Thursday, July 28, 2016

TUSD Enrollment, 2000 to 2016, Part 2

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 2:35 PM

In my last post, I put up a chart, which I also included here, showing the decline in enrollment numbers at TUSD from 2000 to the present. The short takeaway from the chart is, the district's enrollment declined slowly, averaging 350 students a year, from 2000 through 2007. Then the decline almost quadrupled, averaging 1,600 students a year, through 2012. Since then, the decline has slowed. The 2015-16 school year had the smallest decline, 417 students, in eight years.

I decided to pore over data for the 16 years in greater detail, looking at enrollment numbers from the beginning and the end of the school year and grade by grade, to see if I could find any trends worth noting. I did, and in the rest of the post, I'll describe some of what I found. I'm going to restrain myself from drawing too many conclusions from the data. I make a few observations at the end, but really, there are far too many variables at work here for me to tease out clear causes and effects. [Note: I'm going to try and make things as clear as possible, but I'm comparing lots of numbers, which always makes for slow reading, and this isn't the kind of writing I normally do. I'll do the best I can.]
I chose to use the figures from the 175th day for the end-of-the-year numbers because that's either the end of the school year or close to it, depending on the year, and the numbers for that day have fewer random ups and downs than other days. I also looked at student numbers on the 20th day, which is when things settle down after the first month's enrollment changes, so it's a reasonable place for a beginning-of-the-year count.

Looking at the enrollment on the 20th and the 175th day each year, I found, not surprisingly, that every year, TUSD had fewer students at the end of the year than at the beginning, which I suspect is true in other districts. For the 16 years from 2000 to the present, TUSD's average decrease from the beginning to the end of the year was about 1200 students.Only three years had decreases of less than 950 students: 2009-10 (915) and both of the last two school years, 2014-15 (920) and 2015-16 (582). That means that the during the last two years, holding onto students for the entire school year had a significant role in slowing the overall decrease of students. 

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Best of Tucson Final Warning

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 12:00 PM

  • conejoazul/Flickr

It's time! Stop your Netflix binge, put down your watermelon eegee and put your thinkin' cap on because you need to fill out your Best of Tucson ballot by the end of the day Sunday—or what is even the point of being such a Tucson expert? 

If you're not familiar: Best of Tucson is our annual guide to the city. It helps new Tucson transplants navigate the Old Pueblo, it gives longtime residents some insight into what their fellow Tucsonans love about our city, it shows our local chefs/artists/business owners that we appreciate what they do for us culturally. We run the voting in two rounds: First, you can nominate anyone for any category. We look at the votes, pick the people/places that got the most votes in the first round, and open up a second round of voting with only the finalists. That's where we're at now.

Time is running out, and this is not a short survey—well, you don't have to fill out the whole thing, but it's still a lot to go through. So get going

Having trouble logging in? Email me: 

Cinema Clips: Lights Out

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Three years ago, director David F. Sandberg made a great short about a woman home alone at night, noticing a dark figure when she switched the light off. The payoff was both hilarious and scary as shit. So, of course, producer James Wan got a hold of Sandberg and now there’s a full length feature film based on that light-switch premise.

Writer Eric Heisserer takes the idea, fleshes it out, and comes up with a pretty good story to go with Sandberg’s strong horror directing abilities. Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) is an angry woman with mommy and commitment issues. Her mom, Sophie (Maria Bello), recently lost her husband and has fallen into a depression where she is talking to herself. Her son, and Sophie’s brother, Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is seeing a strange dark figure when the lights go out. It all leads up to a finale where flashlights are very valuable and potential victims behave like idiots.

Sandberg repeats the same jolt scare over and over again, and makes it all work nicely. The film is genuinely scary in the moments it’s trying to be. The background story is a little on the flaccid side, but Palmer and Bello are good in their roles, and Bateman plays a scared kid with major aplomb. It’s a serviceable horror film that will give genre fans a reasonably good time.

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The Weekly List: 44 Great Things To Do in Tucson in the Next Seven Days

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Welcome to the first edition of The Weekly List, our brand-new curated guide to all the fun you should be having in Southern Arizona. Look for it every Thursday on The Range and then plan your week accordingly!

Food & Booze

Green Things Farmer's and Artisan Market. Stock up on homemade jams, fresh-baked bread, handcrafted jewelry and everything else you find at a Farmer's Market, along with all the cactus, trees and plants you'll find at Green Things. 8 a.m. to noon. Thursday, July 28 at Green Things Nursery Free Farmers Market, 3235 E. Allen Road.

Baja Brews Tasting Event: Cactus Fruits. Edible Baja teams up with a dozen local breweries to host the first Baja Brews Tasting co-sponsored by Arizona Craft Brewers Guild and Visit Tucson. You'll be able to talk to the brewers, sample beers made just for the event and your admission goes right towards great local non-profits Desert Harvesters, Native Seeds/SEARCH, Iskashitaa Refugee Network and Trees for Tucson. 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 28. Borderlands Brewing Company, 119 E. Toole Ave. $15

Harvestfest Sonoita Vineyards Sonoran Tasting Tours. Want to explore Sonoita wine country without risking a DUI? Sonoran Tasting Tours is for you. Your ticket includes roundtrip transportation along with tastings, lunch, and a souvenir glass. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 30. $89 all inclusive, with discounts for parties of four or more. 

Demonstration Class and Lunch with Chef Wendy Gauthier.
The Carriage House brings Wendy Gauthier of Chef Chic to tell you all about enhancing your meals with oils and balsamic from local purveyor Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oils. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 30. The Carriage House, 125 S. Arizona Ave. $60 per person.

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Review: Hillary’s America: the Secret History of the Democratic Party

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 8:59 AM

Author and film maker Dinesh D’Souza’s latest film opened nationwide last Thursday. It is a history lesson in two parts.

It starts with a short and somewhat creepy sequence of swirling cartoon representations of different Democrat politicians to the tune of “Happy Days are Here Again”. The movie then begins with a re-enactment of the sentencing phase of D’Souza’s trial for violation of campaign finance laws. This was the beginning of part one.

Yes, it’s true, Dinesh D’Souza had a friend who was running for office to whom he donated $20k. So far, so good, but he then had a third party donate another $20k which was reimbursed by D’Souza. He was charged with a felony. His lawyer said that this sort of case is common and that nobody suffers a felony and that he would get it reduced for him. After some time, his lawyer told him that the court was not budging, he could not get the charge reduced, and that somebody must really want to get him. This took place after the D’Souza movie 2016: Obama’s America which was critical of the president. He pleaded guilty to the felony and was sentenced to five years probation, eight months in a "community confinement center," eight hours a week of community service during the probation, and a thirty thousand dollar fine. It was sort of a “Lite” version of G.Gordon Liddy’s sentence of 20 years in prison (commuted to eight years by President Carter) for a first offense breaking and entering where nothing was stolen—his punishment for not co-operating with Democrats after the Watergate fiasco.

After the courtroom scene, there was a humorous sequence showing his induction to the "community confinement center" and getting used to the company of hardened criminals. He began to learn about the criminal subculture which had been totally foreign to him. Through speaking with his fellow inmates, he distilled the four major aspects of the criminal enterprise: 1, Develop a plan; 2, Recruit; 3, Make the pitch; 4, If caught, always deny, never give up the con. He uses his newfound understanding of criminality as a framework for explaining the success and ultimate goal of the Democrat Party.

D’Souza dived back in history to the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the Democrat president who drove Native Americans off their land onto reservations, then sold the land cheaply to buy votes. The Republicans fought against the plan, but the Democrats got it passed. He proceeds through history to the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, big city political machines, Margaret Sanger, and finally debunking the claim that Republicans under Nixon decided to appeal to Southern racists and that is why black people turned to the Democrats after the racists in the party became Republicans. It was given the term, “The Southern Strategy.”

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday at the DNC

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 5:00 PM

  • There are some inherent difficulties in covering this type of event which I’ve had to learn about the hard way. The physical space itself presents a huge challenge. There are several miles between the protests downtown and the Wells Fargo Arena, site of the convention proper and additional daily protesters numbering in the thousands. The physical separation is compounded by the paucity of available parking spaces and extreme downtown congestion. Which is all a way of saying this entire undertaking is an eye-opening experience with regards to what journalists accomplish with limited resources and only so many hours in a day and impatient editors and troll infested comment sections. Reporting is not easy, and the people who practice the art well should be applauded, not penned up in the back of a rally and ridiculed. Yes, it all comes back to Donald Trump. No, I am not including myself in the group of people to applaud. I clearly have no idea what I’m doing.

  • Downtown Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon saw a great deal of energy being expended by those deeply opposed to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Many people I talked to yesterday were offended by the behavior of the Democratic National Committee. Fair enough: the DNC acted rather childishly and made some silly remarks during their email game of insider baseball. Perhaps more energy should be expended on investigating the possibility that Russia is attempting to decide the outcome of a US Presidential election and Donald Trump’s financial ties to Vladimir Putin and his council of oligarchs. This Russian connection to the DNC email leak story is being reported by outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times. Surely this is the story, not the election meddling of Debbie Wasserman-Schulz. There is absolutely no question that if this story was about Hillary Clinton and her ties to the Russian government, all hell would break loose for her campaign. Donald Trump has a remarkable ability to skirt by untouched even as he leaves scorched earth in the rearview mirror. The issue of the Russians may prove to be the end of the road for his lightly scrutinized sordid past and present dealings.

  • Wednesday has been incredibly tranquil compared to the first two days of the DNC. There are very few protesters out in the downtown area. The reasons for this probably have quite a bit to do with the energy of pro-Bernie supporters. Their fervor has been dampened considerably by events inside the convention. Hillary has the nomination, and Bernie encouraged a simple roll call vote to get the thing done. All of this feels like an ending to the largest protests, but Thursday may prove differently. As of now, there are no major crowds downtown. Sporadic protests and marches, individuals showing dissent or assent for various issues and candidates, but nothing in the way of mass demonstrations. Thursday will prove an interesting coda to the convention season. 
  • All of this placidity downtown led Jimi and I to make our way to Osage street in west Philadelphia, site of the firebombing of the MOVE compound by the city of Philadelphia in 1985. MOVE is a black liberation group founded by John Africa in 1972. The group is known for communal living and actions taken to protest and combat systemic racism within city government. In 1978 a standoff occurred between MOVE and city police which led to the death of an officer and the imprisonment of nine members of the group. By 1985, tension between MOVE and various city officials and departments reached some kind of tipping point. A standoff developed between John Africa and his followers and the leadership of the city, including Mayor W. Wilson Goode, who declared the group a terrorist organization and ordered the police to end the standoff. 
  • The Philadelphia Police Department procured liquid gel C4 explosive from the FBI, flew a helicopter above the MOVE compound on Osage Avenue, and firebombed the building. The city then stood by as the fire spread from 6221 Osage to surrounding houses. The firebombing by the city of Philadelphia consumed 65 houses completely. Eleven people died as a result of the firebombing and subsequent inferno, including MOVE leader John Africa, five other adults, and five children. I’ll be releasing a video of our trip to Osage Avenue later today. Even now there are numerous abandoned and boarded over houses up and down the block. We spoke to current residents who claimed to have lived on the block at the time of the bombing. Which is all to confirm a great truth laid out by William Faulkner a century ago: “The past is never dead. It's not even past.”

Pokémon Go in the Gardens (Plus a Plant Sale!)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 4:21 PM

Attention all Pokémon Go players: Head over to the Tohono Chul Park to get access to 13 poké stops and a gym. 

The park is now offering players half off admission, all you have to do is show them the app on your phone, provide your handle and you can get access to the deal. 

Asking only that players stay hydrated, safe and aware of their surroundings—especially with cacti and wildlife along the trails—the park only wants to help players catch them all responsibly. 

Normal admission prices are as follows:
Member: Free
Student with ID: $5
Adults: $10
Children 5-12: $3
Children under 5: Free
Active Military: $5

Head over to Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, to catch this deal, which is being offered though Aug. 31. 

If you've got some time for Pokémon Go hunting this weekend, the deal gets sweeter: This Friday, July 29 from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, July 30 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. the park is hosting it's annual Monsoon Madness Plant Sale. Admission fees are waived during this time, so go enjoy the desert and pick up some plants while you're hunting for a Charizard.

For more information on specific times visit or call 742-6455. 

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Suppport Tucson Students' by Donating School Supplies

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Backpacks, markers, glue sticks, oh my! Help the kids of Tucson start the school year off right, prepared with supplies by donating school essentials to the La Escuelita South Tucson back to school supply drive.

  • WikiMedia

Bring school supplies to help students, donate anything from pencils to paper, you can even bring a backpack full of school supplies if you're feeling generous. 

The UA Museum of Art and the UA Norton School of Family and Consumer Science are supporting the drive by acting as drop off sites for the donations. 

You have until Tuesday, Aug. 2 to drop off donations at the UA Museum of Art (1031 N. Olive Rd) or the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences (650 N. Park Ave.)  

Have items that need to be picked up? Email 

Don't worry if you find more school supplies after that date: The Tucson Desert Art Museum's supply drive starts the next day and continues through Sept. 30. 

The Tucson Desert Art Museum is even offering a discounted admission to anyone who donates supplies.  

More information about the La Escuelita drive and the Tucson Desert Art Museum drive is available online.

  • Flickr/StevenDePolo

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Staff Pick

Monsoon Madness

Tohono Chul hosts local growers and nationally-renowned plant experts with their specially-selected inventory. Buy the weird and… More

@ Tohono Chul Park July 29-30, 3-7 p.m. and July 30, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. 7366 N. Paseo del Norte.

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Popular Content

  1. Review: Hillary’s America: the Secret History of the Democratic Party (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. The Weekly List: 44 Great Things To Do in Tucson in the Next Seven Days (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Tucson Sentinel Unearths Treasure Trove of Ally Miller's Emails That Demonstrate She's a Big Fat Liar (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. TUSD Enrollment, 2000 to 2016, Part 2 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Best of Tucson Final Warning (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

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