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

Re: “More On the Free College Tuition Front: The Pay It Forward Plan

A couple of thoughts. First, free college (like free anything) will lead to overconsumption of college. Historically, the average IQ for undergraduate degree holders was 110. Although that number has been coming down (See, http://anepigone.blogspot.com/2017/04/aver…), the fact remains that about the half the population doesn't have the chops to succeed at college. So those people should probably not be encouraged to go to college, and the public should certainly not be paying them to go.

Second, college tuition and fees have been rising at something like 6% above the rate of inflation for about 20 years. (See, http://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/16/why-college…). There is a college tuition bubble, at the moment, which some economists blame on easy access to student loans. Making college tuition free would seem to make this problem worse, not better, unless it came with cost controls.

Third, income share repayment incentivizes down-market degrees rather than economically valuable degrees, which seems to run counter to the public interest. Essentially, it represents a subsidy for people who choose to get degrees in gender studies, or other sorts of social "science", but who end up in retail or working the counter at Enterprise. That's crazy. The public probably shouldn't be subsidizing those degrees. If anything, it should be subsidizing STEM degrees.

7 likes, 30 dislikes
Posted by Nathan K on 07/05/2017 at 12:27 PM

Re: “More On the Free College Tuition Front: The Pay It Forward Plan

Free phones, free internet, free food, free housing, free healthcare,..and now free college?

My Mama used to say "something for free has no value." She was so right.

9 likes, 30 dislikes
Posted by Forest Trump on 07/05/2017 at 11:59 AM

Re: “Song of the Day: Billy Sedlmayr on Esther Phillips' Brilliant Take of 'Home is Where the Hatred Is.'

Esther Phillips saved the night after Alice Coltrane couldn't continue:
http://www.lakeconews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10638:cybersoulman-journey-to-alice-coltrane-and-other-jazz-musings&catid=1:latest&Itemid=197

Posted by Freezonetrumpet on 07/04/2017 at 6:01 PM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

Response to gcb1

My point is not about the work I am doing, the point is that minority students have so much more potential than our current system achieves, hugely more. For these students to be advancing 15 SAT points a year when they can move 60 points a year or more is ghastly. And, do it while enjoying school immensely more.

The only way to reveal that potential is to allow thousands of different approaches to education and to see which are more successful.

My observations about our current math classes and minority students. These students are drowning in failure while the research clearly says that they should be experiencing 5 to 9 successes for every failure.

That's all I did in my class was to design a system where students would experience success at that ratio.

The research also says that students experience a glucose consumption pattern in their brain about the size of a quarter when they first tackle a new skill. With enough practice, that glucose consumption pattern drops to the size of a pin prick and students can achieve lightning speed and fluency with enough practice. They are like sponges.

Minorities and students from poverty hate school because they don't experience enough success and as a result, it is impossible to motivate them to practice enough to get high fluency in math and reading.

Education culture has just thrown up its hands and given up on these kids instead of solving the problem.

And, you can't solve this problem with the classical classroom. Impossible. Impossible. Totally impossible.

That's why we need school choice.

5 likes, 43 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 07/03/2017 at 6:31 PM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

Order a transcript of Friday's testimony by the curricular expert in the Department of Ed who requisitioned and supervised the Cambium Audit, gcb1.

One irony is that if the same standards the Department of Ed was attempting to apply to MAS were applied to some of TUSD's US History and US Government courses, a systematic audit would probably have found some questionable instructional practices and politicized statements there as well, coming in some contexts from different parts of the political spectrum, ones less likely to draw the ire of a Department of Ed controlled by Republicans.

Regulatory oversight and enforcement cannot just be complaint driven. Only one camp will complain to a Department of Ed under one party rule. Oversight has to be proactive and systematic. In the absence of systematic, responsible oversight, any portion of a statewide system of education may deteriorate into the Balkanized free-for-all, the chronically unweeded garden we see in TUSD.

As for MAS itself, I am generally sympathetic to social justice and ethnic studies curricula, but I have never been able to get a clear, comprehensive view of what exactly was taught in that program. Excerpts here and there taken out of context don't tell you what you need to know to assess the validity of the program as a whole.

25 likes, 35 dislikes
Posted by Responsible system-wide oversight was and is lacking in AZ on 07/03/2017 at 1:31 PM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

I listened to Huppenthal's testimony for two days. I was struck by how often he could not recall, how often he passed the buck, how often he tried to deflect, and how often he contradicted himself. But what really struck me as a lifelong educator who actually knows something about learning and teaching and how to evaluate it, was his description of his own teaching. No context, no facts, just claims of superiority based on 5 kids doing 50,000 math problems in an unspecified period of time. No description of the type of problems, no source material, no info as to reward systems, no time periods or other curriculum involved. This man is an educational charlatan who benefited from a classical education with little critical thinking and lots of memorization. He began his "observation" of MAS with a bias and made no effort to refute it. He demonstrated that he really doesn't like being questioned by anyone he doesn't consider his equal, and there seems to be very few in that category. The man was most definitely not a compelling or even credible witness. I wish I had seen him on the third day. And I have listened to a LOT of witnesses over the last 25 years, so I think I am a reliable judge.

36 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by gcb1 on 07/03/2017 at 9:54 AM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

Calling people of Franklin's era "bad" because they owned slaves is like castigating people of this age for owning smart phones, or supporting abortion (or opposing it - depending on how history turns out). Everybody does it and there are plenty of people to tell you there is nothing wrong with it.

You can't escape the times in which you live.

The Mexican-American studies program in Tucson was in the hands of extreme political ideologues. It was a bad program and it's ending was a good thing for Tucson. Not that our children couldn't benefit from some sort of ethnic studies program, just not the one we had.

5 likes, 39 dislikes
Posted by bslap on 07/03/2017 at 8:23 AM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

The problem with pedantics .. they're pedantics, like Safier. MAS as a body of study may be of interest to a dilettante dabbling in sophistry, but after that? So far the convo spans about 2-3 hundred years, meanwhile in the real world, Mexico a self hating nation in it's own right, rots in the "pedantic" adulation of itself: Poverty. Corruption. Stagnation. Why in gods name would anyone conceive to want to teach that in a classroom?

5 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Pistol Pete on 07/02/2017 at 11:37 PM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

...and in case anyone should mistake these matters as pertaining only to adults and how they relate to one another in blogs and comment streams: think again.

On the receiving end of our state-level ignorant policy agendas and our local level filthy quid-pro-quo political networks surrounding public school districts are children who deserve a sound education.

The right starves the schools, destroys teacher credentialing requirements, allows for-profit charters and insufficiently regulated and overseen privates to receive public funds, while the left excuses mismanagement, employs incompetent, overpaid, and self-interested administrators, and outsources the management of many of the low-SES classrooms in Southern Arizona to underpaid, unqualified substitute teachers. (That list of sins is selective, not comprehensive.)

Ultimately, what matters is what happens in the classrooms. And the validity of what happens in the classrooms is being systematically undermined by both sides in this filthy partisan war.

Their tone sickens me: they bicker back and forth about Benjamin Franklin and pose as THE NOBLE, THE PHILOSOPHICAL, THE TRUTH SEEKERS, while the depraved scheming and mutual sabotage of BOTH political parties destroys our schools, distorts the truth, and puts very real limitations on our children's prospects for a good education and a bright future.

47 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Enough already with the disgusting, self-important punditry. on 07/02/2017 at 8:59 PM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

And do you mean to tell us, David Safier, that when you are involved in the down-and-dirty of electoral politics, you have not suppressed portions of the truth to put a glossier sheen on the candidates you are promoting than they deserve to have, given their actual behaviors in office?

Provide us with a link to your coverage of your friends on the TUSD Board voting to outsource substitute teacher labor to ESI. (Or their recent vote, with their new "friend" (toady) Michael Hicks, to renew that arrangement, a filthy arrangement that is damaging both to the best interests of labor and to the best interests of poor students in the district.) Provide us with a link to your coverage of Juarez and Foster receiving $5K campaign donations from the wife of an executive at ESI, shortly after they voted to award that company a $21 million contract that Stegeman voted against. (Stegeman did NOT receive a campaign donation from the wife of that executive, making the relationship between the votes and the donation pretty hard to deny.)

Choose one: your high toned philosophizing about education and "truth in history" and your condescension towards Huppenthal for engaging in the same sort of manipulative behavior you yourself are frequently guilty of during election season, OR choose to maintain your political network and relationships, which for you, as for any other political "player/propagandist" will frequently cause you to distort the truth and drag yourself and those of your readership too weak-minded to see through your shabby act through the filth of lies, distortions of the truth, significant omissions of relevant facts, and, to put it plainly, BULLSHIT.

It is a depraved, no-holds barred version of PARTISAN POLITICS that is destroying both the teaching of history and, more generally, the sound management of the education systems in this state. And you are as depraved an actor in that partisan fray as the worst of them, including the figure you have frequently schemed to sabotage, hounded and derided, Huppenthal. You have ZERO credibility as someone fit to pontificate about TRUTH and NOBILITY and UNITY. Your own behavior degrades and undermines those values, systematically and regularly. You chose this character for yourself and continue to choose it, month after month and year after year.

OWN it. It is yours.

33 likes, 43 dislikes
Posted by You know what they say about people who live in glass houses... on 07/02/2017 at 8:03 PM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

John, I have a great deal of respect for Ben Franklin. He's probably my favorite among the country's founders for his brilliance, innovative mind and wit. He was one of the most interesting and talented men of his time. But I don't think he was a perfect man by any means. The facts in your bio above are accurate, so far as I know. Can you show me anything I wrote in my post which contradicts anything you included in the bio?

What I was reacting to wasn't Franklin but the short, inaccurate picture you painted of Franklin in the passage I quoted from your talk at the 2010 candidate forum. If you presented this remarkable American flaws and all, I would have no objection to your praising his most noble qualities. His personal flaws, including his owning slaves, are extremely important parts of his bio. They help illuminate parts of this country's history and heritage we have to come to grips with if we hope to come closer to realizing our county's motto, E pluribus unum: Out of many, one.

43 likes, 34 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 07/02/2017 at 6:07 PM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

Mr. Huppenthal -

Leaving aside your debate with Mr. Safier, on the topic of your work with elementary math students: curious to know whether you ever studied pedagogical methods in math as well as "student motivation." You don't specify your students' age or grade level, just, for some of them, what standardized-test-result "percentiles" they were at before and after your instruction. Does completing 1,000 or 500 or 240 problems a day represent the type of work students at this stage of cognitive development should be doing to gain a sound conceptual understanding of math? Or is the goal just to promote the ability to do huge quantities of simple math algorithms as quickly as possible -- algorithms disconnected from real world situations where the math is applied? Does this "system," which you say in 20 years will be "everywhere," involve problem solving, concrete modeling and applications? From what you write, I am picturing students at desks filling out worksheet after worksheet after worksheet, with the difference between "bright," "typical," and "slow" students just a difference in speed / number of worksheets completed, and the only pedagogical goal to move the needle on the students' standardized test results.

Is that what's going on? If so, in what institution and under whose oversight? What you describe, if I understand the goals and methods correctly, wouldn't be considered a valid program of math education by most administrators and teachers who had studied math pedagogy and earned reputable K-8 math teaching credentials, but perhaps that's part of the goal of demolishing the credentialing system: to get rid of people who have the knowledge base necessary to recognize the shoddy character of the kinds of algorithm- and worksheet-cram programs some "back to basics" textbook companies want to sell to some charter chains.

Safier's problem is not that he supports democratically controlled school districts or teacher credentialing, but that he supports and excuses a corrupted, degraded school district and the political network that feeds on it. In this context, the fact that state level elected officials and Department of Education staffers can't or won't see the difference between the two -- between the validity of the idea of democratic control and teacher credentialing and what is actually going on in TUSD, which does not realize either of those ideals properly -- is deeply troubling and does not bode well for students. Tens of thousands of young people are caught between a local political machine that does not serve their best interests and state agencies peopled by politicians and bureaucrats who don't understand what kind of regulatory and oversight actions are necessary, in this context, to help students.

Here's one thing that's certain: whipping up a national political firestorm while focusing too narrowly and punitively on perceived problems with MAS was not at all the type of response that stood any chance of promoting system-wide improvement and ultimately requiring and enabling TUSD to start better serving its students.

32 likes, 42 dislikes
Posted by You can't solve the problem if you don't understand it. on 07/02/2017 at 2:32 PM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

So, David let's turn that intellectual gun that you are shooting at Benjamin Franklin and aim it at you. Let's go to the year 2037 and look back at you. Not 250 years, just 20 years.

This year, poor Black and Hispanic students in Arizona will gain 20 to 25 points on the AZmerit test when you compare their previous year's test with this years. The problem? They were 65 points below College trajectory last year and they are still 65 points below this year. 25 points does not close the gap.

This year, I moved 5 of my students, 3 African Americans and 2 Hispanics 100 points. These are students, most of them from the highest crime zipcode in the state. This moved them from below the 35th percentile to above the 80th percentile in one year.

Typical students from poverty spend two minutes a day reading and two minutes a day doing math. Because of my studies on student motivation I was able to create a system and my students averaged 36 minutes a day of math work, mind on task, actual work.

These students ended the years doing over a 1,000 math problems a day (that's not a typo). I am moving with them to the next grade level. My typical student is doing over 500 math problems a day. My slowest student is doing over 240 math problems correctly a day.

Within 20 years, systems like this will be everywhere in Arizona. Otherwise, you will lose your students overnight.

What my work means is that our 200 year old school system is an unbelievably racist institution holding poor Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans down to a fraction of their potential.

And, you David, are its biggest defender. That will be your legacy. You did everything in your power to hold these most vulnerable students captive to a horrible system that condemned almost everyone of them to a lesser future.

You are the Bull Connor of education.

6 likes, 54 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 07/02/2017 at 12:02 PM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

So Jhupp, where did you copy this stuff from? Certainly you did not get this from your own knowledge. After all "I don't recall" was your most common statement under oath.

46 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Reggie Evans on 07/02/2017 at 10:35 AM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

Well, we have some facts:
Benjamin Franklin himself was indentured servant himself, essentially a slave, although of limited time. His entire adult life he spoke out against slavery.

Also, his older brother was imprisoned for speech violations leading Franklin to be the leader on the first amendment. As a columnist disparaging Franklin and making false statements about him, you should be ashamed.

And, it is a fact that through his influence and by petition, he placed slavery front and center on the agenda of the first first Congress after his influence was critical for the approval of the constitution.

In 1737, Franklin put out Lays All Slave-keepers that Keep the Innocent in Bondage. In his writings, Lay carried on the moral arguments of Sandiford. He referred to slavery as the Mother of all Sins. He argued that slavery hurt not only the slaves but the whole of the slave owning community.

In 1739 Franklin befriended George Whitefield, a very popular Methodist preacher from England. Certainly, Franklin was drawn to him in part because Whitefield was his own man, an outspoken critic of the Anglican Church and most clergy. In a pamphlet Franklin published in 1740, Whitefield spoke out against the treatment of slaves. He wrote,

Your dogs are caressed and fondled at your tables; but your slaves who are frequently styled dogs or beasts, have not an equal privilege. . . .Nay, some. . .have been, upon the most trifling provocation, cut with knives, and have had forks thrown into their flesh.

He is not referring to the blunt ended table knife nor the dull dining fork but to the field knife and sharpened tines of the agricultural pitchfork. Whitefield called the doers of these deeds, monsters of barbarity, and wrote that if the slaves were to exact any sort of retribution, it would be justified.

But a deeper influence on Franklin was the work of Dr. Thomas Bray who started a group called the Society Promoting Christian Knowledge, and in 1723 founded another group, Associates for Founding Clerical Libraries and Supporting Negro Schools. Franklin never met Dr. Bray but in 1759 joined his association and did meet one of Dr. Brays associates, Anthony Benezet, who started a school for African-American students in Philadelphia. Benezet strongly impressed all who met him as his gentle, charitable nature stood out strongly against the rough, course ways of many in this frontier town. Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of colonial Americas great doctors wrote that Benezet is not only a good man in the full import of those words. He appears in everything to be free from prejudices of all kinds . Rush thought him to be an almost lone example of one who is constantly about the Fathers business.

Franklin became involved in the school in the late 1750s by contributing money.

He also visited it regularly.

This school changed Franklins view of Africans and African-Americans in a deep way. After a visit in to the school 1763 he wrote of the children as having made considerable Progress in Reading for the Time they had respectively been in School . He also remarked that they learned as quickly as white children and that he didnt see any difference intellectually between the two groups. This was a radical idea even among some opponents of slavery. The overwhelmingly accepted opinion of the time was that all Africans and African-Americans were without a doubt possessing of fewer qualities of character and intellect than Whites. Here is where he begins to change his negative views of them writing that he now had a far more favorable opinion of their intellectual capabilities and, more importantly, the content of their characters.

By 1769 Franklin is viewing the more negative characteristics of slaves as being a product of the negative environments and experiences of slavery rather than of their natural traits.

In 1772 the Someset case decided the fate of slaves in England. James Somerset, a runaway slave had been living in London when his former master, Charles Steuart found him and attempted to send him to Jamaica. The court ruled in Somerset's favor and in doing so, in the favor of thousands of slaves throughout Britain by establishing that any slave, once on British soil, was free.

Franklin was moved by this decision. In that same year he wrote a piece for the London Chronicle called The Somerset Case and the Slave Trade in which he condemned both slavery and the slave trade. In it he laid out the brutalities of the trade from the Atlantic passage and poor working conditions which he described as excessive labour, bad nourishment, uncomfortable accommodation and broken spirits. In an undated manuscript in the American Philosophical Library in Philadelphia it seems Franklin is writing on this case. He cites Deuteronomy 23, 16, which states that an escaped slave should not be returned to his master. Franklin comments, This is manifestly, a moral law, which be ever binding as the will of God. He further states it is a maxim of the common Law of England that the inferior law much give place to the Superior [law].

The Marquis de Condorcet supported equality and liberty for all, individuals and groups. Some of his ideas were very extreme for his time like in his support for what we call gay rights. Trained as a scientist, Condorcet is considered one of the pioneers of modern social science though he impressed in many sciences like his work in setting up a coherent system of weights and measures to improve commerce. In 1773 he wrote Franklin without having met him before. Of course, when writing the world's most famous scientist and being one himself, Condorcet touched on science, but he also asked much about the condition, not only of slaves, but also freedmen in America. Franklin responded that the freedmen are not deficient in natural Understanding, but they have not the Advantage of Education. This remark shows that Franklin was still influenced by what he saw in that school in Philadelphia. They became friends, and as the Marquis continued his work to end slavery, the two remained friends until the end of Franklin's life. In 1781 Condorcet wrote his first major work on slavery called Reflections of Negro Slavery. He wrote

To reduce a man to slavery, to purchase him, to sell him, to keep him in servitude, these are veritable crimes and they are crimes worst than theft. In effect, we strip the slave, not only of all mobile and financial property, but his ability to acquire it, including everything that nature has given him so he may conserve his life or satisfy his needs.

He further stated that slavery was a criminal act and those who participated in the slave trade should be prosecuted. In the 1780's with Jacques-Pierre Brissot he formed an abolitionist society allowing him to continue to correspond and work with Franklin on this issue after Franklin returned from France in 1785.

Franklin also wrote in his "Maritime Observations," about slavery questioning whether the employment it affords is equal to the mischief of hazarding so many lives on the ocean. Further he writes that "it is clearly the means of augmenting the mass of human misery." Franklin marvels at "the ships and lives risked in fetching tea from China, coffee from Arabia, sugar and tobacco from America, all which our ancestors did well without." He also cites "an eminent French moralist" (perhaps Condorcet) about whom he says, "that when he considers the wars we excite in Africa to obtain

slaves, the numbers necessarily slain in those wars, the many

prisoners who perish at sea by sickness...and how many afterwards die from the hardships of slavery, he cannot look on a piece of sugar without conceiving it stained with spots of human blood!"

Many unpublished letters in Yale University's archive of Franklin's papers show him to be a very involved president. Franklin sent and received scores of letters as he corresponded with abolitionist societies in England and in France continuing his relationship with the Marquis de Condorcet. He sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Assembly urging the passing of a bill that would put money to the improvement of free blacks. On February 3rd 1790 he wrote a letter to the young nation's Congress stating,

>From a persuasion that equal liberty was originally the Portion and is still the Birthright of all Men, and influenced by the strong ties of Humanity and the Principles of their Institution, Your Memorialists conceive themselves to use all justifiable endeavors to loosen the bands of Slavery and promote a general Enjoyment of the blessings of Freedom. Under these Impressions they earnestly entreat your serious attention to the subject of Slavery; that you will be pleased to countenance the Restoration of liberty to those unhappy Men, who alone in this land of Freedom are degraded in to perpetual Bondage, and who amidst the general Joy of Surrounding Free men are groaning in servile subjection, that you will devise means for removing this Inconsistency from the character of the American People, that you will promote Mercy and Justice towards this distressed Race, and that you will step to the very verge of the Powers vested in you, for discouraging every Species of Traffick in the person of our fellow Men.

David, like the ethnic studies teachers, you are trying to deceive people about Benjamin Franklin.

Few can completely escape the culture that they are born into but Franklin did a better job than all but the very best of us.

8 likes, 44 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 07/01/2017 at 10:36 PM

Re: “Flake? McCain? What Is Your Healthcare Line In the Sand?

What's in it? Look at who wrote it and try to imagine something good coming from them... I can't. McCain and Flake are afraid to take a position ahead of time, like McSally, because their offices are already being picketed by ignored constituents and they don't want to make it look worse. They want to pretend to be surprised by the public outcry. Mandatory? Isn't that pretty much what all laws are?

27 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Cascabel on 07/01/2017 at 9:00 PM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

That is ridiculous.

8 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Upset the apple cart on 07/01/2017 at 10:10 AM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

I think more students would be interested in the poor training practices of the various police departments around the country than a who's who of slave holders in the distant past. The police have a free pass to kill just about anyone. Franklin and Jefferson, not so much.

8 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Gandalf the Upset on 07/01/2017 at 9:51 AM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

Please, learn how to present a condensed version of your opinion.

Better yet, just disappear.

41 likes, 43 dislikes
Posted by You're simplistic; don't try again. on 07/01/2017 at 9:34 AM

Re: “Huppenthal, History and Ethnic Studies

As Will and Ariel Durant wrote, history is a matter of interpretation and perspective. It WILL ALWAYS be politicized by one view or another. As long as student recognize these factors, it is positive to see the different views of history and analyze them. Ironic since Horne and Huppenthal both verified the matter of interpretation factor in history study. THEY politicized the ethnic studies issue, to gain a wedge over any opponent. They wanted to strike fear so they could, " wink, wink," imply that Marxist, Mexican revolutionaries were indoctrinating Arizona children. Again, ironic, considering Marx also wanted to politically inspire based on his interpretation of history and capitalism. Any other rationale by Huppenthal is nonsense, especially considering his irrational word salads.

47 likes, 35 dislikes
Posted by Frances Perkins on 07/01/2017 at 8:21 AM

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