Arizona governor calls for review of Common Core standards

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 24, 2015 2:37 AM

(Reuters) - Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey on Monday called on his state's education board to review the Common Core education standards "in their entirety."

The move comes amid a growing backlash against the standards, which aim to boost critical-thinking skills and apply consistency to a patchwork of state guidelines, as schools have adjusted their course work to meet them.

Ducey, who was voted into office in November, made the remarks to the Arizona State Board of Education as he outlined his education policy agenda.

Ducey has opposed the Common Core, describing it as an overreach of the federal government, but he did not call for its repeal on Monday, according to a transcript of the remarks published on his office's website.

Instead, he directed the board to review the "English Language Arts and Mathematics standards in their entirety to ensure that our children are well served by the standards you develop—with full transparency. Standards that are Arizona's."

The Common Core was developed and implemented by states, and the Obama administration encouraged their adoption through a competitive-grant program called Race to the Top, which gave money to cash-strapped states.

Arizona was among the 45 states and the District of Columbia to enact them in 2010. Supporters say the consistent set of learning metrics from kindergarten through high school will help students graduate college or career-ready.

Several Republican-led states have dropped the standards in recent months, including Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who is widely viewed as holding presidential aspirations, sued the U.S. Department of Education last August over the metrics.

Common Core has also come under fire from some left-leaning groups, who argue it increases reliance on standardized testing and discourages creativity and flexibility in the classroom.

Ducey said that parents, teachers and education experts should be included in the review, and any improvements to the standards uncovered during the process should be adopted.

"We can learn from others, but at the end of the day the standards need to come from Arizona and they need to help us achieve our objectives," Ducey said.

The Arizona Republic newspaper reported that Board President Greg Miller said he would schedule immediate reviews of the state's standards.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco)