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

Re: “Business Leaders Say, Raise Taxes to Fund Schools

Arizona Rural Schools Association, representing 100 districts serving more than 100,000 students in every county have formally asked the leaders of Arizona's business community to take up the challenge. Steps have been taken to address the needs of our education system, but they don't fully address the needs and if something isn't done to address the end of the current 6/10ths sales tax the future of education in Arizona looks very grim.

Posted by SERickert on 09/30/2017 at 9:14 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

I'll be interested to see what David replies -- if he replies. In the meantime perhaps another commenter can add a few thoughts on money and test scores.

High parental income does not cause high test scores. It enables the possibility of higher test scores, when the money is applied in the right way. (Example: when a wealthy family where both parents work 70-hour a week jobs employs a nanny who does not know how to provide the right kind of educational support in the home, their money will not cause their children to have the highest possible test scores those children are capable of having. If, however, they hire a retired teacher who provides the right kind of educational enrichment and support, their money may enable (but not CAUSE) higher test scores -- if, that is (to add another significant variable) their children are willing to apply effort in school. In a poor family, both parents may have to work full time to pay rent and utilities and there may not be enough extra left over to secure the optimal kind of child care for the hours when children are not in school.)

Similarly, public funds allocated to a school district can enable but do not cause higher test scores. They will enable higher scores only if the money is applied in the right way. It is easier in wealthier districts where the families have the means to provide maximal educational support in the home. But let's look at poorer districts, where students come to school with more needs unmet and where helping them learn is harder: if desegregation and / or Title 1 funds are applied to ensure that every classroom in neighborhoods with high concentrations of lower-SES and / or minority families has a qualified teacher in it rather than to build a swimming pool or to add vaguely described "support" positions that have no clear function in increasing the quality of education delivered to students (two examples from the long and baffling history of TUSD's management of its funding supplements), increased funds may have a chance of enabling better test scores.

To sum it up: what enables (not CAUSES) maximal student success is complex and involves many variables, which would include at a bare minimum: 1) sufficient funding at home and in the school system, 2) the right kind of support in the home either from parents or from supplementary care they hire and fully qualified faculty in the schools, 3) intent on the part of school governance and administration to apply funds they control for STUDENT benefit, and 4) some level of oversight both from an active, engaged, knowledgeable citizenry and from higher level authorities within the state's educational system. Then there are always the variables of student motivation and application of effort, without which no amount of resource allocation and responsible oversight can do any good.

Some of the variables needed for maximal student success are missing throughout Arizona and others are missing in some of the institutions in this region. One political party whines constantly about what is missing statewide while ignoring or cloaking the local problems and the other denies the reality of statewide problems while failing to use the means at its disposal (state level institutions and governance) to identify and treat the regional problems.

8 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by It's complicated, and both party ideologies get it wrong. on 09/29/2017 at 2:26 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

David, how, in your view, does high parental income cause higher student test scores? The typical answer I get from defenders of the public education industry is that schools in wealthier districts are better funded. But if that's the explanation, the relevant metric ought to be per pupil instructional spending, right? But the state auditor report that you cited in your March, 2016 article on this subject (…) shows that in 2015, TUSD spent $4005 per student on instruction, whereas Cat Foothills spent LESS: $3792 per pupil.

So, what's the causation, in your view?

9 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Nathan K on 09/29/2017 at 10:49 AM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

"Just like in real estate, Cat Foothills' success is all about location, location, location."

Catalina Foothills High must be built on magic dirt. Maybe we could load up a truck or two of it and send it down to Tucson High. That should help.

2 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Nathan K on 09/28/2017 at 8:13 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

Where's the punchline, David? You know what it is, right? SES / home values and parent education levels in the neighborhoods surrounding those two schools and SES and parent education levels of many if not all of those who open enroll. If TUSD schools were integrated by SES and parent education levels, would these two schools be the stand-outs they are?

So what are you trying to highlight, TUSD's chronic failures to integrate? Its decades-long persistence in maintaining enclave schools where people who live in the right neighborhoods can get services superior to what is available even in the wealthy Catalina Foothills school district, while people who live on the South and West sides of TUSD distinctly do NOT get those test scores -- or the kind of staff and investment available in those schools -- out of TUSD? How about making one of your fabulous graphs showing teacher vacancy rates at Fruchthendler and Sam Hughes vs. south and west side TUSD schools or average years of experience of teaching staff in Fruchthendler and Sam Hughes VS. south and west side schools? Or graphs showing differences in supplementary private investment and tax credit investment in those schools vs. other schools in TUSD?

I really don't understand the point you're trying to make here. Is it that even failing TUSD can do well teaching rich kids whose parents voluntarily invest in their schools, or is it that there are some significant failures of justice in resource allocation in TUSD? Or both?

Do tell.

14 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by What's the moral of the story here? on 09/28/2017 at 1:26 PM

Re: “Cinema Clips: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

It is Amazing!! tear-jerker, slice of life, extraordinary story. 10/10 i would give this movie!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by ACER on 09/28/2017 at 12:41 PM

Re: “Sports Scandal Rocks UA Basketball Program

Shocked I say.....

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jim on 09/28/2017 at 12:14 PM

Re: “Sports Scandal Rocks UA Basketball Program

The Athletic Program at the University of Arizona, as with other Universities in this Country, creates the environment for Corruption that we are currently witnessing. This is Big Business!!... providing millions of dollars for the University and, as well, are Feeder Programs for Professional Sports. The Athletic Programs, as such, must be dismantled and restructured.

The University, Board of Reagents and University Administration, kowtows to Alumni that support the Athletic Programs as they current exist. Why?...the $$$$$ that the "donate"....and...their Identity as a Person is inextricable linked to these Athletic Program providing an opportunity to participate in Home Game "tailgating"...a euphemism for a University sponsored Bacchanalia!

It remain to be seen, if the new UofA President, Dr. Bobby Robins, has the Interest, Courage, and Clout to dismantled and restructured the Athletic Program. The University is First and Foremost an Academic Institution...NOT a Feeder Institution for Professional Sports!!!

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Francis Saitta on 09/28/2017 at 11:40 AM

Re: “Sports Scandal Rocks UA Basketball Program

Despite rampant misspellings in the media, Book Richardson's name is Emanuel--one m, one n.

If you read the dates and circumstances given in the actual complaint, it's almost certain that he passed $15k to Jahvon Quinerly (not Grimes, and not his mom). In fact, the complaint explains that his mom demanded more money from Book, apparently unaware that her son had already cashed in, or yes, maybe upset that he didn't get more.

Yeah, yeah, Lute is a Hall of Fame coach, all the respect in the world. But under his leadership, Jason Terry was busted taking money from an agent 20 years ago, and later Arizona was busted for what were admittedly relatively minor infractions, but there were penalties assessed and they did have to vacate victories and an NCAA tournament appearance, which punched a hole in Lute's consecutive NCAA tournament appearance streak.

The point is that college basketball has been corrupted by the enormous sums of money swirling around it for decades. It's a multi-billion-dollar industry in which the principal employees get paid nothing, ostensibly--a recipe for corruption if I've ever heard one.

This will turn out much like the steroid scandal in baseball. The open secret will become a painfully clear fact--cheating and corruption are business as usual, especially for the high end schools.

In order for this problem to really be addressed, the mighty must fall. Louisville is obviously down already, but Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, and yes, even the saintly and untouchable Puke University, must be exposed and punished. The truth must be revealed in order to find a way out of this mess. MLB did not address steroids until some of the best players of all time had been exposed and punished.

Very sad that Arizona appeared at the tip of this iceberg and a great guy like Book took the first blow. No doubt he did it to compete in a culture of corruption and impunity that was created by the big programs mentioned above (and many others) and tolerated by the NCAA, which had no interest in staining its own brand by prosecuting its own legends. In such a climate, it's not surprising that even good people like Book got sucked into the sewer in their efforts to compete at the highest level and win championships.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by skinnyman on 09/28/2017 at 11:14 AM

Re: “Sports Scandal Rocks UA Basketball Program

so dd, you're the victim here? U of A basketball has and will continue to be great,
and....broaden your view, if embarrassment is the thing you choose to feel as an alum, meh!

3 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by laddderflappy on 09/28/2017 at 11:01 AM

Re: “Can High School Athletes Take a Knee?

Wayne, we may thrive despite Trump's complete narcissism and inepititude. If he doesn't destroy the country first, or give the entire thing away to corporate financial greed.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Frances Perkins on 09/28/2017 at 9:13 AM

Re: “Sports Scandal Rocks UA Basketball Program

The U of A basketball team used to be great under Lute. Now we alum just get to be embarrassed.

8 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by DeDe Johnson on 09/28/2017 at 9:07 AM

Re: “Grijalva Arrested Protesting Trump's Immigration Policies

Grijalva is a Pied Piper who, along with other Left Wingers, is responsible for thousands of deaths of those who died illegally coming here, thousands of children who were sold into sexual slavery, hundreds of thousands who were raped, and ten million or more who now fear deportation.

Guess What?

For two decades, Grijalva's support for Pro-Raza Open Border policy, or "aiding and abetting, enticing and inviting or otherwise encouraging the illegal entry of Mexico's poor for economic and political exploitation" has created misery that is un-measurable in its dimensions, billions of dollars of extra profit for fat-cat republican employers looking to drive down the value of labor, and 95% of the case load (EMPLOYMENT) for the judges employed in Arizona's District Courts, for which they are GRATEFUL.

Read the Walrus and the Carpenter. Of course the Mexican poor are the young oysters who leave their oyster beds only to be eaten.

How else did Grijalva get so fat?

1 like, 5 dislikes
Posted by KitWarden on 09/28/2017 at 8:56 AM

Re: “Sports Scandal Rocks UA Basketball Program

Good points Mike. I know I was a bit snarky earlier, it was just the language of the response that got me, That good old "We became award...." just felt a little too phony to me. A main item no one has gotten much into is Sean Miller. How long is he here for? Hard to believe a micro-manager like him could not have known. Not impossible, but.......So yeah, the whole program is in the deep end.
BTW, hearing Jim Calhoun express total shock about this and acting so sanctimonious was something to hear. When I lived in CT, his program was known as the "Dirty Calhoun".

11 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Kenneth Groves on 09/28/2017 at 4:53 AM

Re: “Why Teachers Are Leaving (And New Teachers Aren't Replacing Them)

What is "a preoccupation with reducing hours of instruction"? Would that be, perhaps, a valid concern with increasing the hours available during the school day for planning and grading? Most of the public school teachers I know are mothers with dependent children still at home. They are doing underpaid and undervalued work during the school day so they can do unpaid and unvalued "non-work" raising their own children afternoons, evenings, weekends, and summers. In this context, reducing hours of instruction would be a valid goal that would support increasing the quality of services delivered to students. Probably the relationship between this advocacy goal and quality of services would not be clear to a wet-behind-the-ears, earnest "I'm here to save the world" TFA or Teacher Corps recruit, but it is very clear to those of us who know first-hand the life circumstances of most teachers in the "still-a-ghetto" or "in-Arizona-even-more-a-ghetto-than-it-ever-was" profession of K-12 teaching.

(Very tired of the "from-on-high" commentary of male "educators" who portray themselves as heroes and get congratulated for how self-sacrificing they are when many or most of them do only part of the job their female colleagues do: most if not all of the women are doing the same amount of work during the school day AND the lion's share of the work of child rearing and household management at home. During the years when their children are growing up, most if not all of the female teachers I have known have literally had not a moment to themselves during any of their waking hours, year-in, year-out.)

Recommended reading for those baffled by the above comment: Rachel Cusk's A Life's Work, Chapter 7, entitled "Hell's Kitchen."

5 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by P.S. on 09/27/2017 at 4:22 PM

Re: “Sports Scandal Rocks UA Basketball Program

After reading a lot of fine print and coverage from a number of sources, I have to warn Wildcat basketball fans that we're probably in for a long dry spell. Maybe not right away, depending on what else the FBI comes up with. But soon, because this isn't just about $20,000 and a player who won't come play for us next year. Nor about having a player who apparently accepted money and is already on our team. To put this thing in proper perspective, consider that Arizona and Miami were in a bidding war, apparently for, Nassir Little--espn's #14 recruit for 2018. Miami needed $150,000 to get him and a coach there had asked for that sum. Word was Little would probably attend Arizona because Adidas wasn't prepared to go more than $125,000. The player Book is alleged to have paid $15,000 is believed to be Quentin Grimes--espn's #13 recruit for 2018. If Grimes services could be bought with $15,000 paid to his mother, isn't it likely he got more from other sources? Something similar to what is said Little needed to commit. Arizona was probably in competition with Louisville for Brian Bowen (espn #14 for 2017) who is believed to have received $100,000 from Louisville (costing Rick Pitino his job). If Bowen was worth that much, how much might DeAndre Ayton (espn #3 this year) have been worth to UA? Not that I'm accusing Ayton of wrongdoing. I'm sure there are players out there who aren't accepting bribes to decide where they'll play. But it's the players who are the source of all the big TV money that allows these astounding salaries for assistant coaches, to say nothing of head coaches. Most of these kids don't come from wealthy homes. They risk their professional careers to injury every time they go on the court. It's hard to blame some of them who take an insurance policy if coaches, agents, shoe companies, and investment counselors are dangling the money in front of them. I hope I'm wrong, but it's hard to imagine that those who oversee Arizona's basketball and other profitable athletic programs aren't aware of college sports' black market. With the FBI hunting investigation continuing, our Wildcats are likely to see some players and personnel leaving the program and recruits with likely NBA futures no longer coming to play in Tucson. Remember the quality of basketball played here under Ben Lindsey? It could get worse--much worse.

18 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Mike Hayes on 09/27/2017 at 3:34 PM

Re: “Sports Scandal Rocks UA Basketball Program

"We became aware of the situation.....this morning."
Oh really, what gave it away?
The handcuffs or all those men wearing blue jackets w/ FBI on the back?

9 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Kenneth Groves on 09/27/2017 at 3:27 PM

Re: “Sports Scandal Rocks UA Basketball Program

...and... what about the recent Teacher tire slashing incident at TUSD's Santa Rita High School during a Parent/Teacher Conference? The Teacher is African American...and...the incident may be a Hate Crime. The Editor of the Tucson Weekly was given the details of the incident but apparently never reported!!

6 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 09/27/2017 at 3:12 PM

Re: “Why Teachers Are Leaving (And New Teachers Aren't Replacing Them)

And here's what I think, Rick Spanier: I respect those who comment under their own name and those who comment anonymously when their comments have CONTENT that is worthy of respect. Yours often fall in that category, but in this particular stream and on this particular topic, in my honest (and non-automated) Arizona parent-and-teacher opinion, not so much.

5 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Kudos & Few on 09/27/2017 at 12:40 PM

Re: “Can High School Athletes Take a Knee?

Wayne, you speak as if the defeat of the Roman Empire were unfortunate and avoidable, instead of just purely logical--conquer and oppress the vast majority of people you come across for long enough, and yes, eventually they will all rise up against you.

All empires fall, and eventually ours will, too. Participating, or not, in jingoistic rituals will have nothing to do with it; rather, the fall of the U.S. empire will have everything to do with things like, oh, how many innocent kids we slaughter in places like Yemen, and how many of our allies are alienated by our psychotic fuckwit of a president.

12 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by skinnyman on 09/27/2017 at 11:56 AM

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