Arizona Quits Group Responsible For New Common Core Test

May 30, 2014

The state of Arizona is stepping away from its role in helping develop a new standardized test aligned with Common Core, but state officials say they're still fully committed to the new educational standards.

Common Core, known here as the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards, is designed to improve English and Math performance for K-12 students. It's faced a variety of attacks from members of the Legislature. Despite repeated reassurances to the contrary, many Republicans have argued that it amounts to a federal takeover of state schools.

Friday, Arizona announced it's withdrawing as a member of the governing board for PARCC, a group that's developed a new standardized test aligned with Common Core. Could that mean Arizona's backing away from the test because of political pressure?

"No way," said Stacey Morley, Director of Policy Development and Government Relations for the Arizona Department of Education. She said the state's about to ask vendors to submit bids for a new test, which could be PARCC, or another test aligned with Common Core. Morley said Arizona's withdrawing to make sure there’s no appearance of conflict of interest.

"We are committed, the governor, the state board, and the superintendent are fully committed to adopting an aligned assessment to the College and Career Ready Standards, which are the current standards of Arizona," Morley said.

A PARCC spokesman said while other states withdrew from the governing board because of political pressure, he doesn't think that’s the case with Arizona. He said PARCC knew this decision was coming.