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

Re: “U.S. Rep. Grijalva Won't Be Attending the Trump Inauguration

A Phony uses a phony excuse to disrespect the new President. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Raul is a jerk. A grade-A, can't be topped jerk.

38 likes, 66 dislikes
Posted by Mac on 01/13/2017 at 11:55 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 237—Talk Is Cheap Edition. Ducey's Funding-Lite, Destructive Education Proposals.

I was with you, Frances, until you started pitching for Common Core.

Fully educated, fully professionalized teachers -- the kind we should continue recruiting to staff our classrooms -- do not need (and most I know do not want) a rigid straight jacket tying them to regulators' vision of what is appropriate to teach to every same-age cohort of kids in the United States.

Ever heard of Vygotsky's zone of proximal development? You determine where a particular cohort is and gear instruction to meet that cohort where they are, taking them from point A to point B or from point B to point C. Leaping from point A to point Z is impossible and expecting it is abusive of both the teachers and the students in question. But it is exactly those kinds of leaps that are prescribed by rigid, top down, uniform standards like Common Core that are developed at a considerable distance from those on whom they will be imposed and do not acknowledge real and important differences between cohorts living in radically different circumstances throughout the US.

Children are not widgets, and their learning cannot be manufactured according to specifications determined by authorities with no direct knowledge of the characteristics of the groups in question.

"..the larger and more authoritarian an organization, the better the chance that its top decision-makers will be operating in purely imaginative worlds." Kenneth Boulding

14 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Yes to credentialing standards, no to Common Core. on 01/13/2017 at 10:43 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 237—Talk Is Cheap Edition. Ducey's Funding-Lite, Destructive Education Proposals.

You should allow a place for high achievers who will be competing in the global race. After all, they will be the ones subsidizing those who are not able to achieve.

60% of Households Now Receive More in Subsidized Income Than they Pay in Taxes - REDISTRIBUTION OF INCOME!…

And everyone balked at "47%". Try 80% dependent on 20%. Do you really think that a country can achieve anything at that point?

Teacher training? They need to take a Non Violent Physical Intervention class so that a teacher knows how to handle "Special Behavioral Problem" students when she is attacked! I had such training and after retirement went back to Substitute. As a SUB (because of this training), I was required to "follow" ONE student all day long to keep him from attacking other students and teachers while holding onto my hair and scalp! Education has been reduced to this a dumping ground for parents who didn't particularly want kids but needed the deduction!

3 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by Postimpressionist on 01/13/2017 at 10:31 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 237—Talk Is Cheap Edition. Ducey's Funding-Lite, Destructive Education Proposals.

We have a shortage of doctors in rural areas of the State. Let's just relax regulations on doctors or allow Cochise or Mohave Counties to just write their own regulations on doctors. This will solve the shortage problem. Right, Kelli Ward? It's similar to those who hated Common Core standards. When they were asked to specify which standard was most in error, of course none of them had ever read the damn things. So Arizona changes a couple of minor standards, slaps a new label on them and magically, Arizona Standards, none of those pointy headed standards from Obama. Works the same with doctors. What could go wrong.

20 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Frances Perkins on 01/13/2017 at 10:24 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 235 — State of the State Edition. Great Ideas! Terrific Ideas! Wallet Still Safely Stowed in Back Pocket.

That Ms. Putnam-Hidalgo and Stegeman -- both strong critics of the three person majority that was in place in TUSD 2012-2016 -- want to attribute Pedicone's resignation to the results of the 2012 election that put this majority in place is not a surprise.

For the record:

Pedicone's contract extension was signed in August of 2012. The election that changed the TUSD Board majority to Grijalva-Foster-Juarez occurred in early November 2012 and Foster and Juarez assumed office in January of 2013. Pedicone's resignation letter was dated March 20, 2013, more than four months after the results of the election were clear.

The Star article on the resignation stated, "Pedicones resignation from Tucsons largest K-12 school district [...] is effective at the end of June more than one year before his contract is set to expire. The announcement, made Wednesday at Tucson Unified School District headquarters, came as a surprise to many as Pedicone has repeatedly voiced his commitment to TUSD despite its many challenges."

The public statements made about the resignation, including the resignation letter

do not make clear what specifically motivated the resignation, which is common in statements of this kind. Nothing in the letter and nothing in the timeline leading to the resignation determines that the resignation was necessarily a reaction to the change in the governing board majority.

A lot can happen in four and a half months. I see no reason to disqualify the assertions that have been made by more than one person close to top-level TUSD decision makers -- assertions made independently of one another, on separate occasions, and with no knowledge of what the other parties making the same assertion had said -- that the largest factor in Pedicone's resignation decision was Stegeman's behavior between August of 2012 and March of 2013.

In closing, it's worth noting that there is at least one factual error in Ms. Putnam-Hidalgo's post. She states, "Pedicone[...] saw a compliant board quickly flip to one that was, at least during the campaign, completely opposed to his major contributions to TUSD-- [including] school closures...A few years into the new Supe... those same candidates were [...] allowing school closures to proceed."

It was not years after coming on the Board and after the Sanchez administration was in place that the new members (Foster and Juarez) reversed their positions on school closings. It was immediately after they came on the Board, before Pedicone's resignation. The Board voted for the closings in December 2012, immediately before they joined, the desegregation authority approved the closings in February 2013, immediately after they joined, and the new majority made no move to stop or revise the closings asked for by Pedicone's administration and approved by the previous Board and the desegregation authority. The closings occurred between the 2012-2013 school year and the 2013-2014 school year, just as Pedicone stepped out of the Superintendency and as Sanchez assumed the role.

It may be true that the PCDP operation has demonized Stegeman, but it is unfortunately also true that others, in opposing PCDP's view, have been led to view him in a more positive light than a careful examination of his behaviors in office would suggest is deserved. Those who've watched the district's recent history without a revisionist impulse and wishful thinking coloring their judgments know that it will be important to keep a very close eye on what Stegeman does with his role, going forward.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by For the Record: Pedicone & the 2012 Board Transition on 01/13/2017 at 10:20 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 237—Talk Is Cheap Edition. Ducey's Funding-Lite, Destructive Education Proposals.

...and certification makes an attempt to complete an in depth training to prepare teachers for harsh realities?

Spoken like a true union member and/or educational elitists. Nobody else could possibly be smart enough to handle the rigors of daily life.

3 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by TUSD should be ashamed on 01/13/2017 at 9:48 AM

Re: “The Weekly List: 23 Things To Do In the Next 10 Days

Go see J Boog you will not regret it, unless you're really into country or metal and nothing else =)

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by desertrat on 01/13/2017 at 9:46 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 237—Talk Is Cheap Edition. Ducey's Funding-Lite, Destructive Education Proposals.

You are absolutely right David! Giving districts the authority to relax teacher certification will tempt some districts to follow the path of least resistance and hire non-professionals who will not contribute to increases in achievement. Teachers today are forced to deal with a multitude of harsh realities that are challenging even for certified, highly skilled and seasoned professionals Expecting those with no expertise to do the same is crazy!

26 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Linda Lyon on 01/13/2017 at 7:23 AM

Re: “Trump Is Going to Fall, Hard, Sometime During the Primaries

and tomorrow is Friday the 13th...funny little thing happened along the way...they accepted my bid on the property in I hope they hurry up and build the wall and keep the crazies out. Hope to be moved in two months.

Posted by hakeson on 01/12/2017 at 10:49 PM

Re: “Trump Is Going to Fall, Hard, Sometime During the Primaries

hail to the chief

President Trump is here

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Steve Kozachek on 01/12/2017 at 9:52 PM

Re: “TUSD Magnet Schools, Desegregation, and the Next Step

Mike N - You can not teach a person with an IQ of 87 Trigonometry. NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY YOU SPEND! "Glib and smug are not indicators of intelligence!" Neither is rejection of FACTS!

0 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Postimpressionist on 01/12/2017 at 4:40 PM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 235 — State of the State Edition. Great Ideas! Terrific Ideas! Wallet Still Safely Stowed in Back Pocket.

No, Mark, you are not the authoritative arbiter and interpreter of THE REALITY of what has happened in TUSD, but it is interesting that you are reading this dialogue and that you chose to weigh in here with one of your characteristic "interventions."

However anyone chooses to frame what happened with Pedicone, what matters now is how you conduct yourself in office. And that, as I wrote above, will be closely observed.

12 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Reply to Stegeman on 01/12/2017 at 9:58 AM

Re: “Three (Maybe Four) Energy Stories From the News

No amount of fossil-fuel industry propaganda can change the fact that global climate disruption is the greatest threat to both people and wildlife in the 21st century. That's no longer just a prediction--it's already happening.

And the whole point of the net metering saga is that rooftop solar is truly revolutionary, in the sense that it could render fossil fuels (and yes, problematic wind turbines, too) obsolete--but also in the sense that it threatens to break corporate control over centralized, monopolized systems of energy production and distribution, which is why the big utilities and fossil fuel companies are doing everything they can to retard the growth of rooftop solar, which includes launching a great big torpedo at fair-market-value net metering. Our incredibly corrupt Corporation Commission is merely marching in lockstep with their corporate benefactors on that one.

16 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by skinnyman on 01/12/2017 at 9:53 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 235 — State of the State Edition. Great Ideas! Terrific Ideas! Wallet Still Safely Stowed in Back Pocket.

Concerning Pedicone's departure: He knew me well before he signed his contract extension in August 2012, and I did not change over the next few months. What changed, in the November 2012 election, was two seats on the board. That is the reality, however anyone chooses to frame it.

2 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Mark Stegeman on 01/12/2017 at 9:47 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 235 — State of the State Edition. Great Ideas! Terrific Ideas! Wallet Still Safely Stowed in Back Pocket.

Betts Putnam-Hidalgo:

It's possible that it's Huppenthal -- during the period that jhuppent has been posting there's been enough internal consistency among the posts and enough alignment between what is written under that name and Huppenthal known agenda to make it plausible -- but it's never safe to assume. Whether or not "jhuppent" is Huppenthal makes no difference in terms of whether there is a "point" in responding: the point in responding is to get ideas that need to be considered into a public forum -- not to influence the opinions of the specific commenter who posts under the screen name "jhuppent."

You disagree with the informed opinions cited in the above post about Stegeman's role in Pedicone's departure and feel that Stegeman has been maligned by the PCDP party establishment. It's certainly true that they have demonized him. Whether there is actually something problematic about the way he interacts with the district's administration is a separate question. With the changed majority and Stegeman now in the clerk's role, we'll have sufficient opportunity to observe how he chooses to conduct himself in a leadership role. Many of us will be watching closely, hoping to see constructive conduct.

In a district with a history like this there are many odd alliances that form out of desperation and lack of better alternatives. (Who would have thought we would see Kristel Foster nominating Michael Hicks to be president of the Board and speaking favorably of his character? And yet that is what happened in the last Board meeting, as I know you are aware.) It has seemed to me that the alliances between Stegeman and his former MAS opponents, including both you and Morales, would not be durable once Stegeman was again part of the majority because there is not enough overlap between the real goals and priorities of the two parties in question, once the common enemy of the previous majority is no longer in place to unite them.

Time will tell. It will certainly be interesting to observe what happens in district governance and district alliances in the coming months.

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Huppenthal, Stegeman, et al. on 01/12/2017 at 9:33 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 235 — State of the State Edition. Great Ideas! Terrific Ideas! Wallet Still Safely Stowed in Back Pocket.

That is simply one person's opinion. And we are all entitled to them. But the problems still exist. Finger pointing and hand wringing do nothing for the children in the middle of this political quagmire.

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by A Thompson on 01/12/2017 at 9:33 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 235 — State of the State Edition. Great Ideas! Terrific Ideas! Wallet Still Safely Stowed in Back Pocket.

If jhuppent is pseudonym for John Huppenthahl, the infamous and discredited state official that had everything to do with dismantling the Mexican American Studies program and getting a ridiculous law on the books where legislators, not educators, have veto power over curriculum, there is no point in arguing one way or another. This is not a person who responds to reason in arguments. The posts above that DO argue against this person are full of valuable and accurate information but its REALLY hard to believe that Stegeman would be the nail in the coffin of Pedicone, who saw a compliant board quickly flip to one that was, at least during the campaign, completely opposed to his major contributions to TUSD--school closures and the before mentioned dismantling of the MAS program. A few years into the new Supe, though, and those same candidates were not only allowing school closures to proceed, but allowing their new hire to completely ignore the desegregation order, of which the MAS program was part. Replacing a demonization of the past Superintendent came a demonization of not only Stegeman's role during the MAS disaster, but of Stegeman himself. Now he is blamed for just about everything from school closures to the lead problem in Flints' water. Personally, I don't buy it: he did a terrible job on MAS, undeniably, but beyond that I see no reason to give him this much power or this central a role in our districts' problems. In the most recent re-election campaign, people who vociferously opposed Dr. P in their first campaign sidled up and made sure to distribute pictures on FB with both Dr. Pedicone (who all of a sudden became a highly respected educator who I "always hoped to work with") and the district lawyer of the time who issued the order to ban the MAS books. Both of them, incidentally, are darlings of the local democratic party, which doesn't really keep track of its darlings and their activities all that well, but certainly does keep getting them elected.

In any case, if jhuppent is in fact John Huppenthahl, it is a pleasure to see him using his real name as a pseudonym, instead of the numerous pseudonyms he used during the MAS days to pose as just another joe, instead of an elected official. If jhuppent is someone else, my apologies to you!

16 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 01/12/2017 at 8:40 AM

Re: “Three (Maybe Four) Energy Stories From the News

This from

In promoting his energy plan, Donald Trump made two false claims:
Trump said wind farms in the U.S. kill more than 1 million birds a year. Reliable data are scarce, but current mean estimates range from 20,000 to 573,000 bird deaths per year.
While discussing the number of eagles that are killed by wind turbines, Trump said that if you shoot an eagle they want to put you in jail for five years. Actually, the maximum penalty is a one-year imprisonment.

Energy IS a problem in this country. How many marine life birds have been killed by oil slicks? How many fish? What about the air pollution that affects humans, adults and kids with asthma? Next let's talk about black lung disease and the profits unregulated coal corporations make. The fact us that energy use in this country is complex, and politicians love to tweak the facts (lie) to achieve their agendas.

15 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by ronko on 01/12/2017 at 8:21 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 235 — State of the State Edition. Great Ideas! Terrific Ideas! Wallet Still Safely Stowed in Back Pocket.


You need to be a bit closer to what is going on in Southern Arizona to draw the correct conclusions about what is happening in TUSD. The idea that Sanchez is a victim of anyone or anything besides his own poor judgment is ludicrous to people who've seen what has been happening on the school sites and in the Board meetings. He has had a Board majority who has rubber stamped every weak idea he's had, including his self-concocted outrageous compensation package. When he has lied to them and to the public this majority looked the other way and / or covered for him. Why? Perhaps because they had brought him in through an improper, untransparent hiring process when he had had only a few short months of experience as INTERIM Superintendent in a much smaller district. They recognized that if the degree of his unfitness for office and the number of mistakes he was making were recognized they would be held to account for it.

It may be true that high-functioning districts have unified Boards and Superintendents who stay in their positions for longer than TUSD has been able to retain Superintendents during the last decade, but this does not mean that retaining any Superintendent, no matter how weak and malfunctioning, for more than two years will CAUSE a district to become high functioning. Using any means possible to retain an incompetent manager in the position -- including lying to the public and bribing the Superintendent with inflated compensation packages put together with public funds that should be applied in the sadly underfunded schools -- will only make conditions in the district worse.

I have through the years spoken with many people about the district and its problems, including professors of education, current and former board members, current and former site administrators and central administrators, current and former teachers and parents. I have repeatedly heard two things: there are entrenched problems in the middle administration that make the district virtually ungovernable and, when we're talking about the last several years, there have been serious difficulties introduced for the Superintendent by the role Stegeman has played on the Board. (As for your speculations about the district's "culture" burning through the last two Superintendents prior to Sanchez. Some who had a good view of the Superintendency during that period believe that in Pedicone's departure, Stegeman was the deciding factor.)

TUSD is admittedly a tough case. It needs a Superintendent who has a decade or more of experience and a proven record of success in managing (and reforming) a troubled urban district operating under a desegregation order. Adding to the difficulty of recruitment is the fact that this administrative task must be undertaken in a state that brutally underfunds education, where the governor (the subject of Safier's post) will use every trick in the book to avoid funding the schools at the right levels and from the appropriate sources.

Regardless of the local and State-level conditions that will make it difficult for the community to recruit for the TUSD Superintendency, many of us who are close to the district and its schools feel that we can't continue to allow this much damage to occur from relentlessly poor and dishonest management in a district serving almost 50,000 students.

If the needed change in leadership happens, there will no doubt be people like you who don't understand what has been happening at the ground level in the district who will spin it as a sob story and a tragedy. But the opinions of the ignorant are irrelevant. What matters is the quality of services delivered to students in our schools. Before the funding increases Safier wants can actually improve those services, it would be necessary to get rid of an administration that has a more than three year long track record of constant mismanagement and misapplication of this e between $300 and $400 million TUSD receives each school year.

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ignorance of the district doesn't produce good interpretations. on 01/12/2017 at 7:33 AM

Re: “Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 235 — State of the State Edition. Great Ideas! Terrific Ideas! Wallet Still Safely Stowed in Back Pocket.

I am not knowledgeable enough to rise in his defense, I don't know his prior track record in Texas. I am merely making the observation that high performing schools have cohesive school boards and long serving Superintendents. I am also making the observation that the two prior Superintendents were outstanding and had long track records of being outstanding. The fact that TUSD culture could burn through both of them indicates that problem is the culture, not the Superintendent. Good Superintendents become outstanding under cohesive school boards, supportive communities and time on task.

I am sure that after you burn through him, other people will come forward to burn through the next victim.

2 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by on 01/11/2017 at 10:07 PM

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