State Senator Kimberly Yee is a model state legislator. Her record during her tenure in public service is exemplary. Senator Yee has advanced civil justice reform, tax cuts, regulatory reform and supported efforts to protect the public from the uncontrolled use of toxic substances.
Sen. Yee also has deep experience in education reform. She understands the importance of increasing our standards so that Arizona students can compete in a global economy. The notion put forward by individuals such as Wes Harris, a Phoenix area political organizer, that Common Core standards are some sort of federal or UN effort to control Arizona kids is laughable.
The Common Core standards are increased standards that 46 states are in the process of implementing. The business community has strongly supported this effort. Why? In the teeth of the Great Recession – the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression – most employers in virtually every industry still could not find enough qualified workers – even when the unemployment rate was hovering around 10 percent. A big part of the reason is that there is a mismatch between necessary skills for employment and what is being taught to our K-12 students.
As we transition to Common Core it is important for the testing to change as well. While well-intentioned, the current Arizona testing regime – AIMS – has outlived its usefulness. Passing it only proves that a student has mastered a 10th grade education! The PARCC assessment should help us determine whether Arizona students are mastering the skills necessary to make them college and career ready.
Governor Brewer’s AZ Ready Council, under the leadership of former Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, has made the implementation of Common Core and the transition to PARCC a priority. The leading Republican education reform mind in the U.S., Jeb Bush, also supports Common Core.
As the father of three girls I want to thank Sen. Yee and all those in our Legislature who care to improve the educational system in Arizona.
I do agree with Mr. Harris on one point: We do indeed need to remember all in the Senate who voted in favor of Common Core and PARCC. But rather than punish, we need to thank and support those supporting a more rigorous educational system in Arizona.