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

Re: “Anyone Can Teach. It's Easy! (At Least That's What Republican Legislators and the Governor Tell Me.)

Response to

"I cannot stand forward, and give praise or blame to any thing which relates to human actions, and human concerns, on a simple view of the object, as it stands stripped of every relation, in all the nakedness and solitude of metaphysical abstraction. CIRCUMSTANCES (which with some gentlemen pass for nothing) give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color, and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind." -- Edmund Burke, from Reflections on the Revolution in France

As Betts Putnam-Hidalgo, who knows the local circumstances in TUSD very well, points out, this new policy on teacher qualifications would not have had good effects if implemented, given the CIRCUMSTANCES in this district, a district she has observed closely for more than a decade, a district which serves close to 50,000 students in Southern Arizona. The CIRCUMSTANCES in a district of TUSD's size and regional impact should by itself rule out the policy's across-the-board application in this state. But even in higher functioning public districts with more active, empowered, and highly educated parent populations -- districts where parents would have an easier time recognizing and taking issue with the grave problems that will develop with teacher incompetence and effects on student learning under this policy -- it is not advisable to entrust these districts with teacher training. They do not have the financial resources available to develop the mentoring programs, professional development time, and advisory faculty that would be needed. You can't just ask teachers already responsible for the academic development of a cohort of students to take teacher education on as another responsibility of their already inadvisably overtasked, gravely underpaid profession. Nor can you ask even affluent parents to raise more supplementary funding when they are already fundraising in support of reasonable class sizes and essential supplies for schools.

Arizona has become a veritable Swiftian Laputa of ignorant, abstract policy theories that show no knowledge whatsoever of conditions on the ground in the institutions where they will be implemented.

As conditions continue to deteriorate, it's a mistake for people with dependent children to assume that valid education must necessarily be delivered through public institutions in all the states in the wealthiest, most "advanced" (?) country in the world. State-level mad-scientist-style regulatory negligence and ignorant tinkering with our education systems has brought us to a place where the schools in some states, including Arizona, are in absolutely atrocious shape. They will only get worse with the downright depraved policies (results-based funding, the destruction of teacher credentialing requirements) which state level leaders continue, with no wisdom and no foresight, to concoct in their "meth lab of democracy" in Phoenix. (Jon Stewart hit the nail on the head in describing the character of their operations in 2010. And they're still at it, with the academic preparation of the next generation as their focused target now.)

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Understand conditions on the ground before making policy. on 05/29/2017 at 12:32 PM

Re: “Anyone Can Teach. It's Easy! (At Least That's What Republican Legislators and the Governor Tell Me.)

I ask all of you who think this is a great idea to send your children to a school taught by this new pool of teachers, thats all. If we had had this kind of teacher under HT Sanchez, who co-wrote an article suggesting this very thing with the voucher queen, and HIS district, TUSD, had been allowed to train people with a BA or a BS to be teachers, we would have even more of his minions who mindlessly follow his lead than we have now. He paid close attention to training all of the new principals he brought on, and that hasn't necessarily brought bucketloads of good news to the district. Highlighting loyalty over credentials (even his own!) is not a good leadership strategy and slowly but surely kills the institution. Given how long it will take to clear the deadwood of the district out--that is, the folks, starting at the Board level, who are awfully good followers but miserable leaders--that would probably be educational malpractice towards our students and fatal for the district.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 05/29/2017 at 7:29 AM

Re: “Anyone Can Teach. It's Easy! (At Least That's What Republican Legislators and the Governor Tell Me.)

Well, all kidding aside, I disagree on the premise. The only people with appropriate college education likely to give up their private sector jobs for teaching are ones who really care about teaching and will likely do well.
The exception may be some failures who managed to get a college degree but can't make it in the real world and want the salary (meager though it is) and benefits of being a teacher.

1 like, 7 dislikes
Posted by bslap on 05/29/2017 at 6:50 AM

Re: “Anyone Can Teach. It's Easy! (At Least That's What Republican Legislators and the Governor Tell Me.)

Response to tinkering:

Allowing school districts to train teachers is informed public policy and it is absolutely predictable that it will lead to greater academic gains. The negative coefficient for a masters degree is an absolute indictment of our current teacher education system. When something is damaging results, you should get rid of it - immediately, immediately.

3 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by on 05/28/2017 at 10:43 PM

Re: “Anyone Can Teach. It's Easy! (At Least That's What Republican Legislators and the Governor Tell Me.)

College graduates these days are loaded up with loan debt, and they have astronomically inflated tuition fees to look forward to in educating their own children. That is a reality created by the much-vaunted operations of the free market, by treating education as a commodity, and by the relationships between loan peddlers in the financial industry and our government.

Last time I checked the military was a profession that could be entered straight from high school -- or, if you undergo officer training, the military academies are tuition free and provide stipends to enrollees.

Unless your idea is to make teachers' college educations free and to provide government-sponsored cost-of-living stipends to support them while they get their degrees, the "compare & contrast" story provided does not apply.

9 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by More ignorant tinkering with the AZ education system. on 05/28/2017 at 12:16 PM

Re: “Anyone Can Teach. It's Easy! (At Least That's What Republican Legislators and the Governor Tell Me.)

So you are saying that now, teachers are only in it for the money? They used to do it because they were dedicated to the students and the process. Could the teachers unions blinded them from the facts?

Thank God on this Memorial Day weekend that our military serves others based on their own sacrifice, rather than pay alone.

5 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by Happy Memorial Day on 05/28/2017 at 10:02 AM

Re: “Anyone Can Teach. It's Easy! (At Least That's What Republican Legislators and the Governor Tell Me.)

Did you ever consider the possibility, Huppenthal, that teaching has trouble attracting applicants because the salaries in the profession are much lower than they are for most other professions requiring college degrees and ongoing education and / or master's degrees to maintain credentialing?

Lower the bar educationally and you will add people who don't want to take the time and trouble to study child development and pedagogical methods before teaching, people with BAs who aren't able to get higher paying jobs in other fields and who think that when it comes to educating the next generation, "winging it" is quite good enough. This initiative will not increase the so-called "emotional stamina" quotient of the labor pool or its intelligence level or its maturity. Quite the reverse. And it will without a doubt decrease the degree to which applicants have mastered a professional knowledge base or engaged in supervised practice through student teaching.

It is a very bad idea and will do further damage to students in this state.

14 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by More ignorant tinkering with the AZ education system. on 05/28/2017 at 7:24 AM

Re: “If You Think the TUSD Board Election Was a Knock-down, Drag-out Fight, Take a Look at L.A.

My daughter attends a public high school in Tucson az. She came home complaining that her History teacher was instructing the students in the doctrine of the Muslim faith. According to her, the teacher doesn't even mention the history of America. He spends most of his time bashing President Trump and American values.. He insists that the Muslim faith is a peaceful religion and the students are given assignments and shown 'You Tube' videos in the study of Islam. According to my daughter, if anyone of the students contradict him in any fashion, he retaliates by giving the student a failing grade. Most of the students of the district are predominantly Roman Catholic. With this mind, he has cleverly placed a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the class room. However, the teacher involved never mentions a single word in reference to the religious photograph. In my opinion, he's deliberately and with malice deceiving the students by making seem as though he's a friend of Catholicism and therefore opening a door of communication and trust between student and teacher for the introduction of the Muslim faith. Parents beware, get involved with your children, take the time to ask your sibling what they're being taught in your school district. P.S. My child will not be attending public school as of 2/24/2017.

0 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Dave D on 05/28/2017 at 5:14 AM

Re: “Anyone Can Teach. It's Easy! (At Least That's What Republican Legislators and the Governor Tell Me.)

Excellent teaching is not easy, in fact it is very difficult and can't even be achieved consistently as an individual. Most candidates going through the college of education don't have the emotional strength necessary to achieve the classroom control required to provide a great education.

That's why widening the candidate pool will increase academic gains in Arizona. Districts can train teachers much more efficiently than colleges of education. There is something toxic about colleges of education when the coefficient of a master's degree is negative. Consider this: hundreds of millions of dollars spent on master's degrees somehow end up with a teacher is can't achieve the academic gains of someone with a bachelor's degree.

5 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by on 05/27/2017 at 11:05 PM

Re: “Anyone Can Teach. It's Easy! (At Least That's What Republican Legislators and the Governor Tell Me.)

"It would be good for the legislators' souls"

Sorry David, you are giving Arizona legislators credit for something they have clearly demonstrated they do not have.

21 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by sgsmith on 05/26/2017 at 8:20 PM

Re: “Results-Based Funding Violates the Spirit (If Not the Letter) of Arizona's 1980 Funding Equalization Law

You forgot to mention, David Safier, that individual schools within districts -- not just districts as a whole -- have ways to supplement and skew the supposedly "equitable" distribution of funds to public schools.

Within TUSD, for example, you could use your internet research skills to compare the amount of tax credits accrued by University High School or Sam Hughes or Fruchthendler, for example, with the amounts accrued by the schools in TUSD that lost their magnet status under the Sanchez administration. You might want to make some inquiries, too, about how much these tax-credit-enriched TUSD schools raised privately on top of the inequitably distributed publicly funded tax credits they accrued. Here's one very odd example: the previous TUSD Superintendent, Sanchez, gave UHS a $10K private donation and, as though that wasn't enough inequitable favor for him to bestow on an individual school within the district he administered, made sure they were the first school in the district to receive new band uniforms paid for by some district-internal funding source he had available. This to the school that in recent years has had more public school tax credits designated to it than any other school in the district. UHS also has its own private Foundation, though last time I checked they didn't amount to much. Are they waiting until UHS gets its separate site, perhaps, before they'll call on their network to donate larger amounts?

Lots of talk about equity from certain folks when it serves them to talk about it. But start looking at the various funding quirks and exceptions-to-the-rules associated with the supposedly "equitable" public schools that just happen to be utilized by the players in the local Democratic party, and the story gets "curiouser and curiouser," as Alice would say.

But David Safier's concerns with funding "equity" and other sorts of equity always seem to stop somewhat short of turning over rocks in his own political garden and looking at what's wriggling underneath. If it didn't, he might have devoted some reporting to the Fruchthendler-Sabino plan twice put forward by the TUSD Board majority and Superintendent he supported 2013-2016 and twice denied by the authorities in the desegregation case. This district keeps creating and reinforcing inequitable conditions within itself, but when families want to use vouchers, tax credits, or ESAs to exit some of the not-on-the-A-list-of-influence schools in the district like Utterback, for example, this is called, "Welfare for the rich."

"Welfare for the rich," indeed. If the shoe fits, the constituents in certain public schools should start to wear it.

6 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Could we be equitable in our concerns with equity? on 05/26/2017 at 1:29 PM

Re: “Quick Bites: Summer Markets

Go red roasters!!!! Amazing food and receipies and Kris is awesome!!!

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Janette N Matt Gauthier on 05/25/2017 at 10:27 AM

Re: “Because of Results-Based Funding, 15 to 17 Percent of Schools Will Get "A" Grades, Down From 30 Percent. Here's Why That's Important

Two different visions:

1. Ensuring that the worst teacher in the worst school in the worst school district has a full classroom.

2. Providing so many choices for so long that every full classroom is evidence of a world class teacher.

1 like, 13 dislikes
Posted by on 05/24/2017 at 8:25 PM

Re: “Need Child Care So You Can Hang Onto Your Job? Don't Expect Help in Arizona

first thing first program will help with a scholarship for day care low as a 25 a week

Posted by Mildrene Moutry on 05/24/2017 at 8:13 PM

Re: “Need Child Care So You Can Hang Onto Your Job? Don't Expect Help in Arizona

first things first is a program that will help they have scholarship if you qualify

Posted by Mildrene Moutry on 05/24/2017 at 8:12 PM

Re: “Because of Results-Based Funding, 15 to 17 Percent of Schools Will Get "A" Grades, Down From 30 Percent. Here's Why That's Important

If we are concerned about the generally dismal state of our System of Public Education, we would not hesitate to supports efforts at improvement. We cannot continue with our heads in the sand, and, under the shibboleth, local control of Education watch passively as our System of Public Education becomes, internationally, at best, Second Rate!! The viability of our Democracy and National Security are in jeopardy.

Given the wide classroom instructional heterogeneity within Public Schools/Districts, it is necessary to have some State objective measure so as to determine if Students are being taught properly and/or effectively learning the required body of information per Subject Area. This is the sole purpose of Standardized Assessment Examinations. AzMerit is such an Assessment Examination and will indicate the effectiveness of the Schools/Districts Academic Program, so that, if necessary, remedial action can be taken; so as to ensure Teacher/Administrator Academic Accountability.

13 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 05/24/2017 at 11:33 AM

Re: “Because of Results-Based Funding, 15 to 17 Percent of Schools Will Get "A" Grades, Down From 30 Percent. Here's Why That's Important

Marilyn Tucson:

What are you on?

The fact that you're calling liberals selfish is name calling.

Quit being a hypocrite.

16 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Tarilyn Mucson on 05/24/2017 at 11:20 AM

Re: “Because of Results-Based Funding, 15 to 17 Percent of Schools Will Get "A" Grades, Down From 30 Percent. Here's Why That's Important

Students have been exiting TUSD by the thousands for well over a decade, Betts Putnam-Hidalgo, not just during the Sanchez administration. The reason is because it has been, is being, and will be mismanaged. It has deeply imbedded problems with its middle management, its Board, and its institutional culture that seem to be reform-proof at this point. Talk to a few of the hapless former Superintendents (other than Sanchez) who tried to take the helm during the last decade some time and draw your own conclusions. When I have heard them, they've sounded a lot like another CEO of a Tucson public institution who has spoken honestly in public forums about the difficulties of trying to administer a massive underfunded public institution where the workers in the trenches are in shell shock over ongoing budget cuts and forced reorganizations and the long-term players within the bureaucracy have become accustomed to going their own way and ignoring the latest figure head installed atop the dysfunctional hierarchy.

Were you surprised when the new and improved Board majority filed, inappropriately, prematurely, for partial Unitary Status? I wasn't. All any of the elected leaders in this district seem to want is to get out from under court oversight so they can go their own way with initiatives that have nothing to do with the kind of social justice concerns at the heart of the desegregation case. They want to grant UHS a separate site with a co-located middle school, establish a Fruchthendler to Sabino direct-feed pipeline, etc. Why would those concerned with social justice want increased enrollment in this district, i.e. to add more students to experience inequitable conditions? What reason, based on the management of the desegregation case for the past 40 years and more, do you have to believe the district's way of responding to these concerns will ever change?

There are many families, who, with good reason, do not think it wise to entrust their children's "educations" to an institution with these kinds of entrenched problems. Should they be penalized financially by losing state support for their children's K-12 education when they decide to utilize well managed institutions that will deliver better education? Should the state be off the hook for providing support when families exit public districts or charters? That's what happens without vouchers or tax credits. Students leave the public district / charter system, and the state gets somewhere in the neighborhood of $5K savings per year on the cost of educating that child. Whom does that benefit? Children in public schools? No, not unless the financial disincentive of having to lose all state support for your child's K-12 education acts effectively to prevent families who want to exit the public system from exiting. If putting up financial obstacles to students leaving the public district and public charter systems is what is intended by anti-voucher advocacy, then there's no valid argument against the notion that anti-voucher campaigners "want to use the children of other families as economic hostages to the dubious goal of supposedly 'saving' troubled public school districts."

I'm sorry you find that offensive, but you have yet to provide a clear explanation of how exactly denying students attending certain (largely Roman Catholic) institutions any state support for their educations serves either the cause of social justice or the cause of delivering as excellent an education as possible to the young people in our communities, especially in a context where our largest local public school district is what it demonstrably and persistently is.

11 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by Explain how eliminating vouchers serves social justice. on 05/24/2017 at 9:58 AM

Re: “Because of Results-Based Funding, 15 to 17 Percent of Schools Will Get "A" Grades, Down From 30 Percent. Here's Why That's Important

The left is getting very selfish. They neglect to tell you that even after the wealthy spend large amounts of tuition money to get their children in better schools, they still have to fund the masses that are stuck in the public school swirl. You can't discriminate based on income, if you want fairness. And hating the rich has never made them go away.

I guess all that you have left is name calling. Carry on.

11 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by Marilyn Tucson on 05/24/2017 at 9:39 AM

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