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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch: Last 30 Days

Re: “Arizona Vouchers: Hype vs. History

Giving -- in detail -- relevant facts which the original blog suppresses does not constitute "protesting too much" or "clouding the issue." Safier's strategy of lumping ESAs and tax credits together under the imprecise term "vouchers" and pretending that he is proving something about how ESAs will do in the future by what tax credits' history has been in the past is a completely invalid policy analysis "move." It is simply more of Safier's characteristically flimsy propaganda, and it's offensive that he frames it in language that purports to "prove" that it's the other side that has a "persuasive, but false, narrative."

Brian S, please run this experiment: do some research in the field and take a good, hard look at what some of "our public schools, our neighborhood schools" actually are. Include the ones on the South and West sides of Tucson as well as those in the Foothills or the University neighborhood. The fact is that these schools are not "our" schools meeting "our" needs for a significant minority/majority of the population of Southern Arizona. This is one thing among many which the decades-old, unresolved desegregation case and the largest local school district's ongoing lame response of "displaying incompetence" in implementing its Unitary Status Plan demonstrates.

If there are taxpaying citizens in this region who prefer to apply their students' per-pupil funding in one of the high functioning Catholic schools in the region rather than in one of the struggling schools in deeply troubled TUSD, the results are likely to be better for the student and for the state, and it is simply mean spirited, vindictive, and bad public policy to say the student's family should be forced to pay an economic penalty and forfeit any claim to the funds the state has available to support that student's education. It is in all of our best interests for the young people in this region to receive the best education possible. And it's a clear case of reality denial to say that the best education possible will necessarily be delivered by the "neighborhood schools" available in some neighborhoods.

P.S. - It's sad that it has to be said, but in the current context, it clearly does need to be said: name-calling and misleading slogans ("elitists"! "welfare for the rich"!) won't (or shouldn't) win any policy arguments, either...

25 likes, 33 dislikes
Posted by Weak analysis; try again. on 06/04/2017 at 6:00 PM

Re: “Arizona Vouchers: Hype vs. History

The column detractors are voucher fans who doth protest too much. When a rebutted becomes as long as the original article, it's no longer a rebuttal, it's clouding the issue. Fund our public schools, our neighborhood schools and let the elitist private school folks pay for their own schools. These programs violate the state constitution....they're nothing more than a gift of public funds

32 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by BrianS on 06/04/2017 at 5:07 PM

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

Regarding districts training teachers. Yes, theoretically the districts (really, the school sites) have the people to train new teachers far better than educational colleges. But, the districts, their staff, and school staff are already overburdened and have no time, money, nor other resources to conduct training. For the most part, neither side of that debate has intention to train teachers nor teach kids, as that requires the public to support such efforts with time, money and parenting. Mr. Safier, the politicians he detracts, and most all leadership of school districts do represent the public--making noise to enable citizens to make-believe they are active instead of passive, and continue to pass the buck to district employees, both white-collar and blue-collar, who do actual work.

Posted by Aaron Johnson on 06/04/2017 at 2:04 PM

Re: “Tour Diaries! Days Seven, Eight and Nine of the Marianne Dissard Euro Tour

Still waiting for your first concert in Marseille.... I used to live in Berlin and Karlsruhe for many years, but that was before you started your career as a singer.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Norbert on 06/04/2017 at 3:57 AM

Re: “Arizona Vouchers: Hype vs. History

It's true that "private" schools are having a hard time breaking even in the wake of:

1) 2008 and the massive "craters" it created in our financial system and in all institutions and lines of employment connected with it.

2) the introduction in Arizona of charter schools.

The largest network of Arizona "private" schools benefiting from tax credits is, as David Safier has previously pointed out, Catholic schools.

Arguments against tax credits, "vouchers", and ESAs are in reality arguments about whether ALL K-12 students, or just those who find the Catholic school system not to their liking, should receive equal public support for their K-12 educations. Keep in mind that Catholics (and non-Catholics who want to enroll their students in the Catholic school system) are tax-paying citizens of this country as much as any non-Catholic or anti-Catholic citizen is.

Dress "anti-voucher" advocacy up in whatever disguise you prefer: in reality, it is directly tied to this country's long and disgraceful history of anti-Catholic bias. Anti-voucher advocacy promotes a form of economic discrimination against Catholics and their clients in the Catholic school system.

Take another look at the practices of post-Reformation England and Ireland, with their systemic, state-sponsored bias against Catholics in education and employment, or the various debates and struggles in the American colonies (including Maryland, which had been founded by a Catholic nobleman) over how much enfranchisement and political and economic privilege should be withheld from "Papists." Anti-voucher advocacy is more of same, and in a country that supposedly prides itself on religious diversity and tolerance.

Perhaps we need to re-examine what is meant by the term "liberal." Some people who'd like to "pass" as that are distinctly NOT that.

27 likes, 36 dislikes
Posted by Is anti-voucher advocacy "liberal"? on 06/03/2017 at 10:32 PM

Re: “Arizona Vouchers: Hype vs. History

Your analysis is much too simplistic. Not only the percentage of students in private schools has dropped dramatically since 1995 nationwide. going from 10.7% to 6.9% but so much so that the total has dropped also.

Private schools face even more pressure in Arizona because, thanks to the charter system, parents can get the equivalent of a private school education for free. The fact that private schools have held their own in Arizona is remarkable, and that's only because of the tuition tax credit.

Its not generally known, but there is tremendous animosity towards charter schools by private school operators. They feel the competitive pressure and it is very real.

By your own calculations, private schools have opened up towards minorities much more so that the rest of the nation. While private schools became whiter in the rest of the nation, they became more open to the public, i.e. minorities, in Arizona.

Arizona is the only state in the nation that can claim to have a truly public education system, where every single school with no exceptions is open to every single child with no exceptions.

Well, maybe there are a few exceptions, a few district schools in Scottsdale and Cave Creek might be open to only the white kids in their district.

5 likes, 37 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 06/03/2017 at 1:05 PM

Re: “Arizona Vouchers: Hype vs. History

Arizona "Vouchers": Safier-Style Propaganda vs. Facts

The commenter who posted under "No hurt" is correct that you are lumping non-comparable funding initiatives together under the term "voucher."

It's the ESAs that have only just been authorized that allow any student currently in the public system to leave the public system and take all of their per-pupil funding with them to apply in a private institution. Only once that initiative has been operational for a few years will we be able to tell whether it 100% portable funding has the benefits "voucher supporters" attribute to it, diversifying the population using private schools and giving families who could not previously afford private schools new opportunities and a broader range of choices. There is no "history" of this program (contra your misleading article title) that can be referred to: it did not exist prior to this year.

Private school tax credit programs, which you misleadingly refer to as "vouchers" and seem to want to assume had essentially the same provisions as the newly created ESA policy, did not provide 100% portable funding to all constituents. Individual tax credits provided piecemeal chunks, $1,000 per couple at one point, different sums at other points, but all of these sums far less than the total cost of one student's tuition. As "No hurt" points out, you could not donate a tax credit to partially cover your own student's tuition: taxpayers other than the parents of the child in question could donate to an STO (School Tuition Organization) that pooled the money and applied it in scholarships based on families' demonstrated financial need, or to one of the STOs which accepted "recommendations" that the funding be applied towards a particular child's tuition, regardless of need. A particularly industrious family could potentially patch together enough individual tax credits donated by people other than themselves (relatives, friends, neighbors) to cover most of their tuition in a private school -- and then complete the forms necessary to "apply" for the funds that had been donated in their child's name (a separate step) -- but the vast majority of people in the system were only getting small discounts on their tuition, discounts that amounted to far less than the state would have had to pay for their child's per pupil funding, if the child were enrolled in a public district school or charter. Tax credit policy was differentially enabling to wealthier families that had networks of acquaintances and relatives that were all affluent enough to owe more than $1,000 in AZ taxes per annum and differentially enabling to people who were relatively well informed about policy initiatives and the details of the taxation system. The state was saving millions of dollars as the families with children in privates partially or completely relieved the state of the burden of funding their children's K-12 education. Moreover, there was huge variation from one school and one STO to the next about how responsibly the available funds were being matched with children who actually had demonstrated financial "need." Corporate tax credits (as opposed to individual tax credits) were supposed to be used exclusively to fund scholarships for the benefit of students with demonstrated need. Perhaps they were, but they were only one component of a poorly regulated and overseen system. The bottom line is that no policy analyst in their right mind who understood the details of how this system worked would have expected it to uniformly enable families of lower-SES status to access forms of education that had previously been out of their reach. There were isolated examples of that taking place in more responsible individual schools and STOs, but it was by no means a system-wide effect.

The ESAs just enacted are a different matter. They allow the full transfer, in one lump, of the entire amount of per-pupil funding (over $5K per annum) from a public school to a private school. Will they have the effect of increasing the SES range in private schools? As was stated above, the jury's still out on that. No evidence, no history: no conclusions can be drawn.

If you cared to examine the details and produce some accurate reporting, David, you could compare and contrast the practices of all the various STOs receiving individual tax credits and highlight what kind of chaos Arizona's characteristic failures of oversight and regulation created in its tax credit "system." Here's a link to a list of STOs receiving individual tax credits:
https://www.azdor.gov/Portals/0/RefundCredits/sto_i_list.pdf

Or you could highlight the inequities as obvious as the broad side of a barn in the way an initiative your own political party promoted is playing out, Public School Tax Credits. The example of distribution over the course of a 4-year period within TUSD is available on pages 14, 15, and 16 of this Site Council Manual:
http://www.tusd.k12.az.us/sdm/documents/handbook.pdf

But I'm guessing you won't do either of those things. You seem to be mainly interested in repeating your party's misleading talking points. See above, in the blog piece on "vouchers" and their so-called "history."

28 likes, 37 dislikes
Posted by Weak analysis; try again. on 06/03/2017 at 12:59 PM

Re: “Meet the New 'What the Hell, I Got Nothing Else To Do' Teacher

Aaaaaand all that "high motivation" apparently turned into "hig motivation" in one keystroke. That's what I get for typing comments after having outpatient surgery with only three hours' sleep.

1 like, 11 dislikes
Posted by Ex-Arizonan on 06/02/2017 at 7:48 PM

Re: “Meet the New 'What the Hell, I Got Nothing Else To Do' Teacher

Here's the problem, Francis. The kind of teacher being described here sounds a lot like my second-grade teacher. Now, for my age I was a very higly motivated student (highly motivated enough to learn when capitalization is or is not appropriate, for one), and I ate up anything I could learn. But I learned next to nothing from this deadbeat or her joke of a curriculum. She was a lazy woman whose idea of teaching ran heavily to "quiet time" and reading aloud from picture books that would have been more appropriate for preschoolers. And guess what? If I recall correctly, she hadn't even been to teachers' college. Oh, and she let bullying run rampant.

I languished. I became bored, frustrated, and depressed. I was really hungry to learn interesting stuff, and I wasn't getting my intellectual needs met. The upshot was that my parents pulled me out of that school and sought alternative educational options. Now, I was very lucky to have those options, and to have autodidactic tendencies, and, most of all, to have two loving, supportive parents who strongly encouraged the nourishment of my mind. But not all kids are as lucky as I was.

Really, if all you need are motivated students and a good curriculum, then why are teachers even necessary? Why do they expect the community to rally around them when they strike? What are they doing to justify their demands for higher wages? Why on earth are we paying them at all? Hell, if the students have to do all of the work themselves, then let's pay them, for crying out loud.

5 likes, 31 dislikes
Posted by Ex-Arizonan on 06/02/2017 at 6:19 PM

Re: “Arizona Vouchers: Hype vs. History

"In the 20 years since Arizona began its first voucher program, private schools have gained less than 900 students."

Can you better define the voucher program you reference? Are you referring to the tax credit program? It started as a $500 credit to be used towards tuition. But tuition was 10 times that amount. And you could not give it to your own child.

So enrollment numbers based on that are basically irrelevant. Let's run full voucher value for 10 years and see what happens. It will make public schools better. Trust me. It couldn't hurt.

30 likes, 39 dislikes
Posted by No Hurt on 06/02/2017 at 4:24 PM

Re: “Cinema Clips: War Machine

You betta wha chowt

Cuz I'm a wah machine

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Gene Simmons of KISS on 06/02/2017 at 9:11 AM

Re: “Cinema Clips: War Machine

A sane movie about an insane situation must appear insane.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by skinnyman on 06/02/2017 at 9:06 AM

Re: “Cinema Clips: War Machine

The movie seems crazy and as you say 'schitzoid'. But some officers who had been around McChrystal say that the movie captures the genuine craziness of the situation in Afghanistan and the high commands attempt to win, win, win in a no-win situation. A retired Lt colonel stated recently that the hardest thing to explain to people, is that the movie isn't quite 'schitzoid' enough.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Kenneth Groves on 06/02/2017 at 8:27 AM

Re: “Meet the New 'What the Hell, I Got Nothing Else To Do' Teacher

You tell 'em, Francis.

6 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 06/01/2017 at 4:05 PM

Re: “In Defense of the Summer Blockbuster

This summarizes the summer movie experience exquisitely! It's definitely like a 2-3 hour trip to an amusement park (not to mention more affordable option), influenced by those you're surrounded with, and the level of customer service and amenities available at your viewing venue of choice.
Applause to both this blog, and in defense to summer blockbusters....Movie On!!

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mama Sammy on 05/31/2017 at 8:22 PM

Re: “In Defense of the Summer Blockbuster

Great article, Eddie!!

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Robyn Renwick Zelickson on 05/31/2017 at 7:38 PM

Re: “Meet the New 'What the Hell, I Got Nothing Else To Do' Teacher

Does anyone who supports this policy remember how mature YOU were when you graduated with your BA or BS? This is a disastrous idea right out of the cooker of no less a public school advocate than Lisa Graham Keegan and of course the still-celebrated but (thankfully) EX - Superintendent of TUSD. One has to wonder if his most avid cheerleaders support this idea--you know, the teachers and a principal or two that can't wait to have their pictures taken with him. Way to support public ed, y'all. I must say that having spent the weekend reading about the Texas Miracle, I see where he got his bag of tricks and I would respectfully suggest that we VERY carefully vet educators from that state in the future.

34 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 05/31/2017 at 4:02 PM

Re: “Meet the New 'What the Hell, I Got Nothing Else To Do' Teacher

When I taught in the post-baccalaurate teacher certification program at Chapman College (now university) I taught Foundations of Education, for the purpose of understanding how public education is structured; I taught U.S. Constitution and AZ Constitution, required by the state and useful for understanding civil rights and AZ school finance systems; I taught Language Arts and Social Studies Methods to teach curricular spiral and methodology to reach learning modes; I taught Classroom Management: Organization to teach them HOW to organize a classroom and lessons; and Classroom Management: Behavioral Techniques, to compare a variety of disciplinary approaches and their goals and results. My students were hired by many local school districts and were excellent teachers in their second career efforts. This worked. Just hiring off the street with a baccalaureate degree does not provide the necessary background in either content or methodology.

32 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by gcb1 on 05/31/2017 at 2:08 PM

Re: “Meet the New 'What the Hell, I Got Nothing Else To Do' Teacher

Random Capitalization Is How Dummies Identify Themselves : Your ad hominem attacks under a Pen Name is a sure sign of a Empty-Headed COWARD!!!!!

23 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 05/31/2017 at 12:12 PM

Re: “Quick Bites: Pints and Poses

Hi Elena!

Yoga at bars/breweries is becoming a trend. Do you think The Weekly can publish a weekly schedule of times, locations and costs? I think that would be an asset to the community.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by HumanBean on 05/31/2017 at 12:03 PM

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