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Arizona: Criticize Common Core and Dept. of Ed. Official Might Call You a “F***tard”

In September 2013, the Arizona Daily Star noted that then-Governor Jan Brewer “ordered state agencies to stop using the term ‘Common Core’ when referring to the new education standards, in response to hostility from critics over what they see as a federal intrusion.”

The Daily Star article continues:

In an executive order, the governor said she was “reaffirming Arizona’s right to set education policy.” Her order spells out “no standards or curriculum shall be imposed on Arizona by the federal government.”

But it concedes the standards adopted by the state Board of Education in 2010 already are being implemented. And Brewer herself referred to them as Common Core in her State of the State speech and her budget request to the Legislature.

Press aide Andrew Wilder said the order changes nothing except the name, which going forward will be “Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.’’

Brewer’s decision was arguably a sleight-o-name intended to fool the Arizona public into accepting Common Core.

Still, there were critics in Arizona, vocal critics like teacher Brad McQueen.

If anyone insists that Common Core is not politically loaded, send that person this June 2014 story out of Arizona:

By Brad McQueen

Ever wonder why more public classroom teachers don’t speak out against the Common Core and their Superintendents of Instruction and Governors who support it?

I am a Tucson teacher who wrote my first anti-Common Core op-ed this past February in the Arizona Daily Independent and it was subsequently reprinted by other online news sources. I followed up the publication of the op-ed with an interview on a local radio station. This was the reaction of the Arizona Department of Education bureaucrats in emails recently obtained by the Arizona Daily Independent:

_____________________________________

EMAIL #1:

From: Hrabluk, Kathy (Associate Superintendent)
Sent: Friday, February 28, 2014 2:37 PM
Subject: AZCCRS (Common Core) criticism

Fyi regarding a teacher named Brad McQueen. He is on a roll criticizing AZCCRS (Common Core)… he also has an article in the Capitol Times (2-27- 14) stating many misconceptions that has been floating around. Just thought you might want to check your list of teacher teams (from which teachers are selected to work on tests at the Dept of Education). He is one unhappy camper.

_____________________________________

EMAIL #2

From: Hunting, Irene (Deputy Associate Superintendent Assessments)
Subject: RE: AZCCRS (Common Core) criticism

Thank you. We have made a note in his record.

Irene Hunting

________________________________________

Irene Hunting, Deputy Associate Superintendent of Assessments, instantly “notes” my file to make sure I am never called again to work on tests at the AZ Department of Education. I have worked on our state’s standardized test, the AIMS test, and other assessments for the last five years for several weeks over each summer break. Not only do I enjoy the challenging work and I enjoy contributing toward creating our students’ tests, but the summer work has always supplemented my teacher salary. But when you speak out against the cult of Common Core, they are punitive. Sarah Gardner, AZ Director of PARCC Assessments, joins the conversation and also makes sure that I will never work on tests again at the AZ Department of Education or anywhere else for that matter.

________________________________________

EMAIL #3

From: Gardner, Sarah <Sarah.Gardner@azed.gov
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2014 1:46 PM
To: Stephanie Snyder (PARCC,Inc.)
Subject: RE: question

Given that Brad McQueen gave a negative statement to the press about Common Core and assessment, you may want to remove him from the invitation list…

This was such a surprise for Arizona as Brad has been on many committees, both for our state assessment as well as involved with Common Core and formative assessment based on CC (Common Core) for our state

Let’s make sure he is not going to Denver later this month. Please remove Brad McQueen from the list.

Sarah Gardner, MAEd-C/T
Director of PARCC and Innovative Assessments
ADE – Assessment Section (602) 542-7856________________________________________

Angela Escobar then sends the following email, on taxpayer-paid time, after discovering that I had gone public with my anti-Common Core views during a radio interview:

________________________________________

EMAIL #4
From: Escobar, Angela (AZ Dept of Education)
Sent: Friday, February 28, 2014 2:44 PM
Subject:Brad McQueen is on the radio

What a f*cktard.

Angela

Lovely. and that as coming from a department of education official.

Notice that the education officials still refer to the supposed “Arizona” standards as what they really are: Common Core. And Common Core can have no criticism because that makes CC marketing more complicated.

For the rest of Brad’s story, click here.

In March 2015, the Associated Press (AP) reported that legislation concerning the repeal of Common Core was defeated in the Arizona Senate 16-13 after making it through the Arizona House.

Arizona still has Common Core, and at least the 2015 legislation was willing to call it by its true name.

According to the AP, current Arizona Governor Doug Ducey doesn’t think repeal is “necessary” because he has asked the board of education for a standards review.

If Arizona’s standards review entails altering Common Core, then it is arguably no longer Common Core.

If.

I wonder if Escobar will be available to encourage those participating in Arizona’s Common Core standards review to keep CC exactly as is under threat of being called f***tards. Perhaps not. In July 2014, Escobar had her hand slapped for her slurring McQueen.

Common Core lesson learned?

Shaking my head….