Cutting Common Core not as simple as campaign suggests

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- As Diane Douglas holds onto a narrow margin of victory over David Garcia to become the next Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Republican candidate vows to eliminate the Common Core standards adopted by the state.

"This is about Arizona control for education and that's what we need for our children," Douglas says. "They are not higher standards. Nothing about them has been proven."

However, leading political and education experts say Douglas' campaign promise may be broken.

"It was a great campaign pledge," says Republican political strategist Marcus Dell'Artino. "There’s absolutely no doubt that Common Core propelled her to this spot."

However, Dell'Artino says what a candidate promises and what he or she can actually deliver are often two very different things.

"There’s a lot of people that are about to find out the difference between what you can promise on the campaign trail and what you can actually do in your elected office," Dell'Artino says.

And in the case of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, that office does not have the authority to change the classroom instruction standards.

The Arizona Education Association issued a statement Wednesday saying, "Under existing state law, the Arizona State Board of Education has the authority to adopt the standards. ... The Superintendent cannot act alone to repeal the standards; the Superintendent is just one of the eleven voting members on the SBE."

Dell'Artino says Douglas could also try to get lawmakers to change the existing laws, but he does not think she will have much success.

Dell'Artino points to the state's mounting debt, and the tens of millions of dollars already spent on getting classrooms up to Common Core standards, including the millions spent just this week to procure a new assessment test.

"It certainly puts a lot of money on the line at a time when we can least afford to waste a lot of money," Dell'Artino says.

Chuck Essigs‎, director of government relations at Arizona Association of School Business Officials, agrees: "(Douglas) can speak out against it, but unless something changes in state law to give her the power the state board has, all she can do is make recommendations."

3TV tried calling and emailing a spokesperson for Douglas and also went to Douglas' home but did not receive a response.