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In Defense of Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards: Testimony Against Arizona HB2190 ~ Amanda McAdams

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Amanda McAdams, a former practicing attorney, taught English Language Arts and Student Government at Apollo High School in Glendale, Arizona from 2001-2012.  She is a member of the Utah State Bar, the Arizona Education Association, the National Education Association, and Former Superintendent Huppenthal’s Teacher Advisory Council.  Additionally, she serves on Former Governor Brewer’s Arizona Ready Council and the Arizona Educational Foundation Board.

Presently, Mrs. McAdams is the Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator for Language Arts and Student Government for the Glendale Union High School District. Additionally, Amanda is the proud mother of three beautiful teen-aged children whom she shares with her husband, who is also a teacher.

Good afternoon Chair Boyer and Committee.  Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.  My name is Amanda McAdams.  I am the 2011 Arizona Teacher of the Year, a Republican, and most importantly parent of three children in the public education school system who have been exposed for three years to the Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards (AZCCRS).

With the implementation of AZCCRS, I have seen an increase in the level of difficulty in my children’s work. As a parent, it is difficult to see my children struggle with work. However, if we are going to raise the rigor of our standards, curriculum and assessment, then we should see students struggle at first.  This is common sense.  If it’s still easy, we haven’t raised the bar enough.

My children are bringing home assignments that challenge them to think critically, formulate ideas and support those ideas with evidence.  I’m grateful that I am a parent involved in her children’s education and grateful for the teachers who have spent time and energy trying to prepare my students to be college and career ready.

As an educator, I also know the implementation of the standards has not been easy.  In a local control state, we were given the standards and allowed to create curriculum as we saw fit.  Teachers in my district have worked countless hours aligning their lessons and instruction to these rigorous standards and are seeing an increase in student achievement. As a result of that hard work, our district was one of only four in the state last year to receive an A for all schools!

Good educators are not afraid of accountability and welcome a review process to ensure that all aspects of the standards are appropriate for each grade level.  Repealing these standards after all our tireless work would be a slap in the face to students and teachers.  The prospect of beginning again is just cruel – not to mention fiscally irresponsible. I am surprised that a group of fiscal conservatives would support such a waste of precious resources.

In addition, the teachers in my district are not the only ones who support the AZCCRS.  In fact, the Governor’s Office of Education Innovation surveyed 1,031 teachers across Arizona as recently as November 2014 and shared the following:

•             72% of teachers believe Arizona’s College & Career Ready Standards will improve the instruction and learning in their own classroom.

•             77% of Arizona teachers believe these standards will improve the instruction and learning in all Arizona classrooms.

Please be reasonable and mindful of our students and teachers and vote no on this bill.  

See the video of her testimony HERE.