House votes to approve bill ditching Common Core
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House votes to approve bill ditching Common Core

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Republican-controlled Arizona House voted for a bill ditching the state's new Common Core school standards Wednesday that also strips the state Board of Education's power to adopt new standards.

The debate and 34-23 vote came after days of delays as some Republicans balked at the proposal. The bill now heads to the Senate, which rejected a bill to eliminate Common Core two weeks ago.

During an hour of debate, Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, called the proposal poorly crafted and filled with problems. She ticked off 29 individual issues, including language that could be construed to require instructional materials that contain the words "Common Core" be thrown out.

"Does this bill now say that the millions of dollars that the taxpayers have funded are now immediately illegal and we have to go back and reinvest, to repurchase material that doesn't have the word `Common Core' on it?" she said.

House Bill 2190 by Republican Rep. Mark Finchem of Oro Valley drops the standards adopted by more than 40 states. They have become a political issue nationally as opponents criticize them as driven by the federal government.

Arizona's Board of Education adopted the standards in 2010, well before the issue became politicized. Proponents say they are state-created and designed to increase standards so high school graduates are prepared for college.

A similar effort to scrap Common Core standards failed in the Legislature last year.

During debate, Finchem said he wants to replace the standards with new ones that are state-centered.

"This is about creating constantly improving standards," Finchem said. "And I would challenge anybody to say well, you know, Common Core is the be-all, end-all of standards. No, it's not."

Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, said her fellow Republicans are late to the game in pushing back against a federal takeover of education.

"I applaud this freshman effort to address the frustrations and concerns that are out there (and) are very widespread about what everyone has come to know as Common Core," she said. "My question is after 10 years on a school board is where the heck was everyone when (the) No Child Left Behind (federal law) happened?

"You want to talk about the federal takeover of our education system - that was it."

Brophy McGee said the adoption of Common Core standards allowed Arizona to get waivers from that federal law's requirements.

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