238 Education Data Bills Hit State Capitols in 2018 So Far

Photo credit: Nick Youngson (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Data Quality Campaign (not our ally in the fight against data mining) provided a snapshot of the number of education data bills hitting state capitol buildings near you.

They report there are 238 bills related to education data this year so far, and less than a third (70) have anything to do with protecting student data privacy.

They highlight bills before state legislators this year where they are trying to “make data work for students.”

Addressing inequities and underserved students’ needs

Echoing national conversations about disciplinary disparities and the unique needs of traditionally underserved students, numerous state bills this year target the reporting of data to address education inequities. For example:

  • Tennessee is considering a bill (HB 2651) to establish a commission on the school-to-prison pipeline. The commission would submit a report to the legislature including school discipline data and policy recommendations to implement restorative justice practices.
  • Indiana has a new law (HB 1314) requiring a report on how the state’s homeless students and students in foster care fare in school and how these students could be better supported.

Informing policy decisions and meeting state goals

Nearly 100 bills considered so far in 2018 have focused on how state policymakers themselves can use aggregate data to make policy decisions or meet their state’s education goals. For example:

  • California has introduced a bill (SB 1224) to create a state longitudinal data system (SLDS) with student data from kindergarten enrollment to workforce entry—a system that could help inform education policies across the state.
  • Mississippi considered a bill (HB 405) to use the state’s education data system to better understand the state’s workforce needs.

Empowering the public with more information

Over 60 bills this year would require states to publicly report more, or more useful and accessible, information about their schools. For example:

  • New Jersey is considering a bill (A 2192) to include data on chronic absence and disciplinary suspensions on school report cards.
  • Arizona is considering a bill (SB 1411) to create a new dashboard as part of the state’s school achievement profiles with new data on academic progress and school quality.

Empowering educators and families with student data

In years past, legislators have not frequently used legislation to give educators and parents secure access to their own student’s data. This year is seeing some more legislative activity on this important priority. For example:

  • Louisiana is considering a bill (SB 107) to ensure that teachers receive student-level assessment results in a format that is easy to understand and includes longitudinal student data if possible.
  • Massachusetts is considering a bill (S 40) that would create an electronic data “backpack” program for foster youth. The backpack would contain a student’s education record and would be available to the adults authorized to make decisions for that student.

The best way to “make data work for students” is to not collect it without parental knowledge and consent and to keep it at the local school level with the teachers where it could possibly do some good. The problem is, evidenced by the Louisiana bill, when data gets collected it heads to the state (and the feds and who knows what other third parties) who don’t teach the kids and have no business having that data.

Arizona House Bill Would Require High School Juniors to Take ACT or SAT

Photo Credit: Ken Lund (CC-By-SA 2.0)

This week, HB 2037, a bill filed in the Arizona House of Representatives, if passed would not require high school juniors to take AzMerit or the AIMS Science test. Instead, they would take a college-readiness exam like ACT or SAT.

The bill sponsor is Arizona State Representative Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek) who represents Arizona Legislative District 15. He serves on the Arizona House Appropriations Committee, the vice-chairman for the Arizona House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, and the Chair of the Arizona House Health Committee.

The pertinent bill language reads:





The bill has been assigned to the Arizona House Rules Committee.

AZCentral.com reported on the bill prior to it being filed:

House Bill 2037, introduced on Dec. 18 by Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, would eliminate the state requirements that juniors take the AzMERIT test and the science portion of the AIMS test. Instead, they would have to take the SAT or ACT during school hours.

Students wouldn’t have to get a certain score on the tests in order to graduate.

Carter said the low stakes of AzMERIT result in students not trying very hard on the tests, and believes requiringcollege-readiness exams insteadwould set them up for success.

“Universities and scholarship programs seek out those students that do well,” she said.

The goal of AzMERIT is to provide insight into a student’s educational growth.Carter said such a goal is wasted on students taking the test during their junior year since they typically receive results their senior year.

At that point, she said,the college-readiness exams would serve them better.

Furthermore, she said,providing the ACT or SAT tests free to students during school hours and making them compulsory would dramatically increase the number of students who take the test.

The bill itself does not specify which exam juniors would have to take. Presumably the state board would create rules outlining which assessments are allowed. The SAT, run by the College Board, has fully aligned their test to the Common Core State Standards.

ACT initially announced they would align to the Common Core, but has not done so as of yet with their college-entrance exam. In a 2012 white paper they would not make the claim ACT was aligned to Common Core, only that they shared research with those developing Common Core. ACT also developed an assessment, ACT Aspire, for use as a statewide assessment for use with states that use Common Core. They have also developed a social-emotional learning assessment. Interestingly enough, in 2016, ACT critiqued Common Core saying it did not reflect college readiness in some aspects.

Even so, may parents and activists are leery of ACT because of their initial involvement with the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

It’s unclear whether students could use alternatives like The Classic Learning Test or Vector ARC instead of SAT or ACT. If it has to be a choice between SAT or ACT, I’d encourage parents to choose ACT. ACT is still somewhat a wild card, but we know the SAT is all in with Common Core.

All of this is a moot point if the bill doesn’t pass though.

Do Low Scores Demonstrate Excellence?

The Arizona Daily Sun ran an editorial on Sunday calling for the state not to abandon “excellence” as a result of low test scores.

They summarized their view this way, “The Common Core represents a sea change in problem-solving and critical thinking that will take more time, teacher resources and community support to master.”

They then wrote:

The intervening years have dimmed the criticism somewhat as students, teachers and parents in early-adopter districts and states have adapted to solving math word problems and using critical thinking on texts instead of filling in multiple-guess answer sheets. The creators of the tests – top educators from all 50 states — predicted it would take five years or more for the sea change in teaching and learning to be reflected in majority pass rates, and that was about right in states like New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Arizona is in its third year of the tests for its Common Core-like curriculum, and overall pass rates remain below 50 percent (see the results by school and grade for the Flagstaff area on Page A8). It has phased them in gradually with no high-stakes pressure: The tests are not needed for graduation, and only third-graders who score at the very bottom of the reading test risk being held back.

They also leveled criticism at Diane Douglas, Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction:

State Schools Superintendent Diane Douglas, who ran on a platform of ill-informed opposition to Common Core as something written by the feds (it wasn’t), reacted to the latest scores by criticizing the tests as unrealistic and recommending they be made optional. We’d be more willing to listen if she suggested something to take the place of Common Core and its tests, but since she hasn’t, it’s a good thing local education advocates stand poised to fill the state leadership vacuum.

This editorial presumes a few things. First, it presumes that Common Core represents “excellence” when there is absolutely no data to back that up. Second, it presumes the “sea change” in Massachusetts is the same as what they are trying to accomplish in Arizona. Massachusetts’ reform (I’m not sure what they are referring to with New York and North Carolina) was the result of a number of reforms, as well as, quality content standards. Common Core does not reflect that. Third, they presume that the state superintendent should call for a particular replacement. Didn’t a top-down approach get them into trouble in the first place?

When scores go down or remain stagnant does not demonstrate excellence. All they have to do is look at what is happening with ACT scores to see Common Core is not living up to its promises.

(2nd Update) 2017 Legislation on Standards, Assessments, and Data Privacy

States with relevant legislation.

Updated on 2/21/17 – see Kentucky and West Virginia.

A couple years ago I published a list of active bills in various statehouses related to Common Core and its aligned assessments. Over the two years I just included a tag for a particular year’s bills so people could click on that to check on the bills that we had written on. Needless to say we didn’t keep up very well so I’m bringing this back.

This is a list that I will update of filed legislation in state houses across the United States dealing with academic standards, local control, assessments and data privacy. My intention is just to give a bill number, a link to the bill, and a brief description of the bill and the last action on the bill. Inclusion on this list does not mean we support the particular bill, but only that our readers in each state should be aware of it, read it, and decide whether they should support or oppose it.  I plan to keep this list as updated as possible. Individual write-ups on different bills can be found at “2017 Bills.” If I missed a bill just shoot me an email with the bill number at info@truthinamericaneducation.com.


SB1314 – A bill that seeks to tighten student data privacy. Last action: Passed out of Senate Education Committee.


HB06839 – An Act Concerning A Review And Report On The Implementation Of The Student Data Privacy Act. Last action: Referred to the Joint Committee on Education.

HB06769 – To amend the student data privacy act of 2016. Last action: Referred to Joint Committee on Education.

There are several identical bills related to allowing a one year delay in the implementation of the Student Data Privacy Act of 2016. Here is one example.


S 0584 – Authorizing certain students to be eligible for an alternative pathway to a standard high school diploma; requiring a school district to establish an Alternative Pathway to Graduation Review Committee for certain students; requiring each district school board to ensure certain instruction, to waive certain assessment results, and to administer a hard copy of the grade 10 ELA assessment or the statewide, standardized Algebra I EOC assessment for certain students, etc. Last action: Filed.


SB 0536 – Replaces the ISTEP test program with an assessment program using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills or the Iowa Tests of Educational Development, as appropriate for the grade level being tested. Repeals a statute establishing the ISTEP program citizens’ review committee. Repeals a provision defining the ISTEP program. Repeals an expiration provision. Makes conforming amendments. Last action: Assigned to Senate Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.

HB1003 – Replaces the ISTEP test program after June 30, 2018, with a new statewide assessment program to be known as Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN). Repeals a provision defining the ISTEP program. Makes conforming amendments. Last action: Referred to the House Committee on Education.


HB0332 – Amends the School Code to add provisions concerning student data privacy. Amends the Illinois School Student Records Act. Makes changes to the definition provisions. Sets forth provisions allowing disclosure of student records to researchers at an accredited post-secondary educational institution or an organization conducting research if specified requirements are met. Amends the Children’s Privacy Protection and Parental Empowerment Act to change the definition of “child” to mean a person under the age of 18 (instead of 16). Last action: Referred to the House Judiciary-Civil Committee.


HJR 3 – A constitutional amendment that proposes “to provide home rule powers and authority for school districts.” Last action: Introduced into the House Education Committee (My write-up)

HF 26 – The bill authorizes a school board to exercise any broad or implied power, not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly, related to the operation, control, and supervision of the public schools located within its district boundaries. Last action: Assigned a subcommittee. (My write-up)

SF 30 – This bill eliminates references and requirements to the Iowa Common Core or core curriculum or core content standards in the Iowa Code, but continues to direct the state board of education to adopt high school graduation requirements and assessment standards. It also creates a new task force for the development of a new assessment. Last action: assigned to subcommittee. (My write-up)

HF 139 – Requires any statewide assessment to be developed by the Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) at the University of Iowa. It would prohibit the use of Smarter Balanced or PARCC as a statewide, mandatory assessment. Last action: assigned to subcommittee. (My write-up)

HF 140 – Makes the Common Core math and English language arts (ELA) standards that have been adopted into the Iowa Core voluntary for Iowa’s public and state accredited non-public schools. Repeals Next Generation Science Standards. Last action: introduced into the House Education Committee. (My write-up)

SSB 1001 – Repeals the requirement for the State Board of Education to adopt rules requiring a statewide assessment starting in July 1, 2017 that is aligned to the Iowa Common Core Standards. Last action: Before Senate Education Committee.


SB 1 – This bill would establish new learning standards and evaluation procedures for schools and teachers. Last action: Passed Kentucky Senate 35-0 (see write-up).


LD412 – An Act To Require the Completion of Courses of Study in Home Economics and Industrial Arts Education Prior to Graduation from High School. Last action: N/A

LD 322 – An Act To Reintroduce Civics to High School Graduation Requirements. Last action: Passed House, referred to Senate Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

LD49 – Requires the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last action: Passed by the House, being considered by the Senate.


HB 705 – Authorizing a parent or guardian of a child with a disability who is nonverbal to refuse to allow the child to participate in a Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment or its equivalent in a public school; and requiring that the refusal be documented in the Individualized Education Program of the child. Last action: Assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 461 – Requiring the State Board of Education to adopt regulations limiting the amount of time in the aggregate that may be devoted to federal, State, and locally mandated assessments for each grade to 2% of the specified minimum required annual instructional hours; prohibiting time devoted to teacher-selected classroom quizzes and exams, portfolio reviews, or performance assessments from being counted toward the specified testing time limits; etc. Last action: Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.


HB 4192 – Education; curriculum; implementation of certain curriculum standards and assessments in place of common core curriculum standards and assessments in this state; require. Amends 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1 – 380.1852) by adding secs. 1278e & 1278f. Last action: Referred to the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee and will have a hearing on 2/15/17.

SB 0081 – Education; curriculum; implementation of certain curriculum standards and assessments in place of common core curriculum standards and assessments in this state; require. Amends sec. 1278 of 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1278) & adds secs. 1278e, 1278f & 1278. Last action: Before Senate Government Operations Committee.


HB502 – An Act To Prohibit The State Board Of Education From Making Application To The United States Department Of Education Seeking A Waiver Or Request For Funding That Would Require A Revision Of The State Subject Matter Curriculum Aligned With The K-12 Common Core State Standards Developed By The Common Core State Standards Initiative; To Authorize The Board To Request Authority From The United States Department Of Education To Revise Curriculum Requirements That Condition Receipt Of Funding Or Waivers Upon The Board’s Action To Revise The Curriculum To Align With The K-12 Common Core State Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee

SB2035 – An Act To Provide That Beginning With The 2017-2018 School Year The State Board Of Education Shall Replace The Common Core State Standards With The Ela Standards In Place In Several States; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

SB2593 – An Act To Provide That Beginning With The 2017-2018 School Year The State Board Of Education Shall Replace The Common Core State Standards With The Ela Standards In Place In Several States; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB357 – An Act To Provide For The Repeal Of The Common Core State Standards Curriculum Adopted By The State Board Of Education And To Prohibit Any Further Implementation Or Use Of Such Standards; To Restrict The Use Of The Partnership For Assessment Of Readiness For College And Careers (parcc), Or Any Other Assessment Related To Or Based On The Common Core State Standards, As The Required Assessment Required Under The Statewide Testing Program; To Require The State Superintendent Of Public Education And The State Board Of Education To Initiate Procedures To Withdraw From The Parcc Consortium; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum And Academic Content Standards; To Provide That No Curriculum Standards Developed Outside The State Of Mississippi May Be Adopted Or Implemented Without Public Hearings Held In Each Congressional District, A One-year Open Comment Period And Open Hearings Before A Joint Committee Composed Of The House And Senate Education Committees, Followed By An Act Of The Legislature; To Impose Restrictions Upon The State Department Of Education With Regards To The Expenditure Of Certain Funds And Disclosing Personally Identifiable Information Pertaining To Students And Teachers; To Amend Section 37-1-3, Mississippi Code Of 1972, In Conformity Thereto; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

SB2581 – An Act To Authorize And Direct Public School Districts To Allow Parents And Legal Guardians Of Enrolled Students To Opt Out Of Common Core Aligned Curricula, Certain Student Data And The Release Of Information Concerning Their Children’s Personal Beliefs; To Prescribe A Form For The Student Privacy Protection Opt-out Request By The Parent Or Legal Guardian; To Direct The State Board Of Education To Issue Regulations Consistent With The Student Data Confidentiality Provisions Of This Act; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB279 – An Act To Prohibit The State Board Of Education And The State Department Of Education From Taking Any Further Action To Implement The Common Core And Mississippi College And Career Readiness Standards; To Require The State Board Of Education To Adhere To Pre-existing Procedures Under Its Apa To Review And Revise Our Curriculum Standards As Applicable Within Our Board Policies Beginning With Mathematics And English In 2017; To Prohibit The State Board And State Department Of Education From Expending Certain Federal Funds To Track Students Beyond Their K-12 Education And To Distribute Certain Student Identifiable Information; To Amend Section 37-17-6, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Delete References To Common Core And To Delete The Requirement That The State Department Of Education Form A Single Accountability System By Combining The State System With The Federal System; To Bring Forward Section 37-177-5, Mississippi Code Of 1972, For The Purpose Of Possible Amendments; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB601 – An Act To Create New Section 37-16-2, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Require The State Board Of Education To Contract With A Single Entity For The Development And Administration Of The Act Aspire Assessment Components As The Comprehensive Statewide Assessment Program For Public School Students In Grades 3-10 As Well As Algebra I And English Ii, Which Is Aligned To The Mississippi College And Career-ready Standards; To Require The State Department Of Education To Provide A Job Skills Assessment System That Allows Students To Earn A Nationally Recognized Career Readiness Certificate Credentialing Workplace Employability Skills; To Require The Act Aspire As The Statewide Assessment Program To Be Fully Implemented In All Public Schools In The 2017-2018 School Year; To Amend Sections 37-16-1, 37-16-3, 37-16-4, 37-16-5, 37-16-7, 37-16-9 And 37-16-17, Mississippi Code Of 1972, Which Relate To The Statewide Testing Program, And Sections 37-3-49, 37-15-38, 37-17-6, 37-18-1, 37-18-3, 37-20-5, 37-20-7 And 37-28-45, Mississippi Code Of 1972, In Conformity To The Preceding Provisions Of This Act; To Prohibit The State Board Of Education From Contracting With Any Entity For The Development Of A Statewide Assessment Whose Alignment Of Curriculum And Testing Standards Are In Compliance With The Partnership For Assessment Of Readiness For College And Careers (parcc) Without Express Legislative Authority; To Amend Section 37-16-11, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Provide For The Issuance Of A Standard Diploma To Certain Exceptional Children With Intellectual Impairments Who Have Ieps Upon Meeting The Educational Requirements Of Their Iep And Those Established By The State Board Of Education; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

There are additional bills, some are repetitive, they have all been killed in committee.

New Hampshire

SB 44 – Prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards. Last action: Before Senate Education Committee.

HB 207 – Prohibiting the implementation of common core in public elementary and secondary schools. Last action: Hearing scheduled for 2/14/17.

New Jersey

A2650 – Requires high school students to be assessed using college placement cut scores to determine readiness for college-level course work, and Commissioner of Education to develop plan to improve college and career counseling for students. Last action: To Assembly Higher Education Committee.

A10121 – Requires school districts and charter schools to annually provide to parents or guardians of enrolled students information on certain tests to be administered during the school year. Last action: Referred to Assembly Education Committee.

New Mexico

HB211 – Requires the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last Action: Referred to House Education Committee.

New York

A03702/S03912 – Requires disclosure of testing items in Common Core tests given in New York (50% after the first year the test is given, full disclosure after the second year.) Last action: Assigned to the Assembly Education Committee.

A01098 – Establishes the common core state standards evaluation task force for the purpose of studying the implementation of the common core state standards; requires such task force report to the Governor and Legislature. Last action: Referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

A01719 – Relates to teacher evaluations and implementation of the common core learning standards. Last action: Assigned to Assembly Education Committee.

S02091 – Enacts the common core parental refusal act. Last action: Assigned to Senate Education Committee.

A03644 – Relates to creating the commission on exceptional standards for New York state. Last action: Assigned to Assembly Education Committee.

A03623 – Relates to the common core state standards initiative. Last action: Referred to Assembly Education Committee.

S01942 – Allows parents, legal guardians or school districts to opt children with an individualized education program out of the “common core standards” and certain testing. Last action: Referred to Senate Education Committee.

A02312 – Relates to establishing the standardized testing transparency act; makes an appropriation therefor. Last action: Referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

North Dakota

HB 1432 – Repeals Common Core. Last action: Reported back, do not pass, placed on calendar (My write-up on the bill is here)


HB2368 – Prohibits Department of Education from requiring school districts to align instruction or assessments with common core state standards and from penalizing school districts for failure to align instruction or assessments with common core state standards. Declares emergency, effective July 1, 2017. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB2587 – Modifies state educational goals to take into consideration students’ aspirations, to provide students with well-rounded education and to provide students with sufficient instructional time to meet students’ educational goals. Expands state’s mission of education beyond high school. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB 2229 – Requires school districts to offer instruction in financial literacy. Directs school districts and public charter schools to offer sufficient instruction in financial literacy to ensure that every student who elects to receive instruction in financial literacy is able to receive instruction. Takes effect July 1, 2018. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

South Dakota

SB 126 – This bill requires the South Dakota Department of Education to use a competitive bidding process when acquiring academic assessments.


SB 605 – Allows public review and removal of Common Core-aligned curriculum. Last action: Filed.

HB 1069 – Relating to compliance with prohibitions regarding the use of common core state standards in public schools. Last action: Filed.


HB1012 – Eliminating the use of the high school science assessment as a graduation prerequisite. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB 1046 – Eliminates requirement to pass state assessments to graduate. Allows multiple options. Last action: Referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB 1415 – To simplify existing state assessment requirements and administer the ACT test as the statewide high school assessment for reading or language arts, mathematics, and science; and (2) For the administration of the ACT test to be for federal accountability purposes and does not intend for the ACT test to be used in determining whether a student is eligible to graduate from high school. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB1793 – Increasing academic rigor and streamlining assessment requirements for high school students. (This bill entrenches Smarter Balanced in Washington.) Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

SB 5202/HB 1572 – Directs OSPI to seek approval of using SAT or ACT in place of the SBAC assessments. If approved by the feds, the ELA/Math and Science portions of the national tests can be used in place for graduation purposes. SBE sets the cutoff score for passing. Last action: Referred to each chamber’s education committee.

SB5673/HB1886 – Moves the responsiblity for setting standards and assessments from the Washington State Board of Education to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Last action: Referred to each chamber’s education committee.

West Virginia

HB 2144 – A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-1A-1, §18-1A-2, §18-1A-3, §18-1A-4 and §18-1A-5, all relating to academic content standards in public schools; discontinuing and prohibiting the use of Common Core academic content standards; adopting alternative academic content standards; discontinuing the use of Common Core based assessments; establishing a committee and process for developing alternate statewide assessments of student progress; prohibiting the state board or any public school from sharing student data without parental consent; and prohibiting acceptance of federal funding if such funding is conditioned upon sharing student data without parental consent. Last action: Referred to the House of Delegate’s Education and Finance Committees.

SB 18 – This would change West Virginia’s assessment from Smarter Balanced to ACT (for 11th graders) and ACT Aspire (for 3rd-8th graders). Last action: Referred to the Senate Education and Finance committees.

HB 2443 – This bill repeals Common Core and replaces it with the 2001 Massachusetts ELA Standards and the 2005 California math standards. Last action: Referred to the House Education and Finance Committees


HB0008 – AN ACT relating to education; amending requirements of state data security plan to ensure privacy of student data collected; requiring policies for the collection, access, privacy, security and use of student data by school districts; accordingly requiring school districts to adopt and enforce policies for the collection, access, privacy, security and use of student data; and providing for an effective date. Last action: Passed House, referred to Senate Education Committee

New Arizona Standards?

Activists on the ground are calling the new Arizona standards just approved by the Arizona State Board of Education a rebranding of Common Core.

They are also concerned about the lack of transparency since they had the understanding there would be another month to review standards.

The Common Core has been revised in Arizona, and unfortunately whenever Common Core is the starting point for new standards what you will get is a rebranding. That’s not to say there are not significant changes, as there were with New York’s rewrite. Unfortunately New York’s changes appear to be more comprehensive than what we see in Arizona.

The Arizona Republic reports about some of the changes:

Cursive writing appears to be the biggest change in terms of what things kids will be required to learn. There’s been unanimous support for making cursive writing a requirement.

Beyond that, many of the revisions had to do with changing the phrasing of the actual standards that, while unassuming to the average person, are meant to give teachers more freedom over how to teach their students.

Some phrases that appear to instruct teachers how to teach a certain standard were changed. As were phrasings that appeared too vague or unclear.

For example, one phrase in the first-grade reading standards that said students should know how to ask and answer questions about key details in a text was expanded to include the “who, what, when, why and how about key details in a text.”

Educators who worked on the revisions said parts of them have been restructured so that parents can clearly see how the reading and math skills learned in one grade are expanded on in the next.

The revisions will be reflected on AzMERIT, the state’s standardized test, in 2018.

Most of the actual requirements in the standards remain unchanged.

Standards to learn time and money, the high school standards are ordered differently to reflect Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. There are also additional standards added to the high school standards that are not required for graduation so I assume they will not end up on AZMerit.

So there has been some technical changes, but as far as I can see most of the foundational problems still exist. The early elementary standards are still age-inappropriate. There is still an over emphasis on informational text. The math standards still do not adequately prepare students for STEM programs in college.

It’s unfortunate that Superintendent Diane Douglas, who campaigned on ending Common Core, put her stamp of approval on this process and these standards. It is also disconcerting that these standards were voted on instead of allowing an additional month of review and public comment. Arizona can do better than this.

Read the final draft of Arizona’s ELA and Math standards.

Grading Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Common Core

Doug Ducey at a campaign rally in Phoenix, AZ.Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Doug Ducey at a campaign rally in Phoenix, AZ.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Editor’s note: Below is a Common Core report card on Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ) complied by Lisa Hudson, an attorney and mother who is a leader fighting Common Core with Arizonans Against Common Core.

1. Has he spoken out and acted against Common Core?

Governor Ducey’s 2014 campaign platform mirrored that of every Republican gubernatorial candidate across the country; the economy, jobs, immigration, and shrinking government, to name a few.  The most hotly contested issue on the would-be governor’s platform was the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the impact of federal government intrusion in matters of local authority.  It was an issue that had the potential to make or break a candidate’s campaign, and it remains an issue that will impact a governor’s legacy.  Common Core had divided voters on both sides of the political spectrum, and the aspiring governor’s position was clear.  He opposed Common Core and was going to do something about it.

At every opportunity along the campaign trail, then-candidate Ducey expressed his anti-Common Core sentiments.  His website lauded plans to “…. resist overreach from the federal government, including Common Core, and protect our schools from federal intrusion into the state and local responsibility of local education.”

As Ducey stumped through Arizona in quest of the governorship, he used anti-Common Core rhetoric to boost his popularity and lead him to a comfortable win.  Unfortunately, that was the last voters heard of “overreach” and “federal intrusion”.  Almost immediately, the freshly minted governor appointed Common Core cheerleader Lisa Graham Keegan to his subcommittee on education.  He also appointed Matthew Ladner to the subcommittee.  Ladner is a close associate of Jeb Bush, whose stance on Common Core was an albatross around his neck throughout his failed bid for the Republican Party presidential nomination.

Now, more than a year later, the Governor looks more like an establishment Republican politician who won’t publically embrace national standards, but hasn’t exactly fought valiantly against them.  Politicians have short memories when it comes to campaign promises.  Ducey, who had no real political experience until his run for Treasurer in 2010, seems no different.

In March 2015, legislation was proposed to repeal and replace the already beleaguered Common Core.  HB2190 passed in the House, and the Senate Education Committee.  The bill had strong support from parents, teachers, and, obviously, legislators.  Governor Ducey, however, came out against HB2190, going so far as saying he would not support a legislative effort to eliminate the standards.

“I don’t think that legislation is necessary because we’re going to fix what’s wrong with these standards,” Ducey told reporters after speaking before the state Board of Education, referring to Common Core as a “distraction.”  Not surprisingly, the bill died in the Senate following a 16-13 vote.  In the end, Common Core survived at the hands of Governor Ducey.

To appease the vocal bill supporters, and because standards “review” remains the soup du jour of governors throughout the country, Ducey ordered the State Board of Education to “redevelop” statewide academic standards and assessments.  An Education Standards Development Committee was created with instructions from the Governor: “Begin by reviewing 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 standards.  In any instance during your review you find situations where Arizona standards can outperform or improve our current standards, I ask you recommend replacement immediately.”

Curiously, on the same day Ducey made the token gesture to review standards, he told reporters that Arizona would keep the AzMERIT; the standardized test adopted by the Board of Education to assess students on the Common Core standards.  “AzMERIT is going to be in all our schools,” he said. “And it’s going to continue to be in all our schools.”  He suggested the vocal objections to the standards were, “misdirected and mistaken.”

Ducey’s comments back-peddled from his original anti- Common Core rhetoric and dug Arizona deeper into an education quagmire.  While he came out of the blocks solidly opposed to Common Core, and later ordered a review of the standards, nothing has been done to move the process forward and parents remain under considerable stress as testing season begins again.  The conflicting messages bear significantly on his score.

Grade:  D+

2. Does he understand and has he made a specific commitment to protect state and local control of education from further federal intrusion?

Anything Governor Ducey has done or said since taking office has been little more than lip service.  Ducey wanted Washington out of local education decision making but overlooked (ignored?) an early opportunity to cancel Arizona’s Memorandum of Understanding with the National Governor’s Association (NGA), and the Chief Counsel of State School Officers (CCSSO), signed by then-Governor Jan Brewer, and former Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne.  While the point is now moot pursuant to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it highlights the Governor’s tendency to tread water on the issue and keep Arizona bound to the Common Core machine.

With the bell tolled on HB2190, Governor Ducey ordered the creation of the Standards Development Committee (see above), but failed to put a timeline in place for completion of the review.  At a recent meeting of committee members, Arizona Department of Education representative, Carol Lippert, stated that they are “. . . only now starting on the standards,” and have “…really just begun to do the revision.”  One year later, the committee’s failure to carry out the Governor’s order is obstructionist.  Governor Ducey is aware no progress has been made yet has withheld public comment.  His silence is deafening: Common Core is going nowhere fast.

On a side note, in March 2015, a little known bill passed unanimously in the Senate.  Ostensibly, the bill was designed to add a small business owner to the governor’s Regulatory Review Council.  A floor amendment in the Senate expanded the governor’s authority to remove board and commission appointees – including those previously appointed by other governors and whose jobs were protected by the length of their terms.  The bill, signed in to law by the governor in April 2015, makes the members of government entities at-will employees; including the State Board of Education.

Daniel Scarpinato, Ducey’s Deputy Chief of Staff, said, “Ultimately the governor is held to account for the conduct and performance of these boards and commissions, so it stands to reason that he has the ability to get rid of bad apples.”

If ever there was a bad apple on a state board, it would be the President of the State Board of Education and appointee of former Governor Jan Brewer, Greg Miller.  Miller sat on the Board of Education when the standards were adopted.  He has been a staunch (and caustic) proponent ever since, breeding hostility between board members and fighting to maintain Common Core at every turn.

Governor Ducey, despite statutory authority, has not removed the virulent Miller.  In fact, there are currently three open seats on the State Board of Education to which the Governor needs to make appointments.  It’s unclear why he hasn’t filled the positions, but his failure to do so begs the question: what, exactly, is he hoping to avoid?

The current legislative session has been equally disappointing for voters who trusted the Governor’s promises.  Strongly backed by voters, SB1455 would have allowed a parental opt out of state standardized testing without subjecting parents and/or students to punitive actions.  The bill died on the senate floor, but has been brought back for reconsideration.  Sources say Governor Ducey will veto the bill if it lands on his desk, which has made it difficult to secure the necessary votes.  This isn’t the first education bill to die a mysterious death once the Governor hints he won’t sign it.

Another education bill proposes to override the will of the voters and strip power from Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas, under the guise of “clarifying” duties.  There is no love lost between the establishment Governor and a Superintendent who has been very proactive in her mission to remove Common Core from the state and reinstate local control. After legislative maneuvering, a new bill number, and a 20-page amendment, the bill was released to the House Education Committee after subtle pressure from both the Senate President and the Governor’s office, according to sources.  The bill has since been held in committee after it was vehemently opposed by voters.  But given the bad blood brewing between Ducey and the one person who has publically called him out for his failure to fight federal intrusion in education, no one will be surprised if it eventually resurfaces.

Governor Ducey has continued to disappoint his constituents and can no longer be seen as friendly to the grassroots effort to remove the standards and maintain local control of education.  If anything, his actions paint him as strongly in favor of Common Core despite claims to the contrary.  Looking ahead, the Next Generation Science Standards have been released by the CCSSO and the NGA.  Arizona has not adopted them as of this writing.  Whether Governor Ducey takes a stand against adoption of another Common Core standard, or whether he will contine to tread water remains to be seen.

Grade:  D+

3. What efforts has the Governor made to protect student and family privacy interests against the rising demands of industry and central planners for more personal student data?

Governor Ducey has done nothing to protect students and their families from data collection and release of personally identifiable information.  Not just a little nothing.  A lot of nothing.

In April 2015, a group of grassroots lobbyists met with the Governor to put together a plan to remove the Common Core standards from Arizona.  During that meeting, Governor Ducey was questioned about the Arizona Department of Education’s ongoing release of student personally identifiable information (PII) to third parties without parental consent.  The governor seemed generally uninformed on the issue, but promised to investigate.

About two months later, the governor spoke at a luncheon of southern Arizona constituents and afterwards made himself available for questions.  Referring back to the April meeting, I personally asked the governor what actions, if any, he had taken to protect the privacy of Arizona students and their parents from the release of their private, personal information.  Governor Ducey dodged the question by pointing the finger of responsibility at another un-named “duly elected official.”  It didn’t take algorithms or data points to identify the official about whom he was speaking, or to recognize how uncomfortable the question made him in a room full of his constituents, most of them parents and grandparents.  Suffice it to say, an investigation has not taken place.

The Governor has never made a public comment about the need to protect students from intrusive data collection or the release of personally identifiable information without parental consent; the proliferation of which has continued under his leadership.  On a positive note, the grassroots movement was allowed to weigh in on proposed online student data privacy legislation, which allowed a successful push back on legislation that left a gaping hole in privacy protection.

As concerns over student privacy are mounting, Arizona has an opportunity to lead the fight to protect students and their families, as well as teachers, from the invasive collection and distribution of private data.  Governor Ducey has all but ignored the dilemma facing parents whose children’s privacy is at risk, only avoiding a failing grade in this category by giving activists notice of a bill that would have further compromised student privacy.

Grade: D


Overall, Governor Ducey has failed in his handling of the most sweeping and disastrous changes in education policy in history.  The strings attached to education funding turned states into puppets of the Department of Education.  Voters believed the Governor’s campaign rhetoric that Arizona would not be held hostage to what he referred to as “purchased obedience.”  But his promises have amounted to nothing more than smoke-and-mirrors.  Governor Ducey is a darling of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Chamber loves Common Core.  The Governor would have to make a nearly 180 degree shift in his allegiance to the Chamber and make voter’s concerns his priority before his score could improve.  At this time, a change seems unlikely.

Ending the Common Core System: D+
Protecting State and Local Decision Making: D+
Protecting Child and Family Privacy: D

Overall Grade: D+

Important Education Bills Before Arizona Legislature


I wanted to share some information emailed to me by Olga Tarro, a parent and education activist in Arizona about some bills that require some attention.

First the good bills….

A bill before the Arizona House and its companion bill in the Senate seek to return local control to schools by allowing them to choose the test they use. This bill will be heard this week.  Here is the bill summary:

HB2544/ SB1321 The state board of education (SBE) shall adopt a menu of statewide achievement assessments to measure pupil achievement beginning in the 2017-2018 school year. The assessments provided must be of “high quality” and demonstrate that they meet or exceed the state board’s adopted academic standards; that the cost to administer each assessment is not more then current assessment cost; and provide a third part evaluation of each assessment to show that it is of high-quality and meets standards.

Then the bad bill….

Apparently some legislators not happy with Diane Douglass have introduced a bill that would shift powers and duties away from the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction to the unelected State Board of Education.

The bill SB 1416 was just added and it is expected to be heard tomorrow.

Arizona friends please contact members of the Arizona House and Senate Education Committees. Their contact information is below:

House Education Committee:  Ask these Legislators to support HB2544 and NOT to support SB1416 

Senate Education Committee:  Ask these Legislators to support SB1321 and NOT to support SB1416

Arizona Board of Education Rejects Common Core

arizona-state-flagMonday morning the Arizona Board of Education voted 6 to 2 to reject the Common Core State Standards.  The state will, for now, leave the the math and ELA standards in place, but the state will develop their own standards.

ABC 15 reports:

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas was at the meeting and motioned for the vote. Eliminating Common Core is part of her education plan she unveiled earlier this month.

Board members discussed the issue for about 45 minutes before voting.

“The board is just saying, ‘We can take care of Arizona’s children and this is a very proud day for Arizonans,” said Douglas.

“This will send a clear message to the citizens of Arizona and the nation that Arizonans are smart enough, engaged enough, and collaborative enough to control the education of our own children.”

We’ll have to watch the process that takes shape as the board meets to determine the route they will go.  My hope is that they solicit parental, educator and legislative feedback in an open and (real) transparent process.


Arizona State Board of Education Votes to Set Up Another Rebrand

arizona-state-flagThe Arizona State Board of Education voted to approve yet another rebrand of the Common Core.  You may remember former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s executive order changing their name.  This time the same board which approved Common Core is in charge of its review.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports:

The State Board of Education has voted to create a committee to review Arizona’s Common Core standards for math and reading.

The committee will hold public hearings and oversee English and math experts who will draft the language of the new standards before the end of the 2015 school year.

The board voted 9-1 to create the 17-member committee that will include business owners, college deans, parents, teachers and Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas. Douglas built her primary and general election campaigns on her opposition to the standards.

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey asked the Board to review the standards and reject the parts that don’t make sense last month.

If Governor Ducey was serious about opposing Common Core like he said when he was campaigning he would ask the board to reject them outright and start over.

I’m not going to hold my breath anything meaningful will come out of this process.  If so I will be delightfully surprised.

Arizona 5th Grader Speaks Out Against Common Core (Video)

Aaron Bencomo is a 5th grader who testified about the Common Core in front of the Arizona Senate Committee after his mother, Christy, gave him her time.

His remarks are from 1:02 to 4:05 in the video below.

Great job Aaron!

HT: Christel Swasey who also points out other kids who have also given testimony, so be sure to check her article on this out..