(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Arizona Republic columnist Bob Robb wrote a piece on Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s recent State of the State address. Money quote:
Ducey wasn’t a party to the deep cuts to K-12 education that were made after the bursting of the housing bubble knocked a big hole in state revenues. In fact, during his governorship, per-pupil spending, adjusted for inflation, has gone up, not down. Try to find an acknowledgement of that in the education funding debate.
In his speech, Ducey pointed out that “Arizona students are improving faster in math and reading than any other kids in the country.” That’s true.
Yet, there is a curious lack of curiosity about this development. In fact, Matt Ladner, a scholar with the Foundation for Excellence in Education, is about the only person in the state documenting it and inquiring about its causes. Everyone else is crying in their beer.
Bob’s kind remarks require two clarifications. First I made a professional transition a couple of months ago. Second, it is only bloody well near everyone else crying in their beer in Arizona, rather than actually everyone else. Crying in your beer is a bad look after all. A select few of us are just way too busy celeNAEPing our progress and trying to figure out ways to get more for it.
Maybe less attention has been paid to the “education funding” debate because more attention has been paid to the “education standards” debate. As one of the official reviewers of a draft of its recently adopted ELA standards, and as someone following what has taken place in the supposed revision and upgrading of its Common Core-aligned standards, I can say that there is good reason for Arizona parents to cry into their beer. Sandra Stotsky
I’m curious what they would be crying about. The local CC opponents have declared victory after revising the standards, the defenders seem to think they improved, Loveless analysis seems to indicate that they were largely pdf files floating somewhat undisturbed in the digital clouds in any case.
What CC critics declared victory? I’ve heard from some of them, and they don’t see anything but warmed over CC, with cursive writing added in the primary grades (not a game-changer). What I saw in the ELA draft I was sent to critique will assure need to use a CC-aligned test.
So Diane Douglas is declaring victory on CC:
Plus the state passed a law last year to give high schools more flexibility in the tests they use. The Loveless evidence is enough to convince me that CC is not driving AZ gains, but it didn’t seem to get in the way either since we lead the nation in gains and all.
So since these things are apparently pdf files floating relatively undisturbed in a digital cloud, and AZ has a set of standards different than any other state, and we are giving schools flexibility over testing, and we have been leading the NAEP in gains since 2009, I’m inclined to put this particular controversy to bed.
A+ pop culture reference in the title of this post!