A nationwide debate is raging over Common Core, a set of federally supported standards for teaching English and math at the state level. But critics call them a cookie-cutter approach that overemphasizes testing, invades privacy, and can be easily manipulated.
Grassroots parental rebellions have led states like Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana and South Carolina to repeal their support of Common Core. Yesterday, the revolt reached Arizona. John Huppenthal, the state’s school superintendent, was ousted in the Republican primary by Diane Douglas, a former school-board member who made the repeal of Common Core her main issue. Douglas won 57 percent of the vote last night, telling the AZCentral website that “Arizona moms and dads know what’s best for their kids. They know better than Washington, D.C. They know better than a few privileged corporations.”
Huppenthal spent much of his term in office defending Common Core and described critics as “barbarians at the gate” at a public forum in May. But in recent weeks he backed off his support, taking credit for removing objectionable books from the Core’s English standards and even claiming in a debate that he “never supported the standards.”
The incumbent wound up losing 57 percent to 42 percent, and last night told reporters that his early support for the Core was his undoing. Look for the issue to heat up in several other states with races for governor and state legislature this fall.