Here's a quote by Ed Supe-elect Diane Douglas from a media release:
"The courts have ruled that Arizona schools were deprived of increases guaranteed to them by a vote of the people."
What does she mean exactly? I haven't seen the whole media release (Gotta get on that email list!), and from the reporting I've read, Douglas is short on specifics, but it looks like Douglas is saying the lege should cough up the dough it owes the schools. Another quote:
“Funding is not the only factor in the success of education, but it is clear that Arizona schools are suffering due to years of frugal budgets and cutbacks."
Here's what's missing — in a good sense — from that statement: the phrase "throwing money at schools." I agree with Douglas, "Funding is not the only factor in the success of education." But lots of conservatives take it a step further and contend that schools deserve less money because they're doing such a terrible job, why reward them for bad behavior by "throwing money at them"?
Douglas states her disagreement with the "throw money at education" crowd by stating, "Arizona schools are suffering due to years of frugal budgets and cutbacks." Yes, indeed they are.
Credit where credit is due. The superintendent has no direct control over the size of the state's education budget, but if Douglas is making statements that move the conversation in a positive direction, she's doing the right thing.
A press release today from former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired veteran and astronaut Captain Mark Kelly:
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, the Co-Founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, issued the following statement on the election of Colonel Martha McSally to represent Arizona’s 2nd District in the United States Congress:
“We congratulate Colonel McSally on her election as Southern Arizona’s next voice in Congress. From her service in defense of our nation to her upcoming tenure in Congress, Congresswoman-elect McSally has always shown a commitment to serving her country. We look forward to doing anything we can to help Congresswoman-elect McSally succeed in representing our community.
“While it’s no secret that we supported our friend Congressman Ron Barber in this hard-fought race, we are pleased that this campaign included an important and substantive debate on how to reduce gun violence in our communities. When the real issues are debated, the public wins. This was the case with Congresswoman-elect McSally's newly-stated support for legislation that would prevent convicted stalkers from getting guns. We commend her for defying the corporate gun lobby on this important public safety issue, and look forward to working with her to craft and help pass this badly needed legislation.
“Finally, we thank our friend Congressman Ron Barber for his decades of selfless service to this community. At every step, Ron has always fought to do right by Southern Arizona. Ron is a courageous man who nearly gave his life in service to this nation. Words cannot describe his sacrifice for us personally, and for this community. We are so grateful to him for his commitment, his courage, and his service.”
Pima Community College got word today that it will most likely have its probation lifted, based on a report by the Higher Learning Commission.
The report, which was put together based on a visit to Pima in September, will be one of the main pieces of evidence the commission takes into consideration when deciding the college’s fate in early 2015. The report included the caveat that while the college has made some good progress, many of the programs that have been implemented are still new. As a result, the team is recommending that the college be taken off probation, but put “on notice”—essentially saying that while the progress looks promising, the HLC should make sure everything holds up over time.
“I see today’s recommendation as positive news of where we’ve come and where we’re headed,” Pima Chancellor Lee Lambert said at a press conference. “The team that spent the most time with the college is coming back with this positive recommendation. I think it will be hard for them not to follow that.”
The announcement, which Lambert made encircled by smiling college employees, was met with a standing ovation.
The college’s accreditation has been on probation since the spring of 2013, when community concern brought the HLC to Tucson to look into problems at the college. During that evaluation, the HLC found five standards for accreditation that the college did not meet, including failing to investigate sexual harassment allegations quickly and abusing the college's HR practices.
Read the full report that will be submitted for Pima's upcoming trial here.
Ann-Eve Pedersen and I take a look at the three people who are advising Gov-elect Doug Ducey on education: Lisa Graham Keegan, Matthew Ladner and Erik Twist. All three have strong ties to the conservative education privatization movement. Not a school district employee or advocate among them.
Seeing as how Ducey's knowledge of education is thin and about 80 percent of Arizona's school children attend a district school, wouldn't it make sense to have one person on his Ed Transition team who knows something about school districts from the inside?
One of Tucson's best charity events rocks the stages of Club Congress and the Rialto Theatre this weekend.
The Great Cover-Up features local bands taking on the identity of other bands for quick sets. The show always offers great performances and wonderful surprises—seeing Sergio Mendoza and friends knocking it out of the park with an Earth, Wind & Fire homage was a highlight a few years back—and it's for a good cause. This year, the event will raise money for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and the Southern Arizona Artists and Musicians Healthcare Alliance.
We'll have more in the dead-tree edition of this week's edition, but Friday night's show begins at 7 p.m. at Club Congress and Saturday's show starts at 7 p.m. at the Rialto Theatre. Get more details here.
An exhibition and digital archive, "The Documented Border" is a collaborative initiative at the University of Arizona… More