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