Terry Goddard and Tom Horne

It was recently brought to my attention that Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Candidate Tom Horne posted on Twitter essentially trying to blame me for the train wreck that is the Common Core State Standards he brought to Arizona. That is absolutely false.

Last August or September, after one of his volunteers had been disparaging me on Facebook, I personally requested of candidate Horne that he (and his campaign assistants) keep my name OUT of his campaign. Since he is not respecting my request, I must respond because what he has written about me and the adoption of Common Core State Standards in Arizona is patently false.

He is now trying to minimize and disavow his role in bringing Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to AZ. Make no mistake, Tom Horne brought the Common Core Standards into Arizona. The quality of academic education in AZ has never recovered.

Arizona parents and taxpayers deserve better as the Superintendent of Public Instruction than the former superintendent who foisted Common Core and the downfall of academic education upon their children – in my humble opinion.

His Twitter comments are identified with his name. My responses, the verifiable records, are in italics.

Tom Horne:

Re common core:

During my last year in office, common core was first proposed but there was no substance. There was a general idea of coordination among states so a student moving from one state to another would have at least some prerequisites for the next

2:04 PM · May 18, 2022·Twitter Web App

The draft Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were developed during 2009 – prior to Tom Horne’s last year in office. In January 2010 then Sup. Horne (along with then Gov. Brewer) signed the Race-To-The-Top Grant application guaranteeing to the FEDS that the AZ State Board of Education (SBE) would adopt CCSS on June 28, 2010. This essentially bound the SBE to a specific course of action outside of a public meeting and prior to any public discussion. The FEDS were offering states a grant up to $250M for the adoption of CCSS. AZ ultimately received a $25M RTTT grant. It has been estimated implementing CCSS cost the state and school districts in excess of $300M.

Tom Horne:

Re common core:

year, such as algebra sequence. Algebra is the same anywhere in the universe. None of the criticisms that came out later were made at that time because substance had not been developed, so there was nothing to criticize.

Not true! The final version of CCSS was released on or about June 2, 2010. Therefore he and the SBE had almost a month to review the English Language Arts and Math standards prior to adoption. Whether or not Horne or any members of the SBE bothered to read, review or evaluate the standards prior to imposing them on our children is open to debate.

Tom Horne:

In fact it was not developed for the four years of Huppenthal’s administration which succeeded mine, and the substance was not developed until the next administration, that of Diane Douglas.

Again, the final version of the standards were released on or about June 2, 2010. The standards were copyrighted and had to be adopted in their entirety; only minimal changes were allowed under the copyright. Therefore there was no “substance” to be developed. The standards were developed and copyrighted by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, of which Horne, as Arizona’s superintendent, was a member.

Tom Horne:

It is important to distinguish common core from core knowledge. Core knowledge is a conservative response to the progressive idea that knowledge isn’t important because it changes.

Core knowledge teaches that substantive knowledge is important because the more you know, the easier it is to learn new things. I was and am a strong, passionate supporter of core knowledge. But not common core.

E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge (copyright 1991) was developed long before but not in response to the progressive Common Core.

Tom Horne:

It was passed in a perfunctory manner before anyone really knew what it was, to find out what it would be, and that was not really known until the Douglas administration.

Again NOT true. By 2013 the opposition to CCSS had grown so strong that then Gov. Brewer issued Executive Order 2013-08 changing the name from Common Core State Standards to AZ College and Career Ready Standards ostensibly to lead Arizonans to believe that the standards had changed.

The very explicit and grade level specific Common Core State Standards were adopted during Tom Horne’s term as AZ Superintendent.

As previously stated, the final CCSS for ELA and Math were released in their entirety on or about June 2, 2010; almost four weeks before the SBE meeting. By virtue of Horne’s and Brewer’s signatures on the RTTT application the SBE was, for all intent and purposes, forced to adopt CCSS as Arizona’s official standards. Draft versions were available for review and comment by Horne and the SBE prior to the release of the final version.

When I took office in January 2015, the CCSS had been adopted and implemented for the better part of five years. In March 2015, on behalf of Arizonans, I received a letter releasing Arizona from the Common Core State Standards copyright from the Council of Chief State School Officers. That same month Gov. Ducey attended the SBE meeting and forbade the SBE from replacing CCSS with any other standards.

During the October 2015 meeting the SBE voted 6-2 to approve my motion to reverse the SBE’s June 2010 adoption of CCSS. At the December 2016 meeting the SBE adopted significant revision to the CCSS including but not limited to explicit phonics reading instruction, cursive writing (AZ was the first state in the nation to reinstitute cursive), math fluency or memorization. Whether local school boards have implemented these improvements to the standards is questionable under the current administration in ADE and lack of oversight by the SBE. [State Board of Education meeting minutes.]

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