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Higher academic standards = a stronger economy

Mike Huckins

Mike Huckins

With the noise of HB2190 now in our rearview mirror, we can now focus on student achievement.

High academic standards are here to stay in Arizona, at least for now, as Arizona lawmakers defeated yet another effort to prohibit the state from using the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards (ACCRS). The state Senate recently voted 16-13 to kill legislation that would have required the state Board of Education to scrap the academic standards it approved in 2010 and completely start over.

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce supports higher education standards and welcomes the review and improvements to the ACCRS as Governor Ducey has asked the State Board of Education to conduct. Higher academic standards are a good thing for a number of reasons. Not only do higher standards prepare students for wherever their dreams take them, but they will also be more internationally competitive and be a key part of a skilled workforce.  Approximately 88 percent of Arizona’s employers say current employees need higher levels of learning and deeper knowledge in order to be effective and efficient workers. Higher education standards also have a direct correlation to a stronger economy, providing greater financial and economic opportunity for everyone.

Higher academic standards are what children need to be competitive in the world job market. These standards require Arizona’s students to be more knowledgeable, better critical thinkers and problem solvers. The chamber welcomes the Board of Education’s review and modification of the standards as needed. It really just makes more sense for the Board of Education to do that rather than the Legislature.

–  Mike Huckins is  vice president of public affairs at the  Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.


  1. Mike,

    Where can I review the data you used for “higher standards prepare students?” Can you provide information from a documented case that shows a pupil who was part of standardized assessments and that their current employment position is due to that testing?

  2. The research is exactly opposite to what Mr. Huckins asserts. In fact, those who testified in favor of HB2190 know far more about this issue than Mr. Huckins ever will. In its 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well are American Students Learning? Tom Loveless, senior fellow at Brookings Institute (a left-leaning think tank, not a bunch of right wing tinfoil hat teabaggers), concluded. “The quality of the Common Core standards is currently being hotly debated, but the Common Core will have little to no effect on student achievement.” In fact, he stated, “The quality of past curriculum standards has been unrelated to achievement.” The point is this: The further away we get from three things: 1) A committed parent; 2) A disciplined child, and 3) An effective teacher, the worse student achievement becomes. Here’s the link to the Brookings reports: http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2012/02/16-brown-education http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/newsletters/0216_brown_education_loveless.pdf.

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