March 5, 2014

Eliminating Common Core in K-12 a Mistake, Professor Says

State legislation dead for now, but would be 'a disaster,' says mathematician who helped build curriculum regimen.

The Arizona Senate Wednesday killed a bill that would have eliminated the Common Core Standards in state K-12 education.

The move came on an 18-12 vote, but not before educational proponents argued that it would hurt education.

University of Arizona math Professor William McCallum said Wednesday Arizona may have had to resort to previous standards.

“I think it would be a disaster. I hope that this goes away," McCallum said. "This is a national and political effort to disrupt what is really a locally grown movement."

Arizona was one of 45 states to implement the Common Core Standards, and it has been put in place this school year. Common Core focuses on critical thinking and preparing students for college and career, rather than on rote memorization and other traditional classroom methods.

Since 2009, Arizona has played a big role in creating the standards, McCallum said. He led a team to develop the math standards used in Common Core.

“Their fingerprints are all over them. I don’t know why legislators didn’t listen to the people of Arizona who worked on them,” he said.

Common Core was a voluntary effort made by the states to have coherent standards of learning, McCallum said, adding that Common Core has set higher standards for Arizona than the state originally had.

“I think Arizona parents and children deserve better leadership on this issue than they are getting from the Legislature,” he said.

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