Friday, August 17, 2018

Banner - UMC Phoenix and Tucson Named Best Hospitals

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 4:19 PM

  • Banner - University Medical Center Tucson
Our local Banner - University Medical Center and it's counterpart in Phoenix have been recognized as "Best Hospitals" by U.S. News and World Report.

Banner - UMC Tucson was named number one in Tucson, number three in all of Arizona and ranked nationally in three specialties: number 36 for gynecology, 49th for pulmonology and 50th for nephrology.

"We are honored that U.S. News has recognized the hard work and dedication of our caregivers, educators and researchers at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. Our team's continuing commitment to our patients and our community is unparalleled," said Sarah Frost, interim CEO of Banner – University Medical Center Tucson.

This year U.S. News and World Report ranked more than 4,500 medical centers across the country, with 25 specialties.

Banner - UMC Phoenix ranked number two nationally, and placed among the best in five categories including geriatrics, pulmonology, nephrology, cardiology and heart surgery, and neurology and neurosurgery.

"To be among the medical centers recognized in five specialty areas is a significant accomplishment, and is a testament to the work that our team does every day in support of building the relationship between our college and Banner," said Guy Reed, dean of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. "Let us continue to raise the bar for our students and patients, the community, and one another."

Read the full report here.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Ducey, Republicans Leave $56 Million For Child Care Sitting On the Table

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 9:49 AM

  • Courtesy of Bigstock

Doug Ducey and his Republican legislative cronies had $56 million in federal money waiting to be spent to help cover the cost of child care and early childhood education for low income families. They refused to spend it.

The state didn't have to put up a penny. All it had to do was add a $56 million line item to its budget, and more low income children would have access to child care services. Ducey and the Republican legislative leaders knew the money was there, they were urged to put it in the budget by child care advocates and by Democrats in the legislature. They just decided not to do it.

When a story in the Sunday Star brought the unspent $56 million to my attention, I contacted Michelle Crow, Southern Arizona Director of the Children's Action Alliance, for more details. Next I talked to Democratic Rep. Randy Friese, who represents LD-9, my legislative district, to find out why the money didn't make it into the budget. The more I learned, the worse things got.

In March the federal government included $5.2 billion in its budget to increase the quality of child care and early childhood education across the country. Arizona's cut of the funds is $56 million, which is supposed to be added to the $125 million Arizona already receives to subsidize child care and early childhood education for children from low income families.

Right now, there's not enough money to subsidize child care for all the children who need it. As bad or worse, the amount the state allocates per child doesn't cover the child care provider's costs. The state Department of Economic Security's "Reimbursement Rates for Child Care" schedule is based on what the services should cost. The problem is, the reimbursement rates haven't changed since 2000. The state is still using an 18 year old rate schedule created at a time when the minimum wage was $5.15 an hour. Today it's $10.50.

It's actually worse than that. The DES reimbursement is only 75 percent of going rate in 2000. It's no surprise Arizona has among the lowest reimbursement rates in the country.

Continue reading »

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Tired Of Those Annoying Political Phone Calls And Fliers?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 4:04 PM


Are you tired of all those political robocalls and calls from earnest volunteers? Did you know, they're tired of talking to you too?

Are you tired of all those glossy, oversized postcards from candidates touting their accomplishments — and maybe running down their opponents? Did you know, they're tired of sending them to you too?

Just vote. When campaigns find out you've sent in your ballot, they'll leave you alone. No more (or almost no more) calls. No more (or almost no more) oversized postcards. You can sit back with the beverage of your choice and watch the political circus unfold before your eyes, knowing you've done your patriotic chore. Better yet, volunteer for the candidate(s) of your choice and be one of those phoners or the doorbell ringers helping to get out the vote.

Send in your ballot!

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Friday, August 10, 2018

A Review of David Garcia's Book, "School Choice"

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 4:03 PM

  • Courtesy of BigStock
Full disclosure: I have already stated my support for David Garcia for governor on The Range. Today I sent in my ballot with the bubble filled in next to Garcia's name.

Thursday, a post on Blog for Arizona by Larry Bodine sent minor shockwaves through the Democratic primary race for governor. Bodine wrote a scathing review of a book David Garcia wrote titled School Choice, which will be published September 28. According to Bodine, Garcia's book is pro-school privatization and, in the words of the headline "a Blueprint to Dismantle Public Education."

Bodine's post was the first I heard of the book. I asked him if he would share his review copy with me, and he did gladly. I read the book — or to be completely honest, I read the beginning carefully, then skimmed the rest of the 196-page book attentively enough to understand its content.

Bodine's depiction of the book is, in a word, wrong.

Of the people who have had a chance to read the book and comment on it in the media, I probably have the most experience reading education books. I have amassed a significant number of postgraduate units in the field, and I've continued reading education works, ranging from blog posts to articles to books, on a daily basis. Though I have expressed my support for Garcia, I also know how to read these kinds of texts for content and possible political leanings without letting my personal opinions interfere.

What Garcia has written is a book on the history of school choice beginning in colonial days and continuing through 2017. It is meant to be an objective overview of the subject, and it succeeds in that regard. If I had never heard of David Garcia and read this book, I wouldn't know his personal opinions on the subject. Though it is written for general consumption, it would be a valuable book to assign in any college course on the history of education, from Education 101 through graduate school.

I'm not the only one to arrive at the conclusion that Bodine's post is a distortion of the contents of Garcia's book. Brahm Resnik, one of Arizona's top journalists, came to a similar conclusion. So did Maria Polletta of the Arizona Republic. I'll quote some of what they wrote at the end of the post.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

KVOI AM Radio Station Moving to Local Talk Radio

Posted By on Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 11:04 AM

Bill Buckmaster
  • Bill Buckmaster
There have been a lot of rumors swirling since Good News Communications owner Doug Martin announced he was selling radio KVOI, 1030 AM, to Bustos Media Inc., a Portland, Oregon-based chain of Spanish language radio stations. Would the station stay the same and carry a lineup of local talk and syndicated conservative programming? Would it move to Spanish-language broadcasting? Would any of the current local hosts—including anti-establishment talker Chris DeSimone and longtime local broadcaster Bill Buckmaster—keep their gigs?

We finally know a little more about the future of the station—and it appears that the new owners are going to be giving local talk a big opportunity.

Once again proving that he has more lives than a wildcat, John C. Scott—who has hosted a local talk show on a variety of stations since the late ’80s in this town—will be returning to the airwaves from 4 to 6 p.m. daily. While the details are still being sorted out, Scott will also be helping develop new local talk shows at the station. He's in talk with various local political and sports personalities about hosting shows.

"Every time I pay for funeral expenses in advance, I kick myself," Scott told the Weekly. "I'm not dead yet."

Buckmaster, who had a long run as the host of PBS-6's Arizona Illustrated before moving on to talk radio in 2011, will continue to host his show from noon to 1 p.m., and morning talker Chris DeSimone is expected to keep his show, Wake Up Tucson.

"I am really excited about Dr. Bustos' vision for local talk radio in this town," Buckmaster told the Weekly. "This is a win-win for everyone involved with the big winner our community to have a radio station where all voices will be welcome on the air." 

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University of Virginia Needs To Pay Back By Paying Forward

Posted By on Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 10:28 AM

  • University of Virginia Rotunda, Courtesy of wikimedia
The University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson and opened in 1825, owes a debt to people who were forced to build the university, then maintain it and feed and care for the professors and students, people who were treated as property belonging to their "owners." UVA has made a first step in acknowledging the slaves whose labor built and maintained the university, but it has done little to repay the debt it owes them.

Here's my suggestion to UVA: Pay back by paying forward.
• Extend the meaning of "legacy student" from the children of UVA alumni to include the descendants of slaves who were forced to build and maintain the school.
• Create a UVA fund dedicated to the educations of their descendants based on the monetary value of their ancestors' contribution to the university.
The first anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, home of UVA, comes in a few days. Coinciding with the anniversary is the publication of the final report of the UVA's Slavery and the University Commission, which began its work in 2013. Together, the two events put the issues of pre-Civil War slavery and present-day racism into stark perspective.

The racism of the Unite the Right participants is well known. The history of slavery at UVA, however, like the history of slavery in the U.S., is clouded by our national determination to paint our country's original sin in broad strokes and ignore its disturbing details. The UVA report is one of the recent attempts to bring the full, accurate history of slavery to light.

Based on the commission report, it's fair to call UVA the university that slavery built. According to the report, "Slavery, in every way imaginable, was central to the project of designing, funding, building, and maintaining the school."

The dollar value of the slave labor which directly contributed to the building and maintenance of the university is only one part of the story. The people who funded the building of the school were Virginians who owed their wealth to the state's slave-based economy, including the country's third, fourth and fifth presidents, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

I Have To Admit, I Don't Understand the Popularity Of Virtual Schools

Posted By on Tue, Aug 7, 2018 at 12:36 PM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
I try to make sense of what's going on in education, and I can generally find a good explanation for current trends, or at least tell myself I've found a good explanation. But for the life of me, I don't understand why virtual schools, where kids sit at home and get their educations from a computer, are as popular as they are.

According to a 2017 study by National Education Policy Center, 279,000 students attend virtual schools in 34 states. To put that number in perspective, Arizona has about a million K-12 students, so the national virtual school enrollment is less than a third of Arizona's school-aged population. It's less than half a percent of all public school students in the country. But still, 279,000 is a lot of students sitting at home in front of a lot of computers. I don't understand why the number is that high.

It's true, for some students, virtual schools make a lot of sense.

Some students are involved in activities that take up large amounts of time, like intensive training or work in sports, music or drama. It's great for them to be able to fit their educations into their schedules. When I taught in the Portland area, I had a few high school students who were training for olympic-level skiing and spent months every year on Mt. Hood. I would send lesson plans with them and tutors would help them out, but they probably would have been better off with a good online curriculum.

Some parents who home school their children for religious or other reasons like the idea of using the set curriculum provided by virtual schools rather than being responsible for finding or creating the curriculum, then teaching it to their kids.

Some students have illnesses which keep them at home. Others have been bullied mercilessly at school, and getting their educations at home is a way of avoiding further emotional trauma.

For students like these who are motivated enough to follow through on their work without the physical presence of a teacher, or have enough parental pressure to keep them motivated, virtual education can work well. But they make up a relatively small group. There's no way they're a large percentage of the 279,000 virtual school students.

Continue reading »

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Friday, August 3, 2018

LeBron James' Wrap-Around School

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 11:27 AM

  • Courtesy of Bigstock
A new public school opened in Akron, Ohio, the I Promise School, funded by LeBron James. It's gotten lots of press lately, because LeBron, but there's much more to the new school than hype. It's an embodiment of the concept of the wraparound school.

According to principal Brandi Davis:
"[T]he I Promise School is unique because not only are we a STEM-designated school by the state of Ohio, but we have trauma-informed support because we are truly into educating the entire child, the whole child, focusing not just on their academics, but also on their social, emotional needs, as well. And then I feel the missing link in public education is family wraparound support."
The idea is to combine academics with support services for the students and their families. It includes:
• Longer school days and school year;
• Curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, and math;
• Free college tuition to the University of Akron for students who graduate high school;
• Food pantry for families; and
• GED and job search support for parents.
Thanks to LeBron's generosity, the I Promise school can afford to provide these kinds of services. Cash-strapped districts can't be nearly as generous. But the wraparound model should be something schools aspire to, even on a more modest scale. School districts can work together with city, county and state providers to bring existing social services into the schools where students spend much of their day. They can include a variety of adult services as well, making schools into genuine community centers.

It's not a new concept. We need to see more of it put into practice.

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Staff Pick

Tucson's Birthday Party at 1912 Brewing Company

Tucson is turning 141 years old and we are going to Celebrate with Beer Raspados!… More

@ 1912 Brewing Company Mon., Aug. 20, 6-9 p.m. 2045 N Forbes Blvd Ste 105

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