Politics

Monday, June 24, 2019

Claytoon of the Day: Operation Desert Stormy

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2019 at 9:04 AM

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Friday, June 21, 2019

Claytoon of the Day: Descent 2020

Posted By on Fri, Jun 21, 2019 at 9:36 AM

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Zona Politics Radio: Talking With Calexico's Joey Burns and The Loft's Peggy Johnson

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 3:23 PM

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  • Courtesy Photo
On the latest edition of Zona Politics: I talk with Joey Burns of Calexico about the band's new collaboration with Iron & Wine, Years To Burn, as well as Loft Cinema Foundation Executive Director Peggy Johnson about the upcoming Woodstock fundraiser to restore the Loft's gorgeous marquee.


Zona Politics airs at 4 p.m. Sundays on KXCI community radio, 91.3 FM.

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A Multi-Factored Look At TUSD's Enrollment Decline

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 1:32 PM


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Tucson Unified School District has been losing students steadily since 2000. Lots of students. At its turn-of-the-millenium high point, the district had 62,500 students. This school year, the number was 46,000. That's a loss of 16,500 students, over 900 a year.

Why is TUSD losing students year after year? The answer you're most likely to hear is, the district is the problem. It's the administration. It's the teachers. It's the curriculum. It's "D," all of the above. Fix the administration, fix the teachers, fix the curriculum, and the numbers will climb.

But the standard answer is far too simple. The district may deserve part of the blame for declining enrollment, but most of the drop was inevitable, created by changes in Arizona's educational landscape and a slowing of Tucson's population growth.

For the sake of argument, let's start with the assumption that TUSD is no better or worse now than it was at its 2000 high water mark of 62,500 students and see what else is causing the district to lose students.

I see three factors beyond the control of the district as the major reasons for the enrollment decline.

Two of the factors were created by the Arizona legislature's push for "school choice." The first is the emergence of charter schools. The competition for a limited pool of students means that every student inside the TUSD boundaries who attends a charter is one less student in the district. The second is the state's open enrollment policy, which lets parents send their children to schools in nearby districts. Open enrollment gets far less attention than charter schools, but it is a significant force pulling students living inside the TUSD boundaries to suburban school districts with more affluent, whiter populations.

The third important factor is the slowdown of Tucson's population growth. Students lost to charter schools and open enrollment haven't been replaced by an influx of new students.

Let's look at the factors one by one.

Charter Schools

Arizona's first charter schools opened their doors in 1995. They grew steadily, but since they started from zero, it took awhile for them to have an impact on school districts' enrollment numbers.

In 2000, 50,000 Arizona students were enrolled in charters. I don't have any direct data on how many of those charter students lived inside the TUSD boundaries, but a reasonable estimate is about 3,500. TUSD students made up about 7 percent of the state's public school population in 2000, and 3,500 is 7 percent of the state's charter school population.

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Claytoon of the Day: Going Dominican

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 9:47 AM

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Claytoon of the Day: Coughing Up Classified

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 9:55 AM

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Claytoon of the Day: Fat Head Rolls With The Polls

Posted By on Tue, Jun 18, 2019 at 9:53 AM

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Claytoon of the Day: Nixon Derangement Syndrome

Posted By on Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 9:40 AM

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Staff Pick

The Three Sisters Culinary Series

Join the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance and Native Seeds/SEARCH at Westward Look for a progressive,… More

@ Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa Sat., June 29, 6-8:30 p.m. 245 E. Ina Road.

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