Ever since Governor Jan Brewer changed the name of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (ACCS) through Executive Order 2013-08, there are people who actually believe they are different. This political deception was intentional.
Those of us who know better don’t call them "Arizona" standards. We call them what they are: Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
Gov. Brewer can’t change the standards. Here’s why:
The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (NGA Center/CCSSO) own the copyright. Arizona, like every other state that adopted them for a little bit of money, is allowed to add 15% more to the standards. But no changes! Think about it. It is perilous to change them, because the common assessments are developed to test Common Core Standards as they have been written!
We are led to believe by our own State Board of Education that the writing of the standards was "state driven." Who from Arizona was in the driver’s seat? Who were the Arizona classroom teachers and standards development experts who had a hand in writing the final standards in this "state led" project?
The Woefully Unqualified People who Wrote the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
Of the less than 30 writers (aka the "Work Group") of the CCSS , the overwhelming number are from the testing industry: Achieve, Inc.; ACT; and the College Board. Click HERE to see the National Governors Association (NGA) document to see the list for yourself. Classroom teachers had no meaningful role in the development of these standards.
Look at that document again. Was the development of the standards by the "Work Group" transparent? No. According to the National Governors Association (NGA), "The Work Group’s deliberations will be confidential throughout the process."
After the CCSS were written by the "Work Group," were there lots of committees and lots of feedback requested about the standards? Yes. Were the standards rewritten as a result? No. Even Dr. James Milgram, the most qualified member of the Math Validation Committee, who ultimately refused to sign off on them, had to battle with the writers to add Algebra 2.
Here’s a significant clue directly from the NGA’s document about the sham of all that "feedback."
Final decisions regarding the common core standards document will be made by the Standards Development Work Group. The Feedback Group will play an advisory role, not a decision-making role in the process.
Indeed, we are led to believe by our own State Board of Education, Arizona Department of Education, Governor Brewer, John Huppenthal, and many other state leaders that the writing of the standards was "state driven." Who from Arizona was in the driver’s seat? Who were the Arizona classroom teachers and standards development experts who had a hand in writing these standards? Which standards did they write? They might have provided feedback. But that didn’t influence a single pre-written standard.
The Qualified People whose Feedback was Ignored
The real evidence that the people who wrote the standards were woefully unqualified comes from the voices of the teachers, parents, child development experts, and others who have been forced to deal with these standards. If you wonder why you don’t hear from more teachers, it’s because they risk their jobs! They are reassigned, removed from important committees, or they are first ones to be laid off when an override fails.
See below for links to videos, white papers, and other evidence that proves that these top down, lockstep, DC think-tank standards are a travesty from which Arizona must extricate herself. What do we replace them with? Arizona’s previous standards, which were pretty darned good. Pull together an Arizona team to improve them. Do this before the real damage is felt by Arizona’s children.
One Arizona teacher of American History considered the ACCS "suggested readings," and had this to say in her white paper analysis: "The thorns of America’s past teach us and warn us of the horrors of discrimination and inequality,lessons we do not want to repeat and should not repeat. However, if the thorns are the primary lesson taught to the students, are they even going to fully recognize the precious aroma and beauty and of the freedoms they have and what it took to create the foundation on which all of our liberties rest"? See How the Two Align: Common Core State Standards and Heritage Academy’s American History Curriculum.