So over the last year, the Arizona Republic’s series on Child Protective Services and other child health agencies has shown us how the Republicans in charge of this state “solve” problems: Underfund the agency in charge of the problem.
And now, we see the latest in that strategy: Education reform.
Over the last two days, the paper’s run stories about Common Core, the new curriculum to be fully implemented throughout our public schools in the next year (you can read the articles here and here).
As a retired teacher, I’m glad we’re upping the standards, though in language, those standards resemble what we used to teach (and what good teachers still teach) years ago, before the watering down began.
So we’ll be one of 46 states using these standards, and testing our kids on these standards, giving us an accurate picture of how Arizona kids compare to those in the other 45 states. And Common Core is designed to give teachers almost instant feedback on their student’s strengths and weaknesses, using computer-based testing.
But Arizona — specifically Arizona Republicans — is trying to implement this using their pet formula (unless, of course, for private prisons): Let’s do it on the cheap.
So here’s all you need to know:
1. The Department of Education — run by uber-conservative John Huppenthal — says it will need $131 million to get the program up to speed in the next two years.
2. In addition, schools will need more funding to pay for the computers needed for the testing (which is K-12, and several times a year) — the Dept. of Ed. has yet to peg that cost.
3. The one-cent sales tax income used for K-12 funding — $600 milliion a year — ends at the end of this fiscal year.
4. Republican money-guy, House Appropriations Chair John Kavanagh, has this to say:
“Spending increases need to be prudent,” adding that if the Arizona Legislature fully funded Common Core needs, it would have to trim drastically from other education funds.
“We need to take care of a lot more people than K-12. I can’t picture swallowing up all the discretionary money we have on just one program. We will have to ration.”
Which means? Unless the Gov actually fights for the funding, once again the Republican formula will be applied to an area we all agree needs more attention. Which it won’t get. And will continue to be a problem the Republicans make worse. Nice.
A suggestion to the paper: How about reports on how the other 45 states are funding the Common Core?