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Arizona Lawmakers Decide To Keep Going On Common Core

Common Core will likely survive for another year in Arizona, after the state Senate torpedoed a bill that would have eliminated a requirement that all the state’s public school districts use the standards.

The bill, which failed on a 19-10 vote, would have given individual school districts the power to choose whatever academic standards they like, and was touted by sponsor Kelli Ward as a “keep it local bill” that would allow individual districts to preserve the Core if they liked.

The vote means that Common Core is likely to remain the law in Arizona for at least one more year, despite the rising political tide against it. Last week, an Arizona house committee endorsed legislation that would block the state education board from continuing Common Core’s implementation. That legislation will move to the house floor, where it is likely to pass. However, without Senate support, the legislation will go no further. This is the second straight year that Common Core repeal has failed in the state Senate.

Arizona seemed like a state ripe for getting rid of the Core. Last November, it elected a new governor, Doug Ducey, who said he opposed it. Both houses of the state legislature were held by Republicans. The new state superintendent, Diane Douglas, is so opposed to Common Core that she provoked a political crisis by attempting to fire two school board employees two weeks ago for proceeding with the implementation Core-aligned standardized tests.

Ultimately, however, enough Republicans have remained committed to the standards that they have been able to team up with the Democratic minority to keep it on the books.

The bill is another setback for opponents of Common Core, who were hoping to substantially roll back the standards this year following Republican victories in the midterm elections. In 2014 Oklahoma, North Carolina and Indiana all repealed the standards, but so far no new states have joined the exodus this year. Measures to fully repeal the standards have failed in Mississippi and North Dakota.

Nonetheless, opponents aren’t going to quit. Efforts to kill the standards are still going in Tennessee, Kansas, Wisconsin and elsewhere.

In addition, activists in Arizona can still hope to weaken the standards by rolling back the state’s standardized testing regimen.

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