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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: Does Diane Douglas even read?

    Earlier this month, Arizonans were complicit in a horrible crime: electing Republican Diane Douglas as our new Superintendent of Instruction. Those responsible should be charged with first-degree murder of Arizona’s public education.

    A one-issue candidate hell-bent on destroying Common Core, Douglas’ main, self-reported qualifications are that she is a “conservative,” “mother” and “pro-life.” She served stints on the Peoria Unified School District Governing Board, her church’s board of education, and Site Councils of Desert Valley Elementary and Ironwood High School. Otherwise, she has no educational qualifications or experience.

    Her stance on education — that she is vehemently against Common Core — is flimsy at best. Douglas presents herself as a staunch states rights activist and feels that Common Core is actively violating our 10th Amendment rights, which leads to my next question: Can she even read?

    In her extensive research on Common Core, which I’m sure she’s done, she must have discovered that the Common Core standards are a federally developed set of standards — I repeat, not curriculum — that are focused on catching the U.S. up to the educational standards of other developed nations, and that the federal government isn’t so much forcing these standards on the states as it is greasing the wheels with cold hard cash.

    Those of us who came up through the public school system in this state know that we need updated standards. But Douglas, of course, realizes the real problem with Arizona education. According to the front page of Douglas’ campaign website, her education plan is all about making sure that parents have more control over what their kids learn.

    “My Education plan for Arizona will return common sense to the classroom, local control to our schools and ensure that parents have the best educational choices for our children,” her website states.

    Douglas is a parent. With her extensive credentials as an instructor in a stained glass shop, she’s a prime example of parents who should not only have a voice in education, but should be running it for the whole state.

    After all, the Common Core is undoubtedly scary, what with the math standards that will better prepare our state’s students for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and updates to reading standards that include actually being able to read at grade-level. Crazy.

    What is actually scary is that Douglas thinks her election comes with a mandate to end Common Core in Arizona. In actuality it’s a sad byproduct of uninformed voters who don’t understand that they can break party lines when voting. This is not a fantasy football bracket, people; you shouldn’t vote based on who you think would win in a fist fight. (For the record, I think Diane Douglas would trounce David Garcia in a fist fight.)

    What’s scary is that David Garcia, someone with actual academic qualifications, who was endorsed by both sides of the aisle, lost to someone like Douglas, whose biggest endorser was state Sen. Judy Burges, the so-called “Birther Queen” who denies the existence of climate change and could clearly benefit from Common Core lessons on the water cycle.

    I’m not scared of the Common Core. I’m scared of our schools being run by someone with so little experience and no platform outside of destroying a system that most educators support.

    This is about more than voting on party lines: Even Republicans worry about a Douglas tenure. We have willfully elected someone to the job of making Arizonans nationally and globally competitive — who will probably allow students to learn that dinosaurs and humans competed for food once upon a time.

    I’m scared that, without Common Core, all of our students will stoop to the reading level Douglas is apparently operating at.


    Nick Havey is a junior studying physiology and Spanish. Follow him on Twitter.

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