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Huppenthal: Must stop anti-Common Core “barbarians at the gate”

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal today compared Common Core opponents to “barbarians at the gate’’ and vowed to fight them to preserve the educational standards.

Huppenthal said Arizona cannot allow a repeat in Arizona of what happened in Indiana, which pulled out of the association of 45 states that adopted the standards. The U.S. Department of Education has warned the state it is at risk of losing waivers from No Child Left Behind, which effectively means fewer federal dollars.

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

Huppenthal spoke on a panel at the Arizona Capitol Times’ Morning Scoop.  His chances of losing the election do not appear high:  He said he conducted his own poll from his home of 417 highly likely voters and is up 72 percent to 28 percent on his primary election opponent.

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 and promises to be a litmus test in the primary election in August. The standards were incrementally implemented by grade level and all grades were learning under them in the 2013-14 school year.

Huppenthal’s opponent in the primary election is Diane Douglas, a former member of the Peoria Unified School District governing board whose main platform is abolishing Common Core in Arizona.

Opponents describe the standards as a federal takeover of the education system and an insidious mandate from the Obama administration.

Supporters say the opposition is based mostly on misinformation. They point out that the Common Core standards are not mandatory, and that they were developed largely by states working within the framework of the National Governors Association. States and school districts, supporters say, are still the ones that control curriculum, not the federal government.

Also speaking at the Morning Scoop was Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, who said it is imperative supporters of the standards vote in the Republican primary and support lawmakers who stuck out their necks for education.

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

Several attacks on the standards failed in the 2014 legislative session as a result of a small group of moderate Republicans who teamed up with Democrats in the Senate.

Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, said the state needs to give time to the standards and the host of education reforms adopted in the last few years to see if they work before abandoning them.

“We do not want to change the rules of the game at the 11th hour,” Carter said.


  1. If you really care about quality education, vote for Diane Douglas int he August primary.

  2. I’m afraid it is the barbarians in the capitol that need to be stopped, not the educated voters who are fed up with the outrageous mismanagement of our state as exemplified by the adoption of Common Core. This foolish plan will cause severe financial problems for AZ. The federal dollar hungry Governor pushed this through to be part of her “legacy” but all she did was put us on the path to disaster.

  3. Save Education In Arizona VOTE DIANE DOUGLAS.

  4. It is absolutely federally enforced. Why would federal agents be placed in all schools to guarantee the schools are adhering to the huge profit standards? Why is Arne *** Duncan threatening states that are desperately trying to abort common core with withholding federal education tax dollars? Most are smart enough to see coercion and government lies. Then there are those that will believe whatever the government tells them without doing the research.

  5. So once again we have a Chamber of Commerce owned candidate putting the interest of the Chamber ahead of the good of the people, or in this case, the well being of our children…

  6. “Common Core supporters insist the standards are developmentally appropriate and driven by research”….. “Research” Tells Us: We Came From Monkeys, & Sodomite Is Natural…

  7. Obama-Core is Barbaric

  8. Aren’t we all getting a little sick and tired of our elected officials resorting to name calling and personal attacks?

    This seems to be what happens when someone stays too long in public office.

    He needs to be returned to the private sector.

  9. You can always tell someone that knows nothing about the issue being discussed. Instead of discussing the issue, he engages in name calling. Obviously John Huppenthal does not belong in the office he is holding. It’s apparent that Huppenthal knows nothing about Common Core. By this article he is attempting to defend a program he knows nothing about.

    On the other hand, Diane Douglas does know what Common Core is. She is the clear choice to replace Huppenthal.

  10. 417?!!! Grado should be ashamed to even quote that!!!

  11. So, he wants to keep the LOW educational standards? Liberals amaze me…even reality cannot keep them from changing course in the face of catastrophe. This country in 10 years or less will be total ****.

  12. Ah yes, the Democrat way. Someone doesn’t agree with your often skewed views, call them names!

  13. I cannot believe my beloved home state has come to this. Arizonians really elected this Kool-aid drinker and propagandist, and will elect him again?

    Liberals always respond with personal attacks and no facts. to anyone questioning their actions. It is right out of their script-book, Alinsky’s Rules. Slash and burn, then you do not have to (try to) offer substance. I cannot believe people would elect this guy.

    The Common Core is designed to dumb down everyone to the level of the lowest common denominator. Better students get scolded for not “staying with their group”, the work is much easier, and in time, the lower grade children will never know about achievement, and honors classes, which are going away.

    The new SAT is seriously dumbed down, and remember, we are all supposed to be equal as to being accepted to college and as to accomplishment.

    Huppenthal can quote the NCLB testiing all he wants, the new tests results will go into a Federal database, by each child’s name, and those records will be accumulated and KEPT for the life of the child. They will be able to be accessed by other educational facilities including colleges, also employers, and the government. (So far.) Under the NCLB testing, scores were averaged and the average for each school was sent to the state. It was a report card for the state, no children’s names included.

    Governors were bribed into acceptting the Common Core. They were offered tens of millions of dollars if they agreed to implement it in their state. No money if they refused. A sell-out.

    No teachers, no parents, not even most unions, no nothing involved in creating the Common Core, except Obama, Duncan, and Bill Gates who funded it for $150 Million. Oh, and rumors are that Bill Ayers had a hand in it – remember this American terrorist, who hates this country, and teaches future teachers at the University of Chicago.

    Ayers, claims by the way, that he wrote Obama’s second book, and if you read them both, you know that the writing style of the second book was far superior to that of the first.

  14. Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, said the state needs to give time to the standards and the host of education reforms adopted in the last few years to see if they work before abandoning them.
    “We do not want to change the rules of the game at the 11th hour,” Carter said.

    That’s right. We need to continue to see if an untested program will work on the captive laboratory kids….we just need more time is all. Meanwhile, who gives a **** about the kids going through this untested system right now, right? We will have a lost generation just to benefit BIG EDUBUSINESS and the kickbacks to politicians that are pushing this latest boondoggle. No different than administering untested vaccines on kids.

    As far as Huppenthal’s arrogant statement about us barbarians, it’s par for the course for our elitist government officials who serve themselves and not the people. He needs to go.

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