Common Core supporters have organized a coalition in Arizona to recall newly elected state school superintendent Diane Douglas, who ran primarily an anti-Common Core campaign.
According to Capitol Media Services, the Coalition to Recall Diane Douglas has filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office. Maxwell Goshert, the group’s treasurer, said he predicts this initial step will ultimately lead to Douglas’ ouster within a year.
Nevertheless, Douglas must be in office for six months prior to recall signature collection. The state’s constitution also requires the coalition to collect the signatures of 25 percent of the people who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election to permit a recall vote, or, approximately 367,000 signatures.
The report indicates, however, that recall organizers will actually need 450,000 signatures, considering that some will be disqualified during the verification process. The coalition will likely need to hire paid circulators to obtain the necessary signatures during a 120-day window.
“She has six months to prove herself to voters,” said Goshert. “But we believe we’re not going to be impressed by what she does in the next six months in office.”
Douglas, a former president of the Peoria Unified School District Governing Board, narrowly defeated her Democrat opponent, David Garcia, an associate professor of education. During her campaign, she referred to the Common Core standards as “controlled by federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., or ivory-tower academics or quite frankly people who just want to make a dollar off our poor children.”
Douglas insists she will be listening to parents and teachers regarding education policy.
Garcia is a proponent of the Common Core and has said the controversial standards will ensure that students have college and career-ready skills. Despite support from many establishment Republicans, including two former state school superintendents who support Common Core, Garcia lost the race.
“[I]t’s going to take a lot of momentum to make people aware of who she is, what she is trying to do,” Goshert said.
Douglas’ victory is a sore spot for Common Core proponents, since Republican Governor-elect Doug Ducey also referred to the standards as “imposed top-down from Washington” during his campaign, according to a report in March at AZCentral.com.
“Educational standards are an important and necessary tool to ensure Arizona’s schools are properly educating our students,” Ducey said. “However, I believe we can do better than the standards currently tied to funding from the federal government.”
“Ideally, such standards should come from the state itself and not be imposed top-down from Washington,” he continued. “The federal government’s recent track record on important issues (health care, spending, budgets, and border security, to name a few) has been dismal.”
According to Arizona Daily Independent, however, Ducey announced last week that his new subcommittee on education will include Lisa Graham Keegan, who endorsed Douglas’ challenger, and is a Common Core proponent. During the campaign, Keegan attacked Douglas, stating she was “promoting a sort of a paranoia” by opposing the nationalized standards. Keegan referred to Douglas’ opposition to the Common Core as “destructive.”
Ducey also is including Matthew Ladner in his new subcommittee on education. Ladner has worked closely with Common Core champion Jeb Bush, and reportedly received an award for his work from Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education.
In his announcement about the education subcommittee, Ducey reportedly claimed he was looking “forward to working with the education professionals on this committee to identify the best policies to improve our schools, find the most talented people to assume key positions in my administration and ensure we are putting Arizona students, teachers and parents first.”