Media

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

NextGen Arizona Registers 21,051 Young Voters

Posted By on Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 10:25 AM


click image NextGen works to fight political issues such as climate change, gun violence, equal rights and affordable healthcare for all. - NEXTGEN AMERICA
  • NextGen America
  • NextGen works to fight political issues such as climate change, gun violence, equal rights and affordable healthcare for all.

NextGen, a nonprofit political-action organization, has registered 21,051 new voters between the ages of 18-35 ahead of the registration deadline in Arizona.

click image NextGen has worked to raise support for political issues such as immigrant rights, affordable healthcare, equal rights and battling climate change. - NEXTGEN AMERICA
  • NextGen America
  • NextGen has worked to raise support for political issues such as immigrant rights, affordable healthcare, equal rights andĀ battling climate change.
To do this, organizers in Arizona have knocked on 43,069 doors and sent 43,285 texts through Oct. 9 to entice the youth population to vote in the upcoming election.

Since its founding in 2013, NextGen has worked to raise support for political issues such as immigrant rights, affordable healthcare, equal rights and battling climate change.

Jalakoi Solomon, NextGen Arizona State Youth Director, said that young people are the largest voting block and may be the deciding factor in the upcoming November election.

"Young Arizonans hold incredible potential and power and are ready for political change," said Solomon. "Now is the time to flex our muscle and show Trump and his Republican allies, like Martha McSally, that their time is up."

NEXTGEN AMERICA
  • NextGen America
The youth organization in Arizona has employed more than 50 organizers and has recruited nearly 2,437 volunteers across 23 campuses to politically empower young people.

The Our Lives, Our Vote program is a joint initiative between NextGen, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and Everytown, which is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. The nationwide initiative was created in order to register young voters and start a conversation about gun reform before the 2018 midterm election. The program has since registered 3,442 high school students to vote in Arizona.

For more information about NextGen's initiatives, click here.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lack Of Charter School Accountability Was Baked Into the System From the Start

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2018 at 3:10 PM

ILLUSTRATION FROM WIKIMEDIA.ORG GRAPHIC
  • Illustration from wikimedia.org graphic

Note [of exasperation]:
I'm beginning to think the Star has a policy: "Never write the words, 'According to an article by Craig Harris in the Republic . . .'" Harris has written a groundbreaking series of articles on charter school corruption and profiteering which has statewide relevance, but to my recollection, the Star hasn't mentioned any of them, nor has it done similar investigations on its own.


Craig Harris has a new article in The Republic that takes another look at the lack of charter school regulation and accountability. Not only does the State Board for Charter Schools conduct minimal charter school oversight, it doesn't acknowledge public complaints about charters on its website.
For the past three years, each charter school's profile on the site displayed the message: "This charter has no complaints."
According to Harris, the board received 91 complaints during the 2017-18 school year. Two months into this school year, it has already received 141 complaints.

The board's motto: See no evil. Hear no evil. Post no evil.

According to Harris, the website has addressed the problem, though the board has yet to release complaints, which are public records, to the paper.

None of this is recent, or accidental. It's part of a pattern that goes back to charter school beginnings in Arizona. The state charter board has always been more a promoter of charters than a regulator. Here's some historical background.

Continue reading »

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Should the Public Be Able To See Voting Machine Instruction Manuals?

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 4:09 PM

WIKIMEDIA
  • Wikimedia

Here are two overlapping stories. First, Tucsonan John Brakey, head of AUDIT-USA and longtime election integrity watchdog, recently received a cease-and-desist order from Election Systems & Software, one of the big three election machine companies. Second, a lengthy article in this week's New York Times magazine details the very problems Brakey is concerned about: ways voting machines can malfunction or be hacked which can change election results, turning winners into losers and losers into winners.

Brakey put instruction manuals for ES&S voting machines on his AUDIT-USA website. They look like the typical, detailed user manuals we get when we buy software packages, but ES&S doesn't want them in public view. The company wrote Brakey a cease-and-desist letter demanding he take the material down. If not, the company threatens to take him to court for copyright violation.

Has Brakey violated copyright law by posting the ES&S manuals? I won't venture a lay person's opinion, though I've talked with people who say, as with many copyright cases, there's not a clear answer. But another question has a clear answer for me. Should a company whose products are used to count votes in elections be allowed to work in secret, out of public view? My answer is no. When one of the foundations of our democracy, free and fair elections, is at stake, machines and software created by a private, for-profit vendor should not collect and tally votes under cover of darkness. If bad actors can change election results at will, it's game over for our democratic system.

Brakey's reaction to the cease-and-desist letter? If a company which works so hard to guard its secrecy wants to take him to court, that's fine with him.

The New York Times magazine article is titled, The Crisis of Election Security. The shoddy programming described in the article, the gaping security holes, the ease with which the machines can be hacked and votes altered, were serious problems when the voting systems were first put into common use. Today, when we know Russian hackers have their tendrils in our election systems, the possibility that election results can be changed by a foreign power is all the more frightening.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Is There Light At the End Of the Standardized Testing Tunnel?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 3:25 PM

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Forbes is not my go-to source for educational news and insight, but you get news and insight where you find it. In this case, it's from a 39-year-veteran high school English teacher, a fellow English teacher who outranks me by five years. I have to pay attention to what he says, right?

The headline asks, Is The Big Standardized Test A Big Standardized Flop? The answer, according to the writer, is yes, and teachers knew it when the testing craze began ramping up 20 years ago. The people who didn't catch on were leaders of the education reform/privatization movement. Now a few of them are beginning to.

The author cites the work of two conservative educational scholars, Jay Greene and Frederick Hess. Greene is head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas (If the "education reform" in the department title and Arkansas as the location aren't clues enough to Greene's conservative educational leanings, let me add for longtime followers of the Goldwater Institute and my posts, Matthew Ladner, ex-education guy at the Goldwater Institute and current senior research fellow at the Charles Koch Institute, has been a frequent contributor to Greene's blog.) Greene says, rightly, test scores aren't valuable in and of themselves. They are supposed to be predictors of success in students' future lives. The problem is, they're not very good at it.
If increasing test scores is a good indicator of improving later life outcomes, we should see roughly the same direction and magnitude in changes of scores and later outcomes in most rigorously identified studies. We do not.
And he goes further, saying test scores and VAM (Value Added Measurement) don't tell us much about the quality of the schools or the programs the students are enrolled in.


Continue reading »

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A One Issue State Election?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 2:01 PM

vote-education.jpg
This is the year to vote education.

It's been the number one issue in the state for years. It's on everyone's minds and most candidates' lips. The decision voters make, whether to continue with the Republican-majority status quo or shift more power to Democrats, will be a major factor in deciding our children's present and future.

If you have patience enough and time, by all means look beyond education when you choose who to vote for. The more you know when you cast your ballot, the better. But after you take a deep dive into the candidates' positions, you're likely to find their approach to education is a reliable a indicator of where they stand on other important issues. Vote their positions on education, and you won't go far wrong.

Candidates who support a robust, fully funded system of public education are making a statement of principle which goes beyond schooling. "Public" is the key word. They want to provide a quality education for all the state's children, the whole K-through-college public, and probably pre-K as well, to give them the best shot at a bright future.

"Public" is also the key word when it comes to the same candidates' approach to the rest of government. They want state government to contribute to the well being of the general public, in the present and into the future. That means, among other things, supporting a well funded social services system, building and maintaining infrastructure and tending to the environment.

Candidates who are OK with education funding at levels low enough that the courts say they're unconstitutional aren't so keen on public education. Lots of them like to use the term "government schools" (FYI, that's supposed to be a bad thing) along with "failing schools" and "failing teachers" to describe our public education system. They heap praise on charter and private schools which educate 20 percent of the school-aged population and treat the schools educating 80 percent of children as an afterthought.

Candidates who disparage "government schools" think of the rest of government the same way, as a public irritant, not a public good. They want government to get out of the way so the free market can do what as it pleases. The less taxes, the less spending, the less meddling by the government in Arizona's affairs, the better.

Continue reading »

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Friday, September 28, 2018

Watercolor with Creative Tribe at Reforma Mexican Cantina

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 12:39 PM

click image COURTESY
  • Courtesy
Paint your very own Fall Harvest Water Color painting with Creative Tribe, a community of creative women that gather to be creative!

Creative Tribe will be hosting the watercolor workshop at Reforma Modern Mexican restaurant on Friday, Oct. 12 from 5:45 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Local artist, Alyssa Robinson, will be instructing the workshop and will teach beginners the basic fundamentals, styles and techniques of water color painting. Participants will also be able to take their water color art home. 
click image Visit the Reforma for a Watercolor Painting workshop with Creative Tribe on Friday, Oct. 12. - DOWNTOWNTUCSON.ORG
  • DowntownTucson.org
  • Visit the Reforma for a Watercolor Painting workshop with Creative Tribe on Friday, Oct. 12.



The Reforma Mexican restaurant venue is located on 4340 N. Campbell Ave., and will be serving up chips and salsa and alcoholic beverages including $6 margaritas, $6 sangrias, $6 house wine, and $5 cocktails!

Tickets for the workshops are $35. 

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Lineup: What's Happening in Tucson This Week!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 3:11 PM

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Stop Saying "Playing Politics" Like It Means Something

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM

COURTESY OF BIGSTOCK
  • Courtesy of BigStock

"The Democrats are playing politics." "The Republicans are playing politics." "Mitch McConnell is playing politics." "Chuck Schumer is playing politics."

And your point is?

Of course they're playing politics. It's what politicians do. Politician: practitioner of politics. It's in the name. It's in the job description. Politicians pick their causes, they pick their moments, they plot, they strategize, they use tricks of the trade to get what they want. Meanwhile, politicians on the other side of the aisle do the same. Politicians who don't play politics either aren't very good at their jobs or they're back benchers who sit quietly, vote aye or nay, then sit quietly again.

Politicians who accuse other politicians of "playing politics" are playing politics.

It's the word "play" that makes "playing politics" sound like it's something politicians shouldn't do, like they're playing games with something that should be taken seriously. If you say "practicing politics," or "strategizing," it doesn't sound nearly as petty. It's like when people talk about "throwing money at education." The word "throwing" makes funding education sound like it's foolish and wasteful.

Politicians should be called out when they practice dirty politics. Lying. Cheating. Ducking legitimate questions. Selling their souls and their votes to special interests. Call the political sins by their names. Saying politicians are "playing politics" is accusing them of plying their trade. 

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Staff Pick

Trunk Or Treat

Join us as we celebrate Halloween in a fun & safe environment,get dressed up, bring all the… More

@ Northwest YMCA Sat., Oct. 27, 5-8 p.m. 7770 N. Shannon Road.

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