seems to me that all we really need is to bring back the 3 R' know....Readin, Ritin, Rithmatic...and Spelling. But wait....what would happen to academia? Never''s a good change.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Remember Kindergarten

No Name, I agree with most of what you said, however, Common Core is a set of standards, AIMS is a test (which will be replaced by PARC). I only have a problem with Common Core in that the people who wrote seem to not have taken into consideration that many of our young ones starting school (Kindergarten) may not have had any preschool and may not be developmentally ready for learning what was once 1st grade material. There is no time for the children to learn social skills, to be creative, to even have recess for more than 15 minutes in some schools. Never mind dramatic play (very important for learning social skills, creativity, and learning in a more developmentally appropriate manner). Student learning is dependent on their physical, social/emotional, and cognitive development, along with what prior knowledge they bring with them. We need rigor in our schools, but we also need to keep in mind that a child's developmental process will not hasten just because we command it to. It is a natural progression which needs to be nurtured.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: It Shouldn't Be Anti-Government

How come a person can't question our elected leaders without being labeled an "anti-government" or "conspiracy theorist". I think most people understand that government is necessary. It just needs to be of the people, by the people. Our current government is getting too large. If you can't see that our world is heading towards Globalization you really must be blind.

@ Al DiCicco

I can appreciate the passion, but I don't think you do your own cause well when you use the last three sentences you used.

@ No name

I'm not sure I agree with your entire statement. However, you are right regarding that it's not all the teachers' or the school system's fault. We are seeing a breakdown of society (slowly mind you, so it's typically not noticed). No one wants to address that broken families, almost non-existent values, total sexual immorality (be it homesexual or hetero), have become completely acceptable. Our children pay the price...they have children...they have children, and so on... What has happened to this great Country?

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: I Think Not

@ We Pay, They Profit

"We have allowed these privately run, profit centers called charter schools to separate out the well-connected and "chosen" children from the public schools (another words discriminate against the black, and poor white and his hispanic children)."

Last I knew these schools are a more religious atmosphere and require filling out applications by the parents. "We" don't let them do anything that the parents of the children want. I'm pretty sure KUSD has nothing to do with which students get to go to KAOL.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

@ No Name

"Common core will be no different than the AIMS."

Common Core are a set of academic standards that drive curriculum.

AIMS is the Arizonia Instrument to Measure Standards.

AIMS is a test. It is a test that was used to measure the previous academic standards in AZ.

Common Core= academic standards

AIMS = standardized test

They are not the same.

There will be a new standardized test that will measure students' mastery of the new Common Core standards.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Highly Amused

Our local public education system is already dumbed down. How more dumbed down can it get? I know the teachers try their hardest, but not all the parents in the system help their child, as their belief is 'It's the teachers' job to teach them, not mine!'

There's a few reasons I'd rather home school my child. Number one is the distractions in our public schools from kids who don't want to be there and don't want to learn. Two: there are teachers who just don't care anymore, because when they tried to care they were popped back in line and told to follow the program. There's more but I have very limited space here.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Donna Wickerd

I consider Ms. Mooneyham a personal friend and know her to be a wonderful mother, but in this case I feel she and Senator Ward are being alarmist and ignoring important facets of the issues that led to development of the coomon core. They also support closing the federal department of education which would end federal funding of public schools and send us back to the days when the poor didnt have the same opportunities as the wealthy. We cant all homeschool our children, it just isnt practical.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Trained Observer

This really isn't a surprise. This area is known for people that truly believe in all kinds of weird conspiracy theories such as those posed by people like Alex Jones. If people have concerns about the dumbing down of the schools, the need to look no further than No Child Left Behind. This has handcuffed school systems so that they cannot be effective.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

Nice article and factual accounting but falls short in that it does not incorporate the opposing segment at the same time, making it easy for people to understand., I am glad Rep. Doris Goodale has her talking points because it is obvious it's easy to vote yes for a law and then later too appease sign a pettition to put that law to a people vote. This was how Goodale appraoched her last minute support of the Medicaid Expansion., It would seem that there is a growing numbers of Republicans asking for a public debate .Goodale just isn't voting like a Republican. In 2012 the Colorado City vote, and in 2013 the Common Core and the Medicaid expansion. And this is the tip of the iceberg

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: We Pay, They Profit

The corporatocracy of our state education system has and continues to destroy it. We have allowed these privately run, profit centers called charter schools to separate out the well-connected and "chosen" children from the public schools (another words discriminate against the black, and poor white and hispanic children). We cry there isn't enough money in our education system yet in AZ the state not only fully funds the charter schools by giving the same per student expenditure but ALSO PAYS CHARTER SCHOOLS $1100 MORE PER STUDENT. I had only learned of this little gem in an article in the Arizona Republic. It seems law makers (Doris being one) decided that charter schools like KAOL needed to get a little more because the start up costs are so much more. How about that - we the tax payers don't have enough for our kids cuz we are paying KAOL $1100 more per student.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Justice is A Wonderful Thing

It's great to see the party that has created the "government is the problem" philosophy trying to defend themselves against the very ones they have empowered.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: No Name

Common core will be no different than the AIMS. The newest problem is that what both of these two fail to explain is where is the part that holds the kids and parents accountable. Oh wait there is none. We will just keep blaming the teachers. Parents that complain they have no way to get on the internet for their kids while the kid is updating their Facebook page from their cell phone have no clue what they have at their finger tips. You ask what does this have to do with Common Core. Much of Common Core is technology interfaced. Its time for the legislature to start funding the ability of schools to account for this new technology and standards demands. We can have all the standards in the world, yet if we do not have the money to buy the equipment what good is the new standards. We had rigor before. When you send kids home with a tough assignment that is meant to tax them and make them think they bring back nothing with the answer they did not have time or could not find the answer. Its time to get to the real heart of the matter. Stop blaming teachers for kids who do not want to engage. Parents take a stand and get involved with your schools and find out what is expected. Stop believing your kids are always right.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Al DiCicco

Agenda 21 is as real as the skies above your head, if you ever look up out from your cubicle. When you lie down and bed with the Feds, you wake up dirty and smelly. Too many State Reps and Governor Brewer are not representing the will of the people and are capitulating with The Federal Government takeover of States and individual rights. You will all be thrown out of office. We are taking over. Liberty has come to Arizona!

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