Bill Would Allow Arizona School Districts To Choose Tests

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 11:03am

State schools chief Diane Douglas is backing legislation that would allow school districts to choose whatever tests they want for their students - including keeping the Common Core standards she wants to kill.

In a press release Monday, Douglas said she supports House Bill 2180, which would require the Board of Education to provide a menu of assessments from which schools could choose.

Rep. Paul Boyer said he crafted the legislation to ensure that schools who want to use a test linked to Common Core could do so. However, that appears to run counter to HB 2190, sponsored by Rep. Mark Finchem, which would bar schools from using Common Core - or anything connected with it.

Finchem, whose own measure gained House approval last week, said using Common Core tests would not be allowed, no matter what Boyer's bill says. Finchem insisted there is no conflict between the two measures.
"Mr. Boyer's bill, as I understand it, deals more with testing. My bill deals with standards and content and how we arrive at those," Finchem said.

But Boyer said the two issues cannot be separated.

"Assessments do drive curriculum. And I do want curricula freedom for districts and charters. And so, if for some reason a school decided to change curriculum they might want to choose a different assessment," Boyer said. "So moving forward they might choose a different assessment. I don't really foresee that happening."

Boyer said that unless forced to ditch Common Core, more than 95 percent of schools which have been implementing it since 2010 will stick with it.

Douglas refused repeated requests to discuss her statement or the conflicts between the measures.

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