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home : opinion : letters May 26, 2016

6/27/2013 6:00:00 AM
Letter: Education questions unasked

There seems to be a consensus among educators, politicians, corporate executives and probably the general public that Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) has failed to achieve its intended purpose and must, therefore, be replaced.

One local legislator even made the comment that "AIMS is just a disaster." ["Change raises concerns," Kingman Daily Miner, March 27.] Over the last decade, AIMS results and reports have been analyzed and discussed. What has not been forthcoming, however, is any discussion or analysis of why and how AIMS failed. Instead, we just implement a better model: Common Core.

Common Core appears to be a souped-up version of AIMS. Academic, achievement and standardized testing will be internationally benchmarked rather than nationally benchmarked. Subject content, tests and achievement level standards for reading and math will be revised and upgraded (writing was eliminated under AIMS as not being conducive to computer scoring). Will the ultimate result (when perfected) be a more acceptable high school graduate?

This brings up another interesting question: If Common Core really is just a spruced-up version of AIMS, and the factors causing AIMS failure are unknown, will Common Core not also fail for the same unknown reasons? And what of the personal student data that is included with Common Core that has nothing to do with education? ["Common Core's goals questioned," Kingman Daily Miner, June 3]

The rush to implement Common Core started in 2009 when our governor and superintendent of public education traveled to Washington, D.C., to ask for some "free" federal money. In 2010, the Arizona State Board of Education quietly adopted the Common Core Initiative and the governor received the desired Race to the Top grant money requested.

There are too many questions not being asked, let alone answered. We should be looking beyond the rhetoric and find out what is going on before we subject our students to another decade of educational failure.

As TV lawyer Matlock used to say: Ask a lot of questions and follow the money!

Oliver Barnett


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@ansons nephew

"And you know that they showed EVERY person they interviewed and in no slanted the on-air piece to make young people look stupid – right?"

Oh, so now in order for it to be acceptable to the leftist, AN, they have to include every person they interview? LoL

It is not tough to make young liberals look like fools. Just the other day I saw one of those videos in which a young conservative was getting obama supporters to sign a petition in support of his doing away with the Bill Of Rights because it was "outdated".

It really did make me....


Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

An(Bob), ref. test questions and scores of college students-heard it from their own mouths also have grandchildren in college and I ask questions myself of recent high school grads and my grandchildren. Amazing what you can learn of what is going on by talking to the younger generation(or what's not). I started doing this after listening to students being interviewed across the nation.
It's amazing to hear their answers and really makes you wonder how long before this country is a complete failure as it is on it's way to being.

Posted: Monday, July 8, 2013
Article comment by: Bat-Mitzpah boo-boo .....

@AN.....there was a printing error in posting my comments here. The moniker (where you place first and last name) should have read "kids - celebrate Ronald McDonald's Bat Mitzpah on July 4th". I do not fault you for the response, because of this error which undermined some of my commentary. My point was to throw out an absurd takeoff from the TV pollsters. My mother's family is Jewish. And yes, of course I know that by the time those interviews appeared on television, they were surely edited to show only the most ignorant responses. But like I said, if only 10% of respondents know nothing.....

Posted: Monday, July 8, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“I am terrified by pollsters' results of young Americans' knowledge - a TV crew interviewed young adults over the July 4th holiday about some basic American history –“

And you know that they showed EVERY person they interviewed and in no slanted the on-air piece to make young people look stupid – right?

“oh, and for those of you who don't know, a Bat Mitzvah is a young Jewish girl's introduction to adulthood.”

And this is relevant because…..? Oh, wait, it’s not. Never mind.

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

In my former post speaking of racism it never occurred to me to mention the fact that two of my grandchildren are 1/4 Japanese. I have loved them, kept them 24-7 most of the time over a period of 5years and always when needed or they simply have wanted to be with me. These two children are the 1/2 siblings of the 20year old who told me I am racist.
What an absolute disservice our educational system has done to our children especially over the past almost 5years, being more concerned with P.C. B.S. than educating!

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: kids - celebrate Ronald McDonald's Bat-Mitzvah

Maybe Stokes is right on Bergstrand's 8th grade test - how many folks our age really remember test details from 54 years ago? In a more general comment, I am terrified by pollsters' results of young Americans' knowledge - a TV crew interviewed young adults over the July 4th holiday about some basic American history - most could not identify the country whom we fought in the Revolutionary War. Finally, the TV crew began suggesting that it was China, and person after person said said something like "Oh, yeah, I can't believe I forgot that" (oh, and for those of you who don't know, a Bat Mitzvah is a young Jewish girl's introduction to adulthood. I am guessing that, with a little prompting, probably upwards of 10% of young adults would sign off on this one - a frightening prospect when you consider that presiential elections have recently been determined by a lar less percentage of voters).

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Ms Smith (nee Athens)

As usual your post s full of incorrect information and pandering, but one line struck me as curious.

“College kids put wrong answers on their papers to get a better grade because if not their liberal professors mark them down for their values not being aligned with theirs.”

I would like for you to tell us exactly where you obtained that information? Please be specific as to the source, date, subject involved, college or university, professor’s names, etc. Thank you.

Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

Todays' education is indoctrination verses learning. I had honestly thought (I guess more hoped) that my grandchildren had escaped much of what has been taught the past 15-20years. Found out recently that didn't happen when my 20year old granddaughter called me racist. Oh yes, in spite of the fact I had Mexican friends all my life, Peruvian friends I dearly loved and will always carry in my heart the memories and I had the most wonderful black friend who if not for her I would've had a much harder time handling the death of a DPS mother,wife and friend. I sill think of Elaine and Thank God for having her in my life!
You can pour $$$$&$$$ into this ed. system and until we go back to teaching what children NEED to make it in life it won't work.
There are recent high school grads who don't know who Margaret Thatcher was. As if that isn't bad enough, even college kids don't know.
Because the schools have taken too much time out of the day to teach them all the values that should only come from the parents.
College kids put wrong answers on their papers to get a better grade because if not their liberal professors mark them down for their values not being aligned with theirs. This is the path our country is on, we need to take it back but, our younger people, my children included, need to get their priorities right and start paying attention and take actions themselves or they will be the ones living in the Hell that is coming.

Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

The education programs today are far below standards I grew up with and those my children grew up with. I did drill my children on their spelling and English. My belief is that if a child learns to spell well they can read anything and everything.
My thought on Common Core is that it is a more invasive prying into the home and not for the better. I believe it is a system that those in D.C. want in place so they can further brainwash the child and take more control of them than the parents have--like deciding early on that one belongs in this box and another in that one. There is a definite agenda in play.
I went to school my first two years in N.M., then Arizona, two years in Tacna,Peru S.A. and back to Arizona. I don't feel I was deprived but, more educated and flexible in life that can be uncertain to say the least.

Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

@Tom Bergstrand
I call shenanigans on that. 3 mistakes out of 100 words and you fail? Sure....

Sounds like that often quoted 6th grade graduation test that has been completely debunked.

Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013
Article comment by: Uncle Anson

The dumbing down of America continues with yet another federal excuse to take away states rights. Common Core. No, common indoctrination. No different than social stratification by a measure of wealth. Slow everyone down so everyone is equal. The American dream is becoming just a dream to dream the dream.

And by the way I don't care who you claim started it, it is here, recognize it and deal with it before its too...maybe it is too late.

Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Article comment by: Highly Amused

It's called:

Most parents don't give a damn anymore, and they think it's the teachers' job to teach, when in reality, it's their job to assist the teacher with the learning. Lay a good foundation, and your child will succeed.

Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Article comment by: Doing reasearch

Here is the AZDE web site where you can read the CC standards and compare them to the AZ state standards. State standards are listed under "Archived".

Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Bergstrand

Here's some food for thought. I had a test in 1959 in order to graduate. Spelling: 100 words. Each mistake took 10 points from your total. Passing was 70%. A map of the US with the states outlined as well as the Great Lakes. Name the lakes. Name the States, Capitol and year of admission into The Union. List of Presidents. Name their political affiliation and years in office. Name the Ammendments that are The Bill of Rights and a short blurb on what they guarantee. Math was just about every formula used, signed numbers, fractions, decimals and all with pencil and paper. There was more but you get the idea. Oh, that was to get out of the EIGHTH GRADE.

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: Joe Just another

They are both unacceptable. It is just a way for schools to get funded. You should see when aims testing comes around! The kids get free breakfast as an incentive to come to school and they get free lunch as well. It absolutely forces the teachers to teach the kids how to pass the test AIMS test instead of the way we were taught with the basics first. People question why are today's kids failing so much not? We never had to learn how to take the tests and were not pressured and bribed like kids are today. Now a days the kids are allowed to use calculators in math class therefore they get lazy and don't use the practical methods of math. @ Kingman Parent thank you, I was beginning to think my thoughts were all unfounded.and crazy The english isn't much better, When I graduated I knew enough to carry me through life. . Kids now a days are getting passing grades and know very little. And what about the kid that freezes up when taking the test?I I cannot remember my parents helping me with my homework, that was not their job! @ just a thought perhaps the teachers never contacted the parent? Do you have children? thanks for letting me share with you all..

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: Bonnie Kelley

Common Core is a indoctrination program it is much worse then AIMS.

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: Common Sense

Common Core is the same as AIMS in that it is just another scam that the educational system is falling for. Since the 70's they have lost sight of the fact that the school systems job is education, not social engineering. The result of that is high school graduates, not all but way too many, who can't read, write or do basic math but feel great about themselves. The world has changed a lot and there are things that need to be taught today that were unheard of 30 or 40 years ago and things that were taught then may not need the emphasis on them they had back then. BUT, the basics have not changed. Kids still need to know how to read, form an understandable sentence, do some basic math without a machine telling them the answers and do a little logical thinking on their own to get by today or in the future. Most of that is not being done in today's schools. I have no empirical evidence of this, it is just my opinion based on being married to a teacher, being involved in the system myself and putting 3 kids through the system in the last 30 years.

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: Just A Thought

I am curious why a parent would complain that they did not realize their child could not do times tables in their junior year. Maybe parents should be more involved throughout a child's education and surprises would not happen. Did the parent practice times tables with the child in the younger years when they are first taught (3 and 4th) grade.

I think it is always so easy for everyone to blame teachers. Do you want teachers to teach everything else but what is on the test and then your child cannot pass the test. The test consists of reading, writing, and math, with science added. Electives are taken also so students are learning others subjects besides what is on the tests.

I really think increased parent involvement is the answer. Parents should be aware of what their student does and does not know. I am sure that teachers at some point has told the parent starting in the early years that their child did not know their times facts - why didn't the parent get the student help then or just practice with them at home. Like I said - just a thought.

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Article comment by: Kingman Parent

I agree that something needs to be done about the education of our children. Instead of teaching a well rounded curriculum, teachers are more concerned about teaching students how to pass the AIMS test. When i was in school, we has the IOWA test and we were not given advanced training on how to pass but tested what we had learned!
As for the money the governor received, where is it? Not in our schools!

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Article comment by: Karen Flenniken

This is only my personal opinion and direct experience with having a student recently graduate. I have to say that I feel that the teachers are only teaching what the kids need to know in order to try and pass the AIMS test, I believe that by doing this they have stopped teaching the basics at the elementary level, to start and the teachers are not recognizing this. I know of at least 4 graduates that don't even have their times tables memorized, my child included. I only learned this her Junior year because I had to get her a tutor for math in order to graduate. No matter what testing they give it will be the same end result.

Done Rambling...

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident


I think you are attempting to compare oranges and apples.

AIMS is a standardized test and Common Core are a set of academic standards around which curriculum is based. There is a standardized test in the works in Arizona to replace the AIMS, it will be aligned to measure achievement of the Common Core standards.

Arizona did have academic standards to which the AIMS was aligned. The Common Core is replacing those standards.

The Common Core standards are national academic standards. The theory is that national standards provide continuity for students who relocate out of state, as well as allowing for more accurate comparison of student achievement rates on a state to state basis.

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