Are we on the same page? ... During a three-hour House Education Committee hearing Wednesday, Common-Core haters invoked many of the same slogans schools chief Diane Douglas repeated during her campaign last year: "federal overreach," "fuzzy math" and "harvesting of student data."

Douglas was elected state superintendent of public instruction on a vow to repeal the academic standards, and a bill to do that has been passed by the committee. House Bill 2190, sponsored by Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, would strip the standards, now called Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards, and revert back to the measures used in 2010.

But Douglas has backed off immediate action. She released a statement Friday saying, "As we move away from Common Core, it is important to do so in a deliberate fashion so that we stop the pattern of creating new standards only to abolish them every few years.

"This endless cycle leaves schools in a constant state of upheaval and causes undue stress for students and teachers."

Instead, Douglas is supporting SB 1305, sponsored by Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City. That bill would set up a 12-member review committee, schedule public meetings across the state and provide for extensive public comment, which would drive revisions to the standards. Ward's bill passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Feb. 12.


[Editor: We wouldn't buy this "slows her attack on Common Core" business except for two things: Douglas seems not to mind the bills going through the Legislature that contain this new language:

HB2184: 5. Subject to title 41, chapter 4, article 4, employ staff on the recommendation of the superintendent of public instruction.

2.  The superintendent of public instruction in whom all executive, administrative and ministerial functions of the department are vested and who is the executive officer RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EXECUTION OF POLICIES of the state board of education.

4.  Direct the work of all employees of the board who shall be employees of the department of education.

And Sen. Ward claims Douglas is perfectly happy with this language.

We don't claim to know everything, but this looks like a dilution of the duties of the Superintendent and potentially setting up a continuation of common core.  Confused about these mixed messages?  Us, too.]

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Replies to This Discussion

Just for clarification, if the SPI, Douglas, has the authority to hire staff for the Board of Education, does she also have the authority to hire staff for that same board?  If a Board of Education staffer takes direction and carries out duties given him or her by the Board of Education, does it make sense for the SPI, one of 11 members of the board, and the only elected member, to have hire and fire authority and give duties and responsibilities to those staffers who work for the Board?  Another point is that Ms. Douglas has no background in education other than serving on a school board.  Hundreds, thousands of people have served on school boards so how does that make her an 'expert' on education?  Further, the other 10 members of the Board of Education are appointed by the Governor, aren't they?  And the members are, with four exceptions, leaders in the education field.  Four members are "lay people."  It appears that the SPI believes that the Board members work for her and, thus, any staff hired to serve the Board must be approved by her.  Is that the contention?  You won't see or hear Ms. Douglas in any public forum, taking questions from the press or from citizens.  She can't.  She doesn't have any answers.  What she is using are statements released by her communication people so there is no give and take in a public forum.  That's why Ms. Douglas avoided all public debates with her opponent except for the mandated debate on PBS or NPR (I forget which).  She can't speak to all of the issues regarding education, be it funding, how funds should be spent, charter schools, curriculum, or anything else because she has no answers.  Republicans who supported her are going to feel badly when she resigns by the end of the year, in disgrace.

But didn't she get spanked big time in full view of the public by Gov. Ducey for trying to fire two board members?  It would be interesting to hear just what forces are aligning up against her, and what their agendas are.

One can scarce believe what is reported in the press.  It is immaterial what Ms Douglas does or does not believe.  It is about what the statute says.  I agree that Douglas has the authority to fire these two women who were advancing common core knowing that the SPI was elected to eliminate it.  The BoE is appointed by the governor but not the staff.  The BoE is not elected by anyone and should not have the authority to do whatever their personal ideology dictates.  What sense does it make (sorry, yes, I know we a speaking about government where little makes sense) to elect a SPI and then tie their hands and require them to only follow policy set by appointed boards not subject to the will of we the people.  She will have to stand responsible for what happens so she should be able to control what happens.  To do otherwise appears to defy statute.  Mr Spitzer seems to have a personal stake in this issue in some way.  We do not yet know how Douglas will perform and people do grow into the job they get.  It does look as though she may have caved to others by being intimidated into a false agreement.  This is not about the current SPI but about the office of the SPI.  We do not make or change statute according to our personal feelings about the occupant.  There will be a new SPI and do we really need to tie the hands of that person and give all authority to a board, and this is a liberal board that already allowed common core into our schools, that is not of the choosing of the voters?

A 12-member review committee; I think that's a GREAT idea, because as they travel Arizona, they're going to get an earful wherever they go.  COME TO MY TOWN FIRST!

In practice, nothing has changed. The BOE was laid out as an unelected appointed board of the Governor in the AZ Constitution. Unless you want to change the Constitution, we are stuck with these technocrats. The SPI has never been anything more than "middle management". IMHO this could have gone to court and Douglas would have been beaten to a pulp by precedent; if the case were not thrown out completely from the beginning. It does make sense, that since the BOE hires people, they, are also, the ones who fire them regarding RECOMMENDATIONS from the SPI. Ultimately, and logically the board does the firing. As far as Common Core goes Douglas never supposed that she could get rid of it just by becoming SPI. If we are going to get rid of Common Core, we will have to do it through legislation; something which Douglas advocated for all along. Now, is the BOE a problem? Are they pro-Common Core? Looks that way. Are we stuck with them for now? Yes. The battles will be many to change things for the better

I don't believe that HB2184 cedes power. Besides, just imagine how it would be if a radical Leftist were in the SPI position (if the SPI could fire anyone they wanted) and the rest of the board were conservatives; mayhem. Even if the Governor appoints anti-Common Core folks to the BOE they still cannot go against the law; and changing a law here and there is a smaller mountain to climb than changing the AZ Constitution. The Leftists have an iron grip on Education in AZ. We have a very long road ahead of us here and the battle has just begun: local school boards, the ASBA, the teacher unions, the crony Construction companies and vendors who profit through no bid contracts, the leviathan of Leftist controlled foundations that wield over $100B to advance their agendas and on and on. IMHO we need to get behind Douglas as the recall effort has all that dark money behind it and we need to get more like minded people into offices at the local state and federal level. Douglas is no traitor. She has always been one of best advocates; one who is continuously embattled

Watch the video of the hearing.  Bradley said clearly that 2184  abdicates authority but "so we don't get out egos involved" or something like that, they agree to go along with 2184.  And what is the difference between a radical leftist SPI and a radical leftist BoE?  There are no cks and balances in this bill.  Ward states the language requires the SPI to implement policy made by the BoE.  There is already similar but different language that leaves the door cracked open on this.  The real problem here is we have a SPI who is not fully qualified for the rigors of the job.  She ran on one issue and one issue only: I'll eliminate common core.  I heard her say that specifically several times.  Once someone said they didn't think she had that authority but she said she did.  Bait and switch?  She needs to show people why we should get behind her if she is going to "abdicate."





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