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March 25, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Common Core Education Standards

  |   Video
  • A bill being tied into the new “Common Core” education standards is facing strong criticism from those who see it as a national takeover of education. The bill, while not mentioning Common Core, would allow the state to transition from the AIMS test to another as a high school graduation requirement. Representative Heather Carter and Laddie Shane of the Maricopa County Republican Party discuss the pros and cons of the issue.
  • Heather Carter - Representative, Arizona
  • Laddie Shane - Maricopa County Republican Party
Category: Education   |   Keywords: education, common core, standards, tests, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon," I’m Ted Simons. Representative John Kavanagh is scrapping his idea to make it a crime for transgendered people to use the restroom of their choice. Kavanagh says the bill is an unnecessary reach of government. Instead, Kavanagh says he’ll soon introduce a bill that protects businesses from lawsuits and criminal penalties if they deny transgendered people from using a restroom. The legislature is considering a bill that focuses on expanding common core education standards in Arizona. opponents of common core say the changes will remove local control over Arizona school curriculum. I’ll speak with an opponent of the bill and common core, but first, here in favor of the bill is representative Heather carter. Good to see you, thanks for joining us.

Heather Carter: My pleasure.

Ted Simons: Very quickly let's define terms, what is common core?

Heather Carter: Thank you for having me on today, common core is a grassroots effort that Arizona has been involved in for about three, almost even five years now to set standards that are more rigorous than the standards that we have now to make sure that our students are career and college ready moving forward.

Ted Simons: And this would replace the aims test? I know there's a park test, the corresponding test and that means aims goes away?

Heather Carter: Let's dive into what the difference is between the Arizona common core standards and the park test. Let's talk about the standards 1st because we have to do that, we have to know what our students are learning in school. We have state standards that set clearly defined benchmarks of what students need to learn at each grade and, for example, the aims test which is a measure of our current standards is a 10th grade test and students continue attending high school all the way through 12th grade so the standards will be articulated all the way through 12th grade and tested all the way through 12th grade. That's a big change.

Ted Simons: So the new tests will be more university or secondary education, more ready for that sort of thing?

Heather Carter: Well, what the new standards do, and then the corresponding test that Arizona decides to do to test those standards will actually implement exams all the way from kindergarten to 12th grade and they're looking at skills that our students need to have to make sure that they are either college or career ready. Many of our students leave high school and go directly into the workforce.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about the concerns about this transition. First of all, this has been happening for a while, hasn't it?

Heather Carter: For many years.

Ted Simons: For like, what three, five, something along those lines?

Heather Carter: The conversations have been occurring for about the last five years but for the last three years, many of our school districts have already been moving to transition from standards that are really focused on rote memorization of facts and figures and to more implied standards.

Ted Simons: One of the major concerns is that Arizona would lose local control over school curriculum with this change. Respond please.

Heather Carter: That is just absolutely incorrect. Arizona is steeped in the rich tradition of retaining local control. We have locally elected school boards and what those school boards have the opportunity to do is to use the state standards then to devise a locally created curriculum to meet those standards and then all the way down to the classroom, the teacher gets to decide how that curriculum then is taught in the classroom. And that's what really a lot of the confusion is. People are misusing the term standards, curriculum and taking it all the way down to the teacher instruction. That is not what -the common core does.

Ted Simons: So for those who says that proof that it would take away local control is that the curriculum has to be tailored to what they see as a national standard, you say...

Heather Carter: If you consider a national standard that, for example, I brought one of them the old standard is demonstrating fluency of multiplication and division and the new standard would be fluency multiply and divide within using strategies such as the relationships between multiplication and division, I think multiplying and dividing is something that we could all agree on is an important standard.

Ted Simons: Another concern is there’s been little or no public input on this change. Response?

Heather Carter: I would disagree. As a teacher, we've been talking about the common core for some time now. School districts have been having public meetings related to the common core. There have been ample opportunities for people to voice their concern and I find it strange at the 11th hour we're finding out that a lot of people have great concern.

Ted Simons: And there's also concern that it's a consortium of states that will wind up being a national kind of a program that takes away autonomy from Arizona because of this consortium of states outside of Arizona's control with again the idea that the curriculum is developed or at least I guess developed is the best word for that, elsewhere and then implemented in Arizona.

Heather Carter: Arizona educators both at the k-12 level and at the higher education level have been involved with creating these standards and they've been tailored to meet the Arizona educational needs. I mean, this is part of our conservative governor's education reform agenda. We have a variety of business leaders who have come down to the capitol and expressed great support for the Arizona common core and the corresponding tests, which Arizona is part of the park consortium.

Ted Simons: There's things like American history will be watered down or changed to fit some sort of type of U.N. agenda here. Valid?

Heather Carter: I'm so glad you brought that up, if you read the common core standards, they are English and math. There is nothing related to history in the standards.

Ted Simons: Okay, so do you -- is the likelihood of legislation blocking this, is that possible?

Heather Carter: In terms of legislation moving forward, a variety of different forms that legislation can move forward, they can move forward in single bills, they can move forward as amendments on other bills, they can move forward in budget bills.

Ted Simons: I lied, last question is this. Are you surprised by the opposition?

Heather Carter: Are yes I am absolutely surprised by the opposition because I have heard none of this over the last few years we have been talking about the Arizona common core standards.

Ted Simons: We thank you so much for joining us tonight. We appreciate it.

Heather Carter: My pleasure.

Ted Simons: Here now to speak against Arizona adopting the common core education program is Laddie Shane, education policy advisor for the Maricopa county republican party. Good to have you here, thanks for joining us.

Laddie Shane: Thanks ted.

Ted Simons: How do you see common core?

Laddie Shane: I see common core as well the definition of common core, if you look at other groups that have developed it, it is k- content standards for English and mathematics. I see it as exactly that, but what I also see it as, it's designed as a federal program, it is part of federal grant money to be implemented in the state. So, you know, I hear it's a state-led effort developed by the states. That may be -- anything can be led by states if you bring people from other states. You can title it that but what I think really what is common core, it is a way for our federal government to be impugning on states their 10th amendment to decide what the education system is in their state.

Ted Simons: It sounds like Arizona, though, it at the forefront of developing these common core standards and leading this consortium of states. If Arizona chooses to go that direction, is that wrong?

Laddie Shane: I think that there is a problem with going in this direction because if we have the tools to do it, why don't we do it ourselves? Why do we need the federal government putting together a system for us? If we have the tools, why shouldn't we develop it? I've spoken to many teachers. I'm an education major at asu, my aunt's a teacher, I have brothers and teachers that are still in school. I've spoken to many teachers that are on both sides of the political spectrum and they will tell you they like the idea of common core but they have a problem with the implementation. I hear that, that there were people in Arizona that developed it, why didn't we develop it? What I've we taken so long and if we did develop it, why are we still waiting for the assessment to be written because the assessment is not written yet to test the students on the standards.

Ted Simons: If Arizona does decide that it's going to help develop this and yes, we want to make sure that it coincides with what other states are looking at and make sure that we're not far afield or maybe they've got a good idea that we can implement as well, what's wrong with that?

Laddie Shane: I think that we can do that but I think it should be more competitive. I think if we're saying that these are the standards for all the states, we're going to flatline it. Each state is developing their own standards where it's more competitive. A competitive market is going to produce a better product and that's what we need in our state. And then I hear that we need to know where we are nationally. There's a reason why colleges require a sat and act. There's a reason the stanford nine is in all the states. There's a reason there are tests to rank us nationally. I have data right here that I can show you where we are ranked nationally on our reading proficiency. There are ways to test that.

Ted Simons: The idea that this is some sort of a federal, national governmental control of the state's education system, do you buy that?

Laddie Shane: I believe it is that. I do believe that and the reason I believe that is because the federal government if you wanted education money, if you want the funding, then you need to put in your application that you're going to accept common core. January of 2010, you can see it in the minutes of the state board of education, they said they did to do that to do that. So I believe the federal government is coming in and saying if you want the money, you've got to accept this program.

Ted Simons: Why do you think the federal government's doing that?

Laddie Shane: I think the federal government wants to impugn on states and put their thumb on it and look over our education system and decide what our states are teaching.

Ted Simons: Why? My question to you, I'm trying to figure this out, from your angle why again would the federal government want to do that? Why?

Laddie Shane: Because they want control, they want -- what they want to do is they want to be able to control what is going on at the state level in the schools. They want to control the curriculum.

Ted Simons: But this is something that a consortium of states has come up, granted it could be from your viewpoint some prodding from the federal government, but the states again are deciding this and many supporters say that states will have control over the curriculum.

Laddie Shane: From what I understand is you cannot delete or take out the standards, you can add 15% to the standards of what we choose as a state and my question is if all these states came together, why are there 14 states right now fighting against us and nine of them have legislation in their legislature to not do the common core?

Ted Simons: The other side say why are there so many others that are on the other side of the issue but my last question to you is regardless of whether you see this as a federal, even some more nefarious plan here, we've heard this is going to be a U.N. plot. I'm not going to ask you that. Is this a better way to educate Arizona children?

Laddie Shane: I don't think so. And the reason I don't think so is because I believe that it all comes down to what's going on in that classroom. I believe that we have amazing teachers here in this state. I believe we have amazing universities and I believe they can come together and decide the standard. I don't think that we need the federal -- you look at history on the history of education, when U.S. people, we were number one in education, it was before we had the U.S. department of education. I don't think we need the federal government to do that. I think Arizona has our ways to make ourselves better than everybody else.

Ted Simons: Thank you so much for joining us.

Laddie Shane: Thank you ted.

Lawrence Krauss on Science

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  • Famed ASU Physicist Lawrence Krauss makes his monthly appearance on Arizona Horizon to talk about the latest science news, including new results on the search for the Higgs Boson particle.
  • Lawrence Krauss - Physicist, ASU
Category: Science   |   Keywords: krauss, innovation, technology, physics, science, ,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Once a month, world-renowned ASU physicist Lawrence Krauss makes a visit to the "Arizona Horizon" studios to discuss the latest in science news. Joining me now is professor Lawrence Krauss. Oddly enough. Good to see you again.

Lawrence Krauss: Good to be back as always.

Ted Simons: There's so much to talk about.

Lawrence Krauss: The easy stuff now, get that out of the way. Now, we're going to do the real stuff.

Ted Simons: The Higgs boson, confirmed we now know that this molasses thing --

Lawrence Krauss: We've talked about it a bunch of times and what's really exciting is a few weeks ago, the experiments said that they have confirmed that this not only walks and quacks like a duck but looks like a duck and it has all the properties of this remarkable particle which tells us in some sense that our ideas of the origins of mass are really true. And I have to tell you they were very, very conservative about this. They waited until the probability was better in in a million that it was not wrong in a sense and that's continued on and on but there was clearly a particle that was discovered but the question was it the particle we're looking for? That's the really important thing.

Ted Simons: And this was the thing that when smaller stuff passes through it, it's like molasses and thus you get pass.

Lawrence Krauss: Exactly, that's why it has certain properties. If this idea is really true and it's remarkable that it's true, the particles that make you and I up have mass by accident. There's this background field and most of the -- and, in fact, if it wasn't there, all the particles would be massless. Some particles interact more strongly with that field and get slowed down more and act heavier, and some particles attract more weakly with the field and that tells us the properties of the particle because the field is associated with the particle. So this particle, interacts with some particles more strongly and other particles more weakly and that's the type of thing they can measure in the large Hadron collider.

Ted Simons: So where does the Higgs come from?

Lawrence Krauss: That's the good question. That's a really good question and the answer is we don't know yet. We know it's there, we know its part of the standard model of particle physics. It was a crazy idea, I thought so slippery that I didn't think it was real that nature would have this background field that would -- and it really says as the university cooled down it cooled in one state rather than other state. If it cooled in the other state, we wouldn't here. It really is an accident. The question is why does it have the properties it has and why did that field form and those are the questions we really want to answer at the large hadron collider and it's turned off for two years while it's being upgraded and if we measure the Higgs and nothing else, it will be the best of all words and the worst of all worlds and it won't answer the fundamental questions.

Ted Simons: Is there another boson out there or a different Higgs out there that you guys at least suspect was hovering around?

We've got a lot offed ideas. We've had years of sensory deprivation and we've been hallucinating. There are a lot of ideas and one of them suggests a new symmetry of nature which might explain why the Higgs has the property it has but it would predict two Higgs, plus new particles, some of which could be the dark matter which you've also talked about. We need to see those things when the large hadron collider turns back on. If we don't, it tells us that those ideas aren't right perhaps but it doesn't tell us what the right track is and as I say, it will be really a shame if it doesn't discover something beyond the Higgs, in spite of the fact that it's an incredible triumph.

Ted Simons: Two separate Higgs, you're not going quantum on me.

Lawrence Krauss: Two for the particles of different mass and prescribed properties and a whole bunch of new particles. We've seen half the particles in nature.

Ted Simons: It's a big deal but it's like people are just pooh-poohing this a little bit.

Lawrence Krauss: It was -- it got such hype on July 4th last here that people are saying enough already with the Higgs. But the physicists, it really is a big deal, and I think the important thing is they're being very, very cautious and careful before they proclaim this particle because we have been waiting for it for half a century and it would be pretty embarrassing if it was something else.

Ted Simons: We'll see where to take it from here.

Lawrence Krauss: We've got a few years to wait. If you're going to Switzerland, it's a good time to go see the large hadron collider because the experiment is down so you can go underground.

Ted Simons: In for repairs for a couple of years. Curiosity on Mars discovers nutrients?

Lawrence Krauss: It's really neat. Of course, we really want to know if there's life on Mars or ever was. We're getting closer and closer and so we talked before about the fact that they discovered stream beds, there was running water on Mars and we discovered rocks with running water. Mates now, done is go -- what's now done is strip into the rocks and look at the property of the materials and there are nutrients like potassium and nitrogen, the kind of thing you might hope could be nutrients for early life. Plus, more importantly it seems to me is that material is not oxidized. Mars is red because it's oxidized, but, in fact, if oxygen existed on earth, life would never have evolved because all those organic materials would have been oxidized and lost their energy and never could have produced you and me. So the fact that some of that material is not oxidized in the stream beds means there's energy available for life. So there's the energy available for life because it's not oxidized and there are the nutrients. So the properties are there, we haven't discovered life by any means yet, either extant or extinct but it's a much better bet.

Ted Simons: I was going to say are we talking billions of years ago when this likely happened?

Lawrence Krauss: The running water was fairly recent. So we don't know. The answer is we don't know. It could have been billions of years ago and for me what makes it exciting is that it could have been that the first forms of life in our solar system evolved on Mars and came to earth by meteorite. If you want to know what a Martian looks like, look in the mirror.

Ted Simons: Before we let you go, you're having a stories event --

Lawrence Krauss: We're having an origins story weekend. Two events and I'm really excited about. The first night on Friday is science, myth and reality and we have a test screening of a brand-new feature-length film and we're going to show the film and the audience can actually give their input and it's a major new feature film, and then it's about Richard Dawkins and me and follows us around but it has a bunch of Hollywood stars and other people and a well-known author is going to be there, Richard Dawkins will be there and we'll have a panel afterwards and also, a very special guest appearance, I can't tell you who on Friday night and Saturday we have origin stories with some of the best science popularizers in the world, neil degrasse Tyson, bill nye, going to be a great night and I think that may almost be sold out. So you've got to get your tickets soon.

Ted Simons: Bill nye's the science guy.

Lawrence Krauss: He's the science guy but on this program, I'm the science guy.

Ted Simons: That's right. And it was interesting, the science of storytelling and the storytelling of science.

Lawrence Krauss: The point is well exactly because science -- both those things are there. Science is a wonderful series of stories. We try to do it once a month and so there's a way of telling stories and so we thought if we get the best science storytellers in the world, each of them will do a little presentation of their favorite science story and we'll talk about how to make science more interesting and how to use the wonderful stories of science to get kids and-- and adults excited about science. There will be the movie and the panel the first night. So I think it's great that we can fill up the auditorium almost 3,000 seats on science two nights in a row. It says a lot for Arizona I think.

Lawrence Krauss: And it says a lot because people want to know about this stuff. People watch this -- they watch you on YouTube for goodness' sakes because they want to know about it.

Ted Simons: People are interested in science and they're fascinated by it and if we could convince more media to do what we're doing today, I think people want to know what's going on because science is exciting.

Lawrence Krauss: Last question, a minute or so left. Did I read that that meteorite that slammed into the Yucatan was actually a comet instead of a meteorite?

Lawrence Krauss: That could be true. I don't know. We're bombarded by comets all the time and it doesn't matter what it was, it would have created the same type of devastation, it was 10 kilometers across, whether it was a rock or a ball of frozen ice.

Ted Simons: Really doesn't make too much of a difference what it was.

Lawrence Krauss: The heat generated would have been immense.

Ted Simons: Over Russia, the same thing?

Lawrence Krauss: But it never made it to the ground. The thing about Russia, it was maybe 10 tons but 100 tons a day of material fall on earth every day from space. Most of it is so small you don't notice it but every day, 100 tons of material is falling on earth and over the history of the earth, enough water was delivered by comets to have produced all the oceans we think.

Ted Simons: All right.

Lawrence Krauss: Some of it may have produced life, too. We've discovered not only amino acids on comets, but chemical processes.

Ted Simons: Let's do that next time and we'll talk about the film, as well. Good luck with that storytelling.

Lawrence Krauss: I hope you'll come.

Ted Simons: Sounds good.