Valley superintendent fights to keep Common Core

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A Valley superintendent says she is emailing state senators, begging them not to approve the anti-Common Core legislation passed by the House earlier this week.

Cave Creek Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Debbie Burdick says her district has spent more than $2 million in resources and training to get its classrooms up to Common Core standards.

“It's a shock. With all the other cuts that we've had, I couldn't imagine any more cuts,” Burdick says. “How much more can we take?”

She says educators have invested countless hours over the past five years working with the new curriculum and revised teaching techniques.

“Where do we find the time to help teachers go back to what we had before?” Burdick asks.

She says she is worried the state is one step closer to dumbing down its standards and its students.

“Our students have been doing great since we've had these standards. In fact, the state has been doing great,” Burdick says.

She believes the new standards make the state more competitive on the world stage.

“We need this rigor and we need kids that think and that's what we have now: kids that think,” Burdick says.

The new legislation would place the responsibility on the state board of education to set teaching standards. Opponents of Common Core say it takes away the districts' abilities to determine what happens in their classrooms and places the power at the federal level.

“If we are going to continue to be world leaders, we must not settle for what the rest of the world is doing, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Mark Finchem, writes in a statement to 3TV. “If we want to lead the nation in education, following the pack is just not an option.

Burdick says, while the standards are federal ones, the curriculum is set at the district level. In Cave Creek, a community of educators and parents chooses the teaching materials based on what's best for the students.

Burdick says she doesn't care where the standards come from; she sees success in the classroom and wants it to stay that way.

“Sometimes things come to us and we don't like the way they come to us. We don't like where they come from but we would reluctantly admit that maybe it was better,” Burdick says.

The bill now moves onto the state senate which has already vetoed two pieces of legislation that would eliminate Common Core.
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