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Anti-Common Core bills defeated in state Senate

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Five Senate Republicans again helped Democrats kill two bills that would have undermined Common Core.

SB1395 and SB1396 would have allowed school districts to opt out of Common Core and allow them to develop their own learning standards, but they got the same treatment this afternoon as SB1310, which would have gotten rid of Common Core in Arizona. All three bills received preliminary approval in the Committee of the Whole and failed on a final floor vote when Republican Sens. Adam Driggs, John McComish, Bob Worsley, Michele Reagan and Steve Pierce broke ranks.

Common Core, a set of math and English standards the state Board of Education adopted in 2010, has pitted Democrats and moderate Republicans against the more conservative wing of the GOP. The standards, known locally as the Arizona’s College and Career Ready standards, have been adopted in 45 states, and the state board is currently in the process of choosing an achievement test that aligns with the standards.

The Republican argument in the debate over SB1395 and SB1396 centered on local control ceding to a nationalization of education while Democrats argued that previous standards don’t match the quality of Common Core.

Sen. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, said Common Core will lead to complete uniformity in education among the states.
“I would hope that everyone in here take a look because we’re heading down a slippery slope on an assessment that hasn’t even been tested yet,” Crandell said.

A fourth Senate bill, SB1388, which requires school districts to develop their own standards, has not made it to the floor yet. HB2316, a bill that prohibits the state Board of Education or Superintendent of Public Instruction from adopting federally mandated standards or curricula, passed the House March 10 on a partisan line vote of 33 to 22 will be heard Thursday in the Senate Education Committee.

Gov. Jan Brewer is the on record in full support of the standards.

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