by David Safier
I don't know which fact is more interesting: that there was a symposium on Common Core organized by Sen. Andy Biggs at the Capitol that had an overflow crowd, or that both the San Francisco Chronicle and the Seattle Post Intelligencer picked up the AP article about it, at least on their websites. When it comes to immigration and education, Arizona is national news.
Biggs said absolutely, his symposium wasn't a setup by the anti-Common Core crowd to give Huppenthal a hard time. The Bigg-man doth protest too much, methinks. The panel had Huppenthal on the pro Common Core Arizona College and Career Ready Standards side (It's got a new name, so that means it's not Common Core anymore, right?) and three people against it. It sounds like the crowd might have been packed with people against the Common Core as well.
It may be that none of the journalists know how stacked the panel really was. Half the panel, two out of the four, was made up of a Goldwater Institute employee and someone else connected to G.I. by less than one degree of separation -- and G.I. does not like Common Core. First there was Jonathan Butcher, ed director of the Goldwater Institute. Then there was Sandra Stotsky, a University of Arkansas prof. Why fly in a prof from Arkansas when we have profs galore here in Arizona, you may ask. The reason is, she's in the university's Department of Education Reform, which sits at the more conservative end of the conservative education spectrum. Also in that same department is Jay Greene, who is a Senior Fellow at the Goldwater Institute. Jay P. Greene's Blog gives Stotsky a regular forum. Another regular on Greene's blog: Matthew Ladner, former ed director of the Goldwater Institute. A very incestuous group, Butcher, Stotsky, Greene and Ladner. (The fourth panel member, by the way, was from a Mesa charter school and also doesn't like the Common Core a whole lot).