Education: The Arizona Legislature and Department of Education have let you down

The Arizona Legislature and Arizona Department of Education have let you down. Back in 2009, the Department of Education unilaterally decided to apply for federal funding in the form of "Race to the Top" grant.

Unfortunately, they won some federal funds with all the federal strings attached.

It was a three-pronged assault on Arizona Public Schools. First, Arizona would adopt the fundamentally flawed Common Core standards. Second, a state assessment would have to be created to test these standards. Last but not least, a teacher accountability measurement tool including complex teacher evaluation and disciplinary procedures.

Complicating matters is the political struggle between Diane Douglas and that bureaucratic behemoth, the Arizona State School Board. It is reminiscent of a second grade classroom, each side fighting to win, while no one is learning.

Arizona schools are in crisis, while the Department of Education attempts to implement the ridiculous federal mandates that cost more than the millions of grant money awarded. Where are we now? Classrooms are overcrowded, teachers are leaving in droves and the Arizona Legislature is sitting on the funds necessary to save the state from itself.

Diane Douglas is the only one calling for these funds and yet she is facing a recall election.

Right now our state is spending a little less on each student than it did 25 years ago. Citizens need to demand that our children be made the top priority in this state.

Common Core is riddled with errors, is over-complicated, lacks rigor, and is not aligned with developmental stages. The Arizona Merit assesses these flawed standards with generous contracts awarded to testing companies. Teachers are responsible for all students' progress even when they have poor attendance or lousy parents.

The teacher evaluation tool is reminiscent of the federal tax code, with over-complicated, unmeasurable standards.

The Arizona Department of Education should take full responsibility for allowing the federal government to micro-manage our schools. Thanks to "Race to the Top," we are racing to the bottom.

Get rid of the federal mandates, adopt a comprehensive basic skills test that reflects pre-concepts from the SAT, and cut the Arizona Department of Education in half.