Monday, March 23, 2015

Polo Education: the Great Private School Democratizer?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 10:30 AM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin

As I read this story Sunday, I kept flipping back to the front page to make sure I was reading the Business section of the NY Times and not The Onion. The story has the tone of deadpan absurdity perfected by The Onion's faux news. Yep, it was the Times. The story is written by Robert Frank, who is the CNBC wealth editor (really, that's his title). He also wrote "Richistan," which exposed the ways of the wealthy, so maybe he had tongue planted firmly in cheek as he wrote this seemingly laudatory story. Or maybe not.

I recommend you stop reading this post, link to the story, A High School Where a Student Might Letter in Polo, and read the whole thing. Honestly, I can't do it justice. But let me give it a try.

William I. Koch, the sports/playboy billionaire brother of the famed David and Charles "Koch Brothers," put up $60 million to open a private high school so his children had a school they could attend near his Palm Beach, Florida, home. (Thoughtful dad. How people are willing to pony up $60 million for their children's educations?) Tuition is a hefty $25,000 a year, though I'm guessing if William was asked about increasing spending for public schools, he'd say money doesn't matter and complain about people who want to "throw money at schools."

Here's a wonderful stat from the story about the growing education spending gap.
High-income families now spend, on average, seven times as much each year on education as lower-income families, up from four times as much in the 1970s, according to one study. From 2007 through 2011, while the broader economy was weak, enrollment at private schools with tuition averaging $28,340 jumped 36 percent, according to federal data.
Polo wasn't part of the original curriculum. It began as an attempt to serve the needs of one student who was a competitive polo player. The school started the program so he wouldn't have to miss so much school. Really, isn't that what a good education is all about, meeting the needs of your students?

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Alton Brown Ate At El Guerro Canelo, Eegee's and More in Tucson

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 7:30 AM

Where in Tucson did Alton Brown go? - ALTON BROWN / FACEBOOK
  • Alton Brown / Facebook
  • Where in Tucson did Alton Brown go?

Remember when we told you that Alton Brown would be coming to town to try out the best Tucson's food and beverage world has to offer? Well, Brown did indeed stop into the city on Sunday, March 22 and it looks like he might have taken some of the suggestions that we saw the most.

  • Alton Brown / Facebook
Brown posted a photo of the Santa Fe tamale from Tucson Tamale Company, to which one commenter responded:

"Greatest restaurant in the history of restaurants."

Then he snapped a shot of an iconic Sonoran dog from El Guero Canelo, prompting another commenter to say:

"I tried making them last year. It's not easy," attaching a photo of some not-quite-Canelo-worthy dogs ... leave it to the pros.

Next up,  Brown added a photo of him posing with some fresh churros from the Just Churros cart, earning the straightforward response:

"Churros! Gimme."

Before finishing up with a cup of "very good coffee" from Cartel, Brown got a half and half "iced fruit drink" with strawberry and pina colada at Eegee's. While we all know what's up at the Tucson institution, commenters explained it to out-of-towners like so:

"You can't even accurately describe an Eegee's because there's nothing else like it. It's not a slurpee. It's not an icee. It's not a fruit cone. It's one of a kind." Well said, Eegee's-lovin' commenter.

So, what do you think? Did Brown do a good job of hitting up Tucson's must-stop locations for Old Pueblo eats? Where should he come on his next visit?

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Brunch Time: Playground has Tequila and Trumpets

Posted By on Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 11:26 AM


If you're still lazing about at home and starting to think about feeding yourself on this Sunday morning, remember that Sunday is Brunchday and brunch means it's okay to start drinking in the morning.

Playground is hosting what, according to the Facebook event page, is the first of their Trumpets & Tequila brunch events. Today's event features music from Mariachi Luz De Luna

From event page:
Trumpets & Tequila will feature $6 specials on generous pints of Milagro Bloody Marias & Margaritas made to order, as well as Playground's full Sunday Brunch menu—from Breakfast Chilaquiles to California or Southwestern Omelets to vanilla-infused Texas French Toast!
Brunch ends at 2 p.m., so get your tequila face on and get down there.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Zona Politics: Talking with Congressman Grijalva and PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert

Posted By on Sat, Mar 21, 2015 at 11:55 AM

Zona Politics Eps.22 from Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel on Vimeo.

On this week's Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel: Congressman Raul Grijalva talks about immigration, health care, climate change and much more. Then Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert talks about how state budget cuts will affect PCC and the college's future now that it is off probation.

Friday, March 20, 2015

What Will We Tell the Children? Nogales Unified School District Edition

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 5:00 PM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin

Cheating on high stakes tests, or at least evidence of possible cheating, has reared its ugly head once again, this time at Wade Carpenter Middle School in the Nogales Unified School District. And once again, the validity of high stakes test scores as a measure of student achievement and school success has been thrown into question.
An analysis of eraser marks on AIMS tests at Wade Carpenter Middle School showed wrong answers had been corrected three or more times on 23 percent of seventh grade reading evaluations. Eighteen percent of math tests had four or more corrections. By comparison, just .006 percent of children statewide successfully change wrong answers this frequently.
If anyone cheated on the tests, it was teachers and/or administrators who were doing the erase-and-replace, not students. Patterns of wrong-to-right erasures on these tests usually mean someone other than the students went back and changed the answers. And it's possible this isn't a one shot deal at the school. It may have been going on since 2010.

Is this a problem at one Nogales school, or is it more widespread? No one knows at this point, and the only way to find out is to conduct a full scale, district-wide inquiry where multiple investigators interview teachers and administrators over and over again to see if they can uncover evidence of cheating. That's how the widespread Atlanta cheating scandal was uncovered. The staff repeatedly denied cheating until relentless inquiries led someone to admit the truth. The result has been high profile court trials of teachers and administrators. No other school district has been investigated as thoroughly, though based on an extensive study of erasure patterns at schools across the country, it's probable this kind of thing has happened elsewhere. No telling how hard the Nogales school district will look for more signs of cheating, though the superintendent has promised to have someone outside the district perform an investigation and is asking that people come forward with any information they might have.

Nogales Unified has defied the odds and received B and A grades from the state in spite of its high percentage of poor and ELL students. It has been cited as a model for what schools serving kids from poor families can accomplish, and the district has bragged that WCMS is the top Title 1 school in the country. It looks like we have a case of "cheating repeating itself." The Atlanta school district was named one of the finest in the country based on its test scores before the cheating scandal broke.

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SXSW Postcard: Lilly Hiatt at Threadgills

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Lilly Hiatt performed at the New West Records BBQ at Threadgills on Thursday, March 19.

TW Goes SXSW: Day 3 or An Exercise in Expectations

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 3:00 PM

A familiar Tucson sight here in Austin. - HEATHER HOCH
  • Heather Hoch
  • A familiar Tucson sight here in Austin.

Still reeling from the devastating loss of missing Miley Cyrus' surprise performance at Fader Fort on Wednesday night (read: heavy sarcasm), I headed out Thursday determined to see as much as possible. 

After some free BBQ (it's everywhere), I caught some of Juce's set at The Main II, which was an unexpected treat because the soulful UK pop group was a great way to start the day off with some dancing. You can't help but get excited for those times where you're walking down the street and discover a gem like that randomly.

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The HUB to Open Ice Creamery Across from Current Location

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 1:30 PM

click image Get ready for a whole lot more ice cream. - THE HUB / FACEBOOK
  • The Hub / Facebook
  • Get ready for a whole lot more ice cream.

You're probably not looking forward to May and the onslaught of summer, but the good news is there'll be at least a little relief from the heat in downtown Tucson then. That's because The HUB is opening an ice cream specific concept at 245 E. Congress St. right before summer hits.

The HUB's Ice Cream Factory will have more flavors of ice cream than the restaurant currently carries, but, also, milkshakes, floats, ice cream cakes and ice cream sandwiches. The in-house crafted and churned ice cream is designed by pastry chef Irene Cohen and will include seasonally rotating varieties. The forthcoming spot will also offer vegan and gluten-free options.

To stay up to date with The HUB's new ice cream spot, follow the new spot on Facebook.

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