Diane Douglas on new plan: Arizona kids can’t afford to wait

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas proposes her education plan on Thursday. (Photo by Erin Johnson/Cronkite News)

Diane Douglas, Superintendent of Public Instruction, discusses her new education plan. (Photo by Erin Johnson/Cronkite News)

With children at her side wearing T-shirts that read “AZ Kids can’t afford to wait,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas proposed her new education plan on Thursday.

In addition to adding $400 million to reduce class sizes and raise teacher salaries, Douglas’ plan calls for eliminating Arizona’s version of the Common Core standards and reducing the frequency of standardized testing.

“We need a revival in Arizona-developed standards, not one-size-fits-all, hand-me-down standards which have already been abandoned by many states who, like Arizona, blindly adopted them,” Douglas said.

Douglas said she wants to raise standards in phonics instruction, math, civic and economics instruction, increase reading requirements from kindergarten through third grade and toughen requirements those who speak English as a second language.

“Our education policy is too often set in whatever funding is left behind and by the latest fad in pedagogy,” she said.

Douglas also said her plan relies primarily on existing resources and funds remaining from last fiscal year.

“I can’t reasonably carry out the will of the voters by simply focusing on the next few months or going along with the crowd,” she said.