College and Career
In 2009, the Arizona Department of Education adopted the Common Core Standards defining what students are expected to learn in Arizona K-12 schools. These standards, which have also been adopted in 44 other states, are substantially more rigorous and demanding than those previously in effect in most Arizona schools. It is expected that, with time and patience, the new standards will enable our children to graduate from high school much better prepared for career or college — an outcome strongly supported by Flagstaff Forty.
In the 2013 session, the legislature was asked to discontinue the state-mandated AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) test. These high-stakes tests administered in the 3rd, 8th, and 12th grades, determined everything from a student’s ability to graduate to the letter grade given a school. That grade, in turn, affected a school’s level of state funding or even its continued existence. Since the AIMS test does not measure the material currently being taught under the Common Core Standards, continuation of the test made no sense. Flagstaff Forty, its sister groups, and other business organizations urged the legislature to repeal AIMS, and on March 28 Governor Brewer signed House Bill 2425 which did exactly that.
Much more is needed to successfully implement the Common Core Standards in Arizona schools. In particular, additional funding to the schools for equipment and professional training is essential. Additionally, a new data system for the Department of Education is badly needed. The budget passed by the legislature includes a wholly inadequate amount for the data system, and essentially nothing for professional training and classroom equipment. Flagstaff Forty expects to continue arguing for these necessary appropriations in the 2014 legislative session.