Tom Horne Brought Common Core to Arizona
Submitted by Common Core Observer
The Superintendent of Public Instruction is responsible for executing various education laws and State Board of Education policies. The state superintendent also serves in a leadership role implementing various education policies in our state. The superintendent’s mission is listed on the website:
“This unique opportunity allows the state superintendent to develop best practices and strategies which take into account the needs of our children at every stage of the process: from birth to college to the workforce.”
Most of the outcry against the implementation of Common Core in Arizona has occurred in the last two years and has been directed at the current Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. Conveniently for Tom Horne, he’s escaped criticisms from conservative grassroots for his role in the implementation of Common Core in our state. Remember, Tom Horne served as Arizona's Superintendent of Schools from 2006-2010.
NGA's Former Chairman, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Created the Task Force to Revise Educational Standards
Ironically, the Common Core floodgates were opened by former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano in 2006-2007 when, as the chair of the National Governor's Association, she created a task force to revise the education standards throughout the country. The task force returned with their verdict: Common Core! Nary a peep was heard from Tom Horne against the standards that were being so meticulously crafted by the Democrat governor and her team while he served as superintendent.
In 2009, then Superintendent Horne traveled to DC with other Common Core compadres (Gov. Jan Brewer and then Arizona Senator Rich Crandall) to apply for a No Child Left Behind waiver. This waiver was contingent upon Arizona adopting the Common Core standards. Not a problem for Horne. The details could be worked out later. Money, to Horne, was more important than ensuring that Arizona would not be fettered to a one-size-fits-all education system.
When twenty-six states banded together on June 23, 2010 to create a common assessment system, Tom Horne was so excited about his involvement that he joined other Democratic Superintendents and Education Commissioners in a press release to state his unequivocal support of Common Core standards, saying:
“We are committed to our involvement in the PARCC Consortium. This effort, to create a strong system of assessments, will support AZ's vision of equal access to a rigorous curriculum for all students, measured during the academic year, and then again at the end of the year by quality summative assessments. Building strong learners who are both college and career ready is critical not only to the K-12 community that we serve, but to the university system and workforce as well. We look forward to this partnership and the opportunity to share teacher resources, as well as strong assessments with partner states.”
What Tom Horne won’t tell you now is that those “partner states” he was excited to join included the likes of these blue states: Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, the District of Columbia, and Rhode Island. Not exactly partnering with bastions of conservatism, was he?
It was Tom Horne, not John Huppenthal, who Adopted Common Core Standards
On June 28, 2010, the Arizona Department of Education, which was managed by Superintendent Tom Horne, adopted Common Core standards. This was Horne’s final act in support of Common Core coming to Arizona. He was now free to run for Attorney General, wash his hands of his involvement in Common Core, and let current Superintendent of Schools John Huppenthal take the heat for the implementation of Common Core. And while Huppenthal has been an unapologetic supporter of Common Core curriculum, the reality is that he inherited the mess from Horne.
Tom Horne can give any excuse he wants about why he brought Common Core to Arizona, but the fact clearly remains that Common Core in Arizona wouldn’t be here without the persistence of Tom Horne to get it across the finish line. Recently at a public forum Tom Horne commented that he “didn’t know Common Core was going to be as bad as it was” when pressed on his involvement with the adoption of the controversial standards.
Either Tom Horne wasn’t protecting the interests of Arizonans when he absentmindedly took multiple steps to bring Common Core to Arizona, or he knew what he was doing with each calculated step of the process. Further, if he believes the standards are wrong for Arizona or that Common Core is in fact worse than what he originally envisioned, what has he done in his current role as Attorney General to protect Arizona from this federal overreach?
Tom Horne can say that he is a conservative and that he is fighting for Arizonans against an intrusive federal government, but his actions speak otherwise. When it mattered most to Arizona to stop the federal government’s further intrusion into our education system, he not only failed our state, but he also helped the federal government completely take it over. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by the actions of a career politician who was a registered liberal Democrat until 1996.
Just remember - when you are upset with Governor Brewer and Superintendent Huppenthal over their support of Common Core, you can also thank Tom Horne for bringing it to Arizona.