Monday, June 13, 2016

Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 25

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 9:04 AM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
Watching and listening for the next foot to fall. Still,




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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What Motivates Ducey to Spend Money He Doesn't Want to Spend? Fear of the Voter.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2016 at 3:40 PM

I've been writing a lot lately about how, since Prop 123 passed, Ducey sidesteps the issue of education funding every time he's asked what his "next step" will be. He wants the next step to be for people to stop pestering him so he can get back to cutting education funding in next year's budget—or if he has no other choice, continue with the same bottom-of-the-barrel funding which has been the norm for too many years—but we're not likely to hear him say that out loud.

This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. As I've written in a number of posts, I never expected Ducey to spend a penny more on education after Prop 123 without a fight, nor did other pro-education folks like me who held their noses and voted for what we considered to be the least bad option. There's only one way to get more money for education out of the majority of elected Republicans who are dead set on dismantling our system of public education, and that's to keep up the pressure.

Remember, Ducey and his cronies didn't create Prop 123 because they liked the idea of increasing education funding. It was only when they realized public opinion was turning against them that they concocted a plan that would add some money to education without touching the budget. It'll take far more public pressure to make them actually commit to more money for education this time, because it will have to come from the state coffers, not the state land trust. Success is far from guaranteed, but if there's no fight, I can guarantee Ducey's "next step" will be to step away from the funding issue as quickly as he can.

Ducey didn't suggest Prop 123 because he wanted to put more money into education. He and his buddies were perfectly happy to continue ignoring the court's ruling that they have to replace the money they illegally stole from the schools, and to continue cutting the education budget year after year. But in February, 2015, they had the fear of God The Voters put into them courtesy of a Morrison Institute poll. The poll found that voters wanted more money for education, even if it meant more taxes.
Nearly two-thirds of Arizonans, including more than 50 percent of Republicans, would be willing to pay an additional $200 in state taxes annually to better fund K-12 education.
Those are frightening polling numbers if you're Ducey and the Republican leadership. If voters want more money for schools, and they say they're willing to pay more taxes to fund it, that threatens the Republican agenda of slashing the budget and cutting taxes for their buddies. They feared, if they continuing to stonewall the court order, they might find themselves with a voter rebellion on their hands. People might start listening to Democrats and moderate Republicans. Anti-public education conservative legislators could find their jobs threatened at the ballot box. They had to do something.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Worth a Listen: Spoken-Word Poetry at Harvard Grad School of Education Convocation

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Graduation speeches are usually, well, graduation speeches. But Donovan Livingston, who received his master's degree in education from Harvard, spoke/performed a speech/poem worth listening to. It's confrontational, sometimes controversial, often right on the money and at the end, uplifting. You can read along if you wish. Here are a few excerpts.
I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,
With veins pumping revolution.
I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.
I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.
I am a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget
My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.
At the core, none of us were meant to be common.
We were born to be comets,
Darting across space and time —
Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.
A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened here —
An indelible impact that shook up the world.
An injustice is telling them they are stars
Without acknowledging night that surrounds them.
Injustice is telling them education is the key
While you continue to change the locks.
I belong among the stars.
And so do you. And so do they.
Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness
For generations to come.
No, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.
Lift off.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 12

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 10:30 AM

  • Courtesy of Photospin




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What Trump University Promised, and What It Delivered

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 8:30 AM

  • Courtesy of
So much to unpack about Trump University. Never a university. No longer in existence, like so many other Trump ventures. Huge promises from Trump to people desperate for good news, but the most reliable result was people spending $35,000 to $60,000 with little or nothing to show for it. Lawsuit by scammed "students," which Trump says is groundless. Release of Trump U documents ordered by the judge, who Trump vilifies in a 12 minute tirade.

Bottom line: Trump is a showman, a pitch man, a carnival barker, a con man. Whether he's selling Trump steaks, Trump wine, Trump University or President Trump, the product may change, but the pitch remains the same, as do the insults hurled at anyone who dares to stand in his way.

Let's start with the most recent development. A judge ordered that documents about Trump University pertaining to the lawsuit should be unsealed. (Monday morning, the judge made them public.) Last Friday during a rally in San Diego, Trump devoted 12 substance-free minutes of his 58 minute address to how awful the judge is.
“I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd of several thousand booed. “He is not doing the right thing.”
Not much there. Here's a tad more information.
“We’re in front of a very hostile judge,” Mr. Trump said. “The judge was appointed by Barack Obama, federal judge. Frankly, he should recuse himself because he’s given us ruling after ruling after ruling, negative, negative, negative.”
So. The judge should recuse himself because he was appointed by Obama and he's ruled against Trump. What's more, the judge, according to Trump, is "Mexican." In fact, Curiel was born in Indiana.

"Trump University" was never a university. It was one of those get-rich-quick cons that begin with free promotional seminars about how to make millions in real estate designed to convince people to buy increasingly more expensive coursework. The first three day seminar costs $1,495. The "Gold Elite" programs cost $35,000.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

We Can't Let Those People Do That. It's Just Wrong!

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 1:30 PM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
Keeping all those colored people as slaves simply makes sense. They're not equipped to deal with the responsibility of being free citizens. And then letting them vote on top of giving them their freedom? God no! It's Just Wrong.

Women are fine in their place, but it's the men folks who should be making important decisions. Give women the vote? God no! It's Just Wrong.

They have their schools, we have our schools, and it's working just fine. Integrate the schools? God no! It'll cause chaos. Everyone will suffer. It's Just Wrong.

Interracial marriage? Gay rights? Gay marriage? God no! Wrong, wrong, wrong. It'll destroy the fabric of society.

And so it goes. Now the issue is transgender people using the bathroom of their choice. Somehow we managed to survive all those other changes which granted rights where rights were previously denied—and we've become a better society for it—but this time, apparently, this change is a bridge too far. It's. Just. Wrong.

Arizona has joined with 10 other states to oppose the Obama administration's recent guidance on the way schools should treat their transgender students. It's Attorney General Mark Brnovich's ball game, but Superintendent of Public Instruction has picked up a bat and stepped to the plate as well.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 5

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2016 at 9:15 AM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
It's Day 5 of the Ducey "Next Step" Watch, which began Friday when the governor declared that Prop 123 passed. Lots has happened on the school funding front since then, but not much of it has come from Ducey.

If you remember, when he was asked what he plans as a next step after the passage of Prop 123, Ducey dodged the question, saying, “We’re going to take the rest of the day off. We’re going to celebrate a little bit.” Now we have another quote from Ducey which gives us a bit more to go on.
"We're going to keep this coalition together, from the education community to the business community to the elected leadership in our state, and we're going to talk about how we continue to improve K-12 education."
Interesting. Let's start with what's not in Ducey's statement: the words "funding" or "money." People can read whatever we want into his assertion that we should "continue to improve K-12 education," but Ducey has made it clear from his first day as governor, he doesn't want to spend a penny more from the general fund if he can help it. He's pushed to lower school funding in the two state budgets since he was elected.

As for Ducey's "coalition," it was always more of a temporary, uneasy alliance than a genuine coalition. On one side of the alliance, Ducey and his Republican cronies think Prop 123 is great. It gives a little money to schools to deflect the growing voter consensus that we need to increase funding even if it means raising taxes, and most of the money comes from the children's state land trust fund rather than the state coffers. "Maybe that'll satisfy 'em so we can get back to budget cuts and tax breaks for our rich supporters." On the other side of the alliance, some supporters of public education reluctantly joined with Ducey to get a little money for our schools sooner rather than later, knowing it's unlikely Republicans will follow the court order to replace the school funding which was taken away illegally. They hate the fact that the money comes from the state land trust fund, but they held their nose and supported Prop 123 anyway.

On Day 5, it looks like Ducey's fraying coalition has been replaced by another coalition calling itself AZ Schools Now!, and it doesn't include Ducey and his buddies.

Continue reading »

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 1

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2016 at 11:30 AM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
Mark the date, May 20, 2016. That's the day Governor Ducey declared that Prop 123, his "first step" to improve Arizona education, passed. The count isn't official yet, but Ducey believes it's a done deal. So now it's time to find out what he has in mind for the next step.

When Howard Fischer asked Ducey outright what comes next, the governor got cute.
“We’re going to take the rest of the day off,” he said. “We’re going to celebrate a little bit.”
Fine. But unless he's planning to go on a serious bender, the celebrations should be over soon and it'll be time for him to state his plans. The "Next Step" Watch has begun. Today is Day 1. Weekends count, since being governor is a 24/7 job. I'm sure Ducey has been thinking about what he wants to do next, he just hasn't told the rest of us. It's time.

Let me offer a suggestion. Ducey should get together with the leaders of the House and Senate and propose a $300 million K-12 education package to match the $300 million Prop 123 is supposed to bring in. The first $90 million of that will take us from 70 percent to 100 percent of what the courts say the state owes our schools. The remaining $210 million will be new funding.

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Staff Pick

Monsters, Inc.

Directed By: Pete Docter, David Silverman Written By: Pete Docter, Jill Culton A city of monsters with… More

@ Fox Tucson Theatre Sun., July 24, 2 p.m. 17 W. Congress St.

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