AZ State Superintendent: Common Core Opponents Are 'Barbarians at the Gate'

Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction last week compared Common Core opponents to “barbarians at the gate,” and vowed to fight them to defend the nationalized standards whose main agenda, it appears, is to invest taxpayer dollars into yet another social justice program that ensures equity across racial and socioeconomic lines.

According to Arizona Capitol Times, state superintendent John Huppenthal said Arizona cannot allow a real withdrawal from the Common Core standards.

Last September, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) merely “rebranded” the controversial Common Core standards via an executive order. The same standards are now called “Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.”

Huppenthal, who is running for re-election against ardent Common Core opponent Diane Douglas, is fearful that, should Arizona fully abandon the nationalized standards, the state will suffer the same turn of events as Indiana, a state that the U.S. Department of Education has warned is now at risk of losing both waivers from the No Child Left Behind policy and, consequently, federal dollars.

In fact, however, Indiana simply “rebranded” the Common Core standards as well. Many parents and education standards experts have blasted Gov. Mike Pence (R) and some Hoosier state lawmakers for attempting to portray Indiana as having rejected the Common Core, when the replacement standards are strikingly similar to Common Core and, in some cases, even inferior.

At the same time, Indiana has stipulated that the state must still be eligible for federal waivers from No Child Left Behind in order to continue to receive federal education dollars, a provision that upends Pence’s contention that he believes education is the realm of the states, not the federal government.

“I have put my career on the line to stave off the barbarians,” Huppenthal asserted. “I’m okay with that because I felt I did the right thing for this education system.”

Huppenthal was speaking at a panel at the Arizona Capitol Times’ Morning Scoop along with Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, a vigorous supporter of the Common Core standards.

Sanders said it is imperative that supporters of Common Core vote in the Republican primary for lawmakers who stick out their necks for education.

“If you vote only in the general, it’s game over,” Sanders said.

In the 2014 Arizona legislative session, several attempts to bar the state from implementing the standards failed as a result of a small group of establishment Republicans who joined with Democrats in the Senate, a situation that is being repeated in many state legislatures across the country as conservative grass roots groups are emerging as the primary opponents of the Common Core standards.


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