David is a political propagandist, not an educator and not an education policy analyst, so he won't be responding to comments that raise questions about his talking points. Once his blog is posted on the Tucson Weekly website and is then available to be linked on the Facebook posts of the politicians in his network, providing them with "reporting" to back up their policy preferences from what looks (to the uninformed) like a valid news source, his work is done.
If he did respond to firstname.lastname@example.org's post, he might note that the obstacles to academic achievement that often hinder students in D and F schools will not, in most cases, be solved by enabling them to transfer to other schools. For example, if their parents have to work so much at low wage jobs to pay the rent and utilities that they have a hard time providing after school presence and homework help, that's not a problem most private schools, which tend to serve students whose life situations are very different, can solve for them. It is a problem that would have a better chance of being solved by raising the minimum wage or by the installation of high quality after school programs in schools serving low-income populations, but those sorts of policy changes and service provisions are not favored in states like Arizona.
And then again, if you're dealing with a district like TUSD, treating problems in D or F schools might involve providing effective OVERSIGHT to ensure that the available desegregation and Title 1 funds are actually applied in ways that benefit minority and low-income students. You can't solve the problems of students in D or F schools by allowing the administrators in their schools to underperform and mismanage available funding supplements, and then applaud them for handing 3 and 1/2 million in desegregation funds back to taxpayers. When you've failed to require competent management in the schools serving poor families, it doesn't help to hand them ESAs and suggest they exit the public district system that has been allowed by state regulatory agencies to underperform and fail them and their children.
The population ESAs may actually help (as shown by the data on who is actually using them) is the middle class. They are dealing with their own set of problems and are pursuing their own set of damage-control policies that put band-aids on the bad effects of the underlying problems but do nothing to eliminate the causes of the problems. David refuses to report on these problems because discussion of them doesn't serve his political network, but that doesn't make them any less real. What are these problems? Pricing of higher ed. Methods for determining "need" on FAFSA forms. For-profit student loan industry and its entanglement with the government that should be defending citizens from these abuses.
That is from page 1 of the liberal, progressive movement. Accusations, accusations. Whether they are true or not accuse everybody else of what you are doing. You can fool half the people all the time.
Come on David. Let's not make education just ANOTHER partisan issue. It's too important.
Americans for school choice.
What hypocrisy by the liberal media. As Superintendent, I attempted to directly inform families of D and F rated schools of their opportunity to get a public education through ESA scholarships.
The screams were unbelievable. Brahm Resnick said that I had "crossed a bright red line" - what a hypocrite. You would think that I had engaged in mortal sin. So, keep them uninformed and then use their lack of information as an indictment of a scholarship program for the most needy, the most under-served, the most vulnerable.
She must have not been wearing her tinfoil hat ...
Maybe the affluent have a higher value for education and will not allow their children to be imprisoned in the failed liberal indoctrination centers.
Why do you always bifurcate the American population into "rich" and "poor," David? What about the middle class? It may be rapidly disappearing, but at this point it still exists and constitutes so large a portion of the electorate that it can only be ignored at grave peril to elected officials and policy proposals that disregard the new realities this class is being forced to face.
From what I've seen of your commentary -- and I follow it pretty closely -- you have never made any attempt to discuss the realities the middle class deals with in academic standards, pricing, and financing for higher ed. That is one of the largest factors influencing what K-12 education policies the middle class will support. In a context where the best universities in this country turn away 9 out of 10 applicants and require that middle class students pay $60K per year for their college educations, wouldn't it be fair to say that the middle class has been given a very large incentive to support any policies that will enable their students to meet tough admissions standards in desirable universities and reduce the degree to which their children have to load themselves up with tens or hundreds of thousands of undismissable student loan debt to get through college? Do you doubt that these factors are influencing the degree to which portions of the electorate is now willing to support measures like ESAs?
The Democratic party, which likes its friends on Wall Street and in the financial industry, has been in the habit of ignoring what's going on with student debt -- which some characterize as another bubble building like the bubble in the housing market that brought about 2008 -- and getting rid of candidates like Sanders who try to address the problems honestly. Perhaps they should stop. Perhaps the fact that they continue to do this and continue to believe that the middle class faces no economic threats is part of the reason they lost the 2016 presidential election and Trump- & DeVos-style education policy now seem to rule the day.
Here's hoping the Democratic party wakes up before 2020. If they continue to pretend that policy interventions and alterations of the education pricing and finance scene are only needed for those with family incomes below the poverty line, they will lose again, and then we may never be able to reverse the current plutocratic trajectory.
...which is not to say that there shouldn't be reporting on what's wrong with Basis. There should be. But Basis's problems can be discussed without the notion being conveyed that public district schools are bastions of equity, transparency, and democratic responsiveness. No such bastions exist and they will never be given the chance to exist, if the media stops providing the kind of reporting that asks the public district system to achieve needed reforms.
The ANTI-PRIVATIZATION camp wants us to accept an inaccurate, reductive, Manichaean-style black-and-white representation of a current educational scene that exists in shades of gray. Worse, they adopt a strategy of omitting coverage of the abuses and inequities in the public district system, and in so doing they fail to provide the kind of commentary that democratically controlled institutions need to remain healthy: accurate reporting that ensures that the electorate knows the facts about governance and administrative leadership, so they can make the right decisions when they vote.
While this reductive anti-privatization propaganda dominates media reporting on education, students in the public district system are undefended from all kinds of abuses. For example, locally:
--While David Safier is busy reporting on the evils of Basis, TUSD's University High School increases its AP requirements, reduces flexibility in its curriculum, proposes to apply funds that were previously used in the fine arts and extracurriculars to pay standardized test fees for students whose families do not qualify for free and reduced lunch, and inappropriately ramps up the pressure in an already high pressure academic environment so it can compete with Basis and milk its students for the AP scores, rankings, and College Board Awards they can earn for the school and district. David Safier is silent.
--Detracking implementations are botched, degrading teaching and learning conditions and producing poor educational outcomes. Magnet programs are underfunded and poorly administered and fail to achieve the metrics which will allow them to retain their magnet status. These kinds of administrative failures give "desegregation" a bad name locally among those who think botched detracking and failed magnets must be what "desegregation" means, because it's all they've seen taking place under that rubric. David Safier fails to play any role in educating the public about what competently implemented desegregation programs look like. Instead, he seems increasingly to promote the view that attempts to desegregate have not worked and should probably be abandoned as impossible:
(If he's content to let NYC and TUSD off the hook for integrating, perhaps he should explain why the composition of the student body at Basis concerns him so much.)
--TUSD, which is suffering more than other local districts from the state-wide teacher shortage, fails to apply available 123 and 301 to improve shockingly low teacher salaries and bonuses at the same time that administrative compensation and bonuses skyrocket. David Safier busily spins and makes excuses.
It's the reservation of privileges for a particular class, corruption, lack of transparency, bad educational methods, disastrously low teacher compensation, and mis-use of public funds that need to be opposed wherever and whenever they occur, in charters, in privates applying vouchers, AND in public district schools. But that seems to be little understood in the current politicized, polarized context.
HEADS UP to those trying to "save" the public district system: there may not be anything left for you to save if you allow the patient to be ravaged by internal infections while you busy yourselves with countering only external threats.
Character assassination again?
Was this an April Fools Day joke? You people are sick.
Jerry Kelly - if her injury reduced her mental capacity or otherwise caused mental illness she'll be a liberal.
If she had a head injury how would we tell the differences?
How about comparing Basis student demographics to the demographics of the 65 NYC public middle schools that are allowed to select students and that admit less than 1 in 10 of the students who apply?
Care to do some public records requests to highlight the demographics of those 65 schools, David, or would that rub you the wrong way, ideologically speaking?
Or perhaps you could do additional public records requests to force transparency of admissions requirements to selective NYC public schools outside of NYC District 2, where an advocacy organization recently FINALLY, after years of effort, forced disclosure of the schools' un-transparent admissions rubrics:
Does Carol Burris know about the existence of these schools? If so, where is the outrage...or is selectivity / exclusiveness in populations served by schools applying public funds just fine when those schools operate within the public district system? Just not when they operate within the (shudder) Arizona public charter system.
Really tired of the hypocrisy and the false assumptions built into your propaganda, David. Among those false assumptions I include the notion that public district schools are some fabulous paragon of transparency, equity and democratic responsiveness to constituents served. They are NOT that, and anyone who cares to take even the most cursory look at their operations locally or nationally knows it damn well.
How is it fair to compare BASIS student demographics to that of the ENTIRE State of Arizona?. How about comparing the schools to the surrounding neighborhoods or the districts in which they reside?
Any update on her condition?
I agree with Rae, details were left undone, and now there are hard feelings and those of disrespect. If artwork is requested for display and the requester doesn't own it, each piece must have a plaque identifying the piece, artist, owner (if the artist no longer retains ownership), and price (if for sale). To not do so, is unprofessional and dishonest. It implies that the site owns the piece in private. The artist should have inspected the installation and insisted on identification and recognition of her pieces. There should always be a basic written agreement on dates, value, and responsibilities. The requester owes the artist the full amount for her work.
This is a huge lesson for artists and those who display their work. A lot of details were left undone, and now a theft has occurred. I hope the paintings are safely returned, and steps taken to create a more definitive written agreement for future exhibitions.
To the thief...stealing art brings the worst sort of karma. Return it, please.
You forgot Jarabe de Palo. Awesome Spanish band Sunday April 2nd.
I think you are right about this particular School.
I will however continue to say that the Public School System is not for every kid. From personal experience they can be very rigid and unhelpful when dealing with different kinds of learners and kids with disabilities. Some charter schools are good options for kids/parents.
Trump and DeVos (Scamway). Those are "at the expense of intellect."
Could it be that they don't come here for vulgarity? just a thought. At the Star you can't get news, and at the Weekly you can't get decency.
The public is being starved, and for what purpose? It used to be that when adolescents matured they left their childish ways behind. Not here.
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