Thursday, June 18, 2015

Coming Soon: Arizona Title 15 Education Regulation "Reform"

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION
  • Illustration

Is that a scalpel or a butcher's knife in Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas' hand?

This is something to watch, warily. From today's Capitol Times Yellow Sheet (actually this is the teaser, since I don't have access to the Yellow Sheet itself):
Douglas told our reporter she has chosen the group that is going to comb through Title 15 in an effort to rid schools of unnecessary mandates and administrative burdens, and it won’t include any lobbyists or “alphabet soups,” a reference to the many education groups that are generally known by their initials.
This isn't new news. María Inés Taracena reported in The Range in April about a News Release Douglas put out saying she was planning to form the committee, which is supposed to come up with its findings in December, to be presented to the legislature when it begins its 2016 session.

I took a look at Title 15 in the Arizona Revised Statutes. The titles of the sections alone take 16 computer screens to get through. That's just the titles. I scanned through the screens—18 chapters, divided into Articles, further broken down into specific items. The mind reels.

Looking over Title 15 is probably a good idea. Putting the task in the hands of anti-regulation conservatives, however, is dangerous. One person's necessary regulation is another person's onerous attack on freedom.

To this point in her tenure, Douglas has taken a measured approach to her job. Compared to my worst fears and expectations, she's been a pleasant surprise. If she and the committee adopt a "Do no harm" approach to evaluating the rules and regulations, things might turn out OK, or at least not too bad. But I can already see Republican anti-"government schools" legislators sharpening their axes, looking for "burdensome regulations" to chop to pieces and turn into kindling. This is worth watching, and watching carefully. It could have a significant impact on the already problematic future of Arizona education.

I don't believe Douglas has published a list of committee members. When we know who's sitting on the committee, we'll have a better idea of her intentions.

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