Douglas proposes Christian-based academic standards

State schools chief Diane Douglas and Lucas Narducci, president of the state Board of Education, chat ahead of the Sept. 24, 2018, board meeting to discuss revamping science and social studies standards. /Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

 

By Howard Fischer/ Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

A parade of teachers, parents and others lined up Monday to ask the state Board of Education to reject efforts by the state schools chief to alter — and they believe dilute — academic standards.

During a meeting lasting hours, several people testified that Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is seeking to undermine the science standards crafted by a group of teachers. They specifically took aim at what were last-minute changes she and her staff made in language dealing with climate change and changes in references to evolution.

But they also told board members they should ignore a bid by Douglas to adopt charter school standards crafted by Hillsdale College, a private Christian school, for all public schools in the state.

“Those are standards coming from a politically conservative, religiously conservative school with a Euro-centric sort of base to the world,” said Karen McClelland, a member of the Sedona-Oak Creek school board. “We need our students to have equal emphasis on the rest of the world.”

The board took no action, deferring any final vote for at least a month.

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