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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch: Last 30 Days

Re: “Grandmas, the Declaration of Independence and Cursive

True story:
The cursive articles referred to here are press releases directly linked to legislation, known in some states as the "Back to Basics Bill." The cursive bill was created by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and it was handed to many of your AZ state legislators when they attended one of ALEC's posh annual 'education' meetings. The bill is literally ready-made - no constituent input needed! - and can be introduced with just a few changes to the heading (ALEC heading to NC, OH, AZ, etc. ).

WHY a cursive bill? That's the important question here. The press selling points are the exact same in every state where I've seen this come up ("Kids can't read the Declaration of Independence" is the #1 talking point, by the way). Again, it's not an organic movement - a national legislative group is driving the conversation and providing press materials.

The why in this story has nothing to do with founding documents or 'values': Back when this bill first made the rounds (2014), it was revealed that Zaner-Bloser pushed for the legislation to be included in the ALEC package. Who is Zaner-Bloser? The company that produces cursive handwriting workbooks...and, not coincidently, the same company who is benefiting from new, mandatory workbook sales to teach cursive in states like Alabama, etc. who pass the cursive law.

31 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Parent X on 03/09/2017 at 6:41 AM

Re: “Streets of This Town: Easy Living.

An enjoyable and revealing series!

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Don Berry on 03/09/2017 at 6:04 AM

Re: “Tucson Weekly Folks at Tucson Festival of Books

Tucson Weekly is bringing quite the slate of hate to feed the liberals of Tucson. "You must fight them", "Chicano Movement for Beginners", "Race in America".

They'll be offering free, laminated, white guilt cards declaring your apology for your privilege.


2 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by What, Again on 03/08/2017 at 6:07 PM

Re: “Grandmas, the Declaration of Independence and Cursive

me 2 lol ttul8tr sucka

21 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Devon Shivonne on 03/08/2017 at 4:34 PM

Re: “Grandmas, the Declaration of Independence and Cursive

As a rule, I try to avoid ad hominem comments, but in this case the author is an idiot.

A little research would have revealed that there are many things that used to be taught in schools that are now being shown to improve the cognitive abilities of young minds -- and older minds as well -- such as teaching art, music and yes cursive writing. These things help the mind to make connections between areas of the brain that improve overall performance and thought processes.

However, go ahead and disparage them Mr. Safier, I look forward to how you will practice your trade when your young audience can only communicate by emoji or texting abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms. ROTFLMFAO.

34 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by sgsmith on 03/08/2017 at 4:16 PM

Re: “Learn How To Save the Bees

Might I add, Mr. Hunter: By "native species that are far more gentle in AZ", I assume that you are not referring to Honey Bees. Apis mellifera was the Honey Bee in Arizona prior to the introduction of Apis scutellata. They are sub-species and capable of hybridization resulting in a Honey Bee population in Arizona that is now far more aggressive and potentially dangerous.

If you opt to work with local Honey Bees, proceed with caution. An alternative is to introduce an Apis mellifera queen into your colony and re-queen as necessary in trying to keep your colony reatively gentle.

Bee that live in holes and do not have honey, are not Honey Bees.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Francis Saitta on 03/08/2017 at 3:38 PM

Re: “Grandmas, the Declaration of Independence and Cursive

How will printing be a recognized signature on legal documents?

32 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Crazy Old Man on 03/08/2017 at 3:33 PM

Re: “Grandmas, the Declaration of Independence and Cursive

Safier it doesnt surprise me you think the ability to write in cursive is not a problem.

Kids SHOULD be able to write in cursive legibly, printing is for fine for a first grader ... but not for older kids.

Just as balancing a checkbook is important, or giving a cashier correct change -- its all part and parcel of being an educated adult.

20 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by danehick sux on 03/08/2017 at 3:17 PM

Re: “Grandmas, the Declaration of Independence and Cursive

"Simple, folksy arguments that sound like they make sense until you spend 10 seconds thinking about them [...] At best [...] sloppy thinking. At worst [...] a purposeful distraction from the real argument."

Gosh, David, that's a pretty good description of what your blog has been for the past 4 years, especially when you write on the subject of TUSD.

"TUSD is a rusty old ship, but finally, under the leadership of a new captain, heading in the right direction."

Yeah right. Looks like the Titanic, which was conspicuoisly NOT heading in the right direction, just hit a very large iceberg which we might dub "public recognition of malfeasance."

Will the ship sink? It remains to be seen. Some are bailing water and patching holes as quickly as they can. Others are occupying themselves with slinging mud at the water bailing and hole patching crew.

I'll leave it to you to interpret that allegory.

27 likes, 30 dislikes
Posted by WHO is trying to distract the public? on 03/08/2017 at 1:57 PM

Re: “TUSD Suspense Continues

Well said. All we need is MORE choice. Vouchers will solve TUSD's failings.

1 like, 24 dislikes
Posted by Hawkeye on 03/08/2017 at 1:28 PM

Re: “Learn How To Save the Bees

Also realize that there are native species that are far more gentle in AZ. Many of the bees nest in holes, but don't have honey. Crown Bees has a website that can tell you more on these.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dave Hunter on 03/08/2017 at 12:46 PM

Re: “TUSD Suspense Continues


As has been pointed out before in these comment streams, it's important not to make invalid assumptions about cause and effect relationships. It may be true that well supported Superintendents serving for decades are associated with excellent school districts, but that does not mean that holding on to a poorly performing Superintendent will cause a bad school district to become an excellent one. This is an obvious point that many people who are moaning and complaining about the Sanchez resignation fail to understand.

Especially in school districts that are troubled and have experienced high rates of turnover in their Sup position, competence matters. Honesty matters. Here is what one activist parent -- not a jackal, not a disgruntled contractor -- but an extremely well informed Board watcher, parent, former Board candidate, and volunteer said about the Sanchez resignation in the comment stream on another of Ms. Khmara's recent pieces about TUSD: "Ms. Kharma, you leave out the one thing that should instantly disqualify Sanchez for the job, and should immediately undermine every single one of his very well-known political supporters. He lies. He lied about 301 money, he lied about bonuses and pay packages, he lied about 123 money--IF you actually knew what was going on in the District AND you listened to what he said, you could see the lies, and they were plentiful." (Betts Putnam-Hidalgo)

The lies destroyed the trust that teachers had in him. They destroyed the trust that parents (or, to be more accurate, parents who were paying a reasonable amount of attention to the district's affairs) had in him. When you don't have your constituency's trust, you cannot lead, and you need to move on. It was best for him, it was best for the district, it was best for the region. The Board minority who brought him into town and did not want their political opponents to have the opportunity to control the selection process for the next Sup had an obvious motive for trying to hang on to him, and that's what they did. They shrieked and staged shabby "showdowns" in parking lots and called in all the favors they were owed locally to drum up a weak and transparently self-interested show of "support" for this deeply unpopular leader. Now they are "playing the race card" and circulating the spurious argument that it was prejudice against Hispanics that caused Stegeman et al. to organize a campaign to get rid of Juarez and Sanchez. More BS. What the Board minority has been doing in recent weeks just shows how little they care about this community, that they are willing to engage in bitterly divisive (and false) mud slinging and invective rather than working with other Board members to engage in a proper recruitment process and turn the community's attention to what needs to be done for the benefit of students, not what the Board minority selfishly think needs to be done to undermine their political opponents.

Unfortunately, the whole sad story is one more nail in the coffin of the idea that democratic control produces good results in troubled urban public school districts. Too bad, because Arizona has no good alternative available to democratic control of this district, which enrolls 40-something thousand students. Those who had the resources needed to get out have gotten out through choice policy. Those who remain stuck in the thing are being under-served, and the blame for their damaged educations and diminished prospects in life can be laid squarely at the door of leaders in this state who failed to understand that BOTH sufficient funding and proper oversight and regulation were needed to keep this massive public institution of education from deteriorating into the sad mess it is in now.

10 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Keeping bad leadership doesn't improve matters. on 03/08/2017 at 12:13 PM

Re: “Grandmas, the Declaration of Independence and Cursive

They don't need to read and write. The goal is to create social justice warriors that will shout down and burn down opposing opinions.

Looks like it's working just fine David.

21 likes, 41 dislikes
Posted by TUSD should be ashamed on 03/08/2017 at 11:34 AM

Re: “Grandmas, the Declaration of Independence and Cursive

Far more important educational issues to deal with? You mean making sure our students come out of school as well-indoctrinated progressives?

12 likes, 34 dislikes
Posted by Once a teacher on 03/08/2017 at 11:03 AM

Re: “Streets of This Town: Dead Soldiers at Night

You have craft cocktails a short walk away from 22nd & Alvernon at Joesler village. There is no storefront along 22nd street that I'd consider opening a craft cocktail bar.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Hungry in Vail on 03/08/2017 at 10:57 AM

Re: “Countries That Embraced Vouchers Made the Wrong School Choice

First of all, Frances cited the ARIZONA Constitution -- not the US. Different documents -- y'all should read them sometime.

Second: As far as I'm aware, NOBODY in this argument is anti-Catholic, anti-private or anything else (though many of the commentators seem to be anti-TUSD). You want choice? Choose. Be happy. Conservatives want to conflate this issue with abortion, for crying out loud!

If you want to pay to take your kids to a private religious school, fine. I have no objection to that at all. Just don't ask me to pay for it. The principle doesn't seem like it would be this hard to grasp: TAX dollars go to PUBLIC schools that are accountable to TAXPAYERS. PRIVATE schools should be funded by those to whom the schools are accountable -- meaning those who PAY for them. See how that works?

14 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Longtime Reader on 03/08/2017 at 10:03 AM

Re: “Grandmas, the Declaration of Independence and Cursive

Sorry David but those things you think are far more important are really political issues that you try to disguise as basic education. Look what happened when we stopped teaching kids how to make change and balance a checkbook. (The joke is that those kids are now in Congress.)

Go buy a hamburger with cash and watch the college graduate try to make change for a $20. They give you what the register, digital readout says to give you.

What does the math illiterate have to build on? Self esteem?

13 likes, 31 dislikes
Posted by Susan Henshaw on 03/08/2017 at 9:30 AM

Re: “Removing TUSD Superintendent Prioritized Over Finding Replacement

Either that or deseg funding IS the problem. Are we treating the symptoms or the ailment?

2 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by Debbi L on 03/08/2017 at 9:25 AM

Re: “Removing TUSD Superintendent Prioritized Over Finding Replacement

Questions for those supporting breaking the district into smaller units:

If you cut a thoroughly rotten apple in half, does that make it less rotten?

After decades of misguided hiring that did not select for people with the right credentials or with the right motivation (to serve students rather than to serve the political machine connected with the district), is this "apple" more putrid mess or good fruit? Might it be possible that because of the commitment to and persistence of bad hires, at some point it passed the point where, if you cut out the rot in admin and in the schools, there would be enough good fruit left to keep the district (or smaller units of it) functioning?

I guess one point in favor of breaking it up would be that if you could get good CEOs in charge of each new, smaller unit, it would be easier for them to know conditions in each school in their smaller systems and to accomplish reform.

To all those who want the deseg case ditched:

The commentary provided by the plaintiffs, plaintiffs' advocates, and Special Master constitute one of the few sources of information locally that provides reasonably good research and reporting on where funds are being applied by the district and on whether their application benefits students, and on what conditions students are experiencing on the school sites. The State Department of Education doesn't provide adequate oversight and enforcement of reasonable standards, and the local media, though a few reporters (e.g. Huichochea and Steller) occasionally manage to get a good piece out, is weak and MIA on far too many important issues. Many who understand the conditions poor students are experiencing in some of the district's schools shudder to think about how much more things would deteriorate if the deseg authorities were not calling attention to injustices and advocating, very reasonably, for improvement in services delivered to students. It would help if the community could pay attention to what they're saying and get behind the needed reforms.

14 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by RE Breaking it up & RE Ditching deseg on 03/08/2017 at 7:21 AM

Re: “TUSD Celebrates Kindness Week After Driving Out Superintendent

In a democratically controlled public institution, in order for the public to make the right choices about leadership, they have to get ACCURATE and REASONABLY COMPLETE information about what conditions are in the schools and how leadership's choices are affecting those conditions. The notion that all negative information should be suppressed and only positive stories should be highlighted, no matter how many mistakes are made by leadership and how much they degrade conditions in the schools, will destroy a democratically controlled institution because it will result in bad leadership being re-installed in election after sad election.

Stephanie Boe was brought in as part of the "good PR at all costs!!!" approach to dealing with this troubled institution. Many believe that she is part of the problem and a large part of the reason some of the conspicuously bad leadership in the district has been RE-elected.

It is sick that this district would pay a propagandist close to $100K per year and most of the hard working, college educated people teaching our kids less than half of that. Get the money out of admin and into the CLASSROOMS where it belongs. Reduce Ms Boe's salary to what a teacher with the same number of years of professional experience would earn. This district should stop being a place where administrators are paid and treated like they are more valuable than those doing the hard work of educating kids. If the values changed, perhaps there wouldn't be so many unfilled teaching positions in the district. Other districts that pay the same (or less) don't have the teacher recruitment and retention problems TUSD does, and that is in part because of the bad attitudes and privileging of overpaid central administrators that are part of the district's institutional culture and m.o.

24 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by Get the money in the CLASSROOMS where it belongs. on 03/08/2017 at 4:49 AM

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