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Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores


I will bow out with the Simple Observation that your Initial Call for a National Curriculum Required for Our National Security is, on the face of it, a Far Cry from simply supporting the Common Core. If, you are simply arguing in favor of states aligning learning objectives without Federal overight and intervention or bribery, that is good enough for me. No harm, no foul.

The Common Core was a fine idea but nothing new, poorly designed and implemented. It was prone to attracting the worst of the worst, those hucksters including publishers, test developers and "school reformers" who would profit from the buckets of cash associated with the effort. Without further infusions of cash, the movement will continue to spiral out of existence and become another footnote in the history of US public education. Our National Security will not be effected.

13 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Rick Spanier on 07/23/2017 at 7:14 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

And this is exactly why, year after year we go nowhere. Too many so called experts can agree on nothing. And you guys mock Congress?

5 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Public Ed Is So Broken on 07/23/2017 at 5:43 AM

Re: “Danehy

If you're not into the Trump bashing columns, than don't read them.

11 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by The Grim Reaper on 07/23/2017 at 12:11 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

"States that fund their schools adequately get good results."

I.e., all it takes to solve Southern Arizona's conspicuous problems with education delivery is add more money to all public districts, including a conspicuously malfunctioning and mismanaged one, which unfortunately also happens to be the largest district in Southern Arizona, "serving" close to 50,000?

No, sorry, it would be nice if the problems we face were that simple and that easily solved, but that's not accurate. It's not sufficient to look at what's going on in the schools. You have to look at the Board meetings and how decisions are made about where available funds will be applied. And that is a time consuming endeavor in a context where you will not only have to contend with changed order of agenda items and significant business buried at hour 4 and 1/2 of a five hour meeting and agenda items postponed from one meeting to the next because the Board President decided to absent himself from discussion and vote, but in order to get a complete picture of the budget you may also have to submit public records requests and engage in the equivalent of forensic accounting to figure out, for example, what was done with 301 and 123 funds, etc.

It's time consuming business being a well informed citizen with enough knowledge of what's going on in our education systems to be able to say with any confidence, "Just add more money and that will solve ALL the problems!" I'd be willing to venture that 99.9% of all the people locally who make that their constant litany have not put in the time necessary to know whether what they are saying is actually valid or not.

13 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by You can't solve the problem if you don't understand it. on 07/22/2017 at 6:13 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Francis. I'll be brief, blow it out your ass !!!

4 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 07/22/2017 at 4:44 PM

Re: “Danehy

Well, I'll Tommy this much. He wrote a whole column and didn't bash Trump once. I'm sure he'll double up next week.

2 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 07/22/2017 at 4:41 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Mr. Spanier: As you probably know, our "Founding Fathers" knew all too well that the Viability and Long Term Survival of our Republic is Directly Related to a Viable/Successful System of Public Education; teaching Citizens "to take the measure of a Man"; to Critically Evaluate Candidates for Public Office!!!

I never suggested that the Federal Government or Agency develop and impose "... a national curriculum from the federal agency level to the states and LEAs.

What I did suggest is that Constitutionally, Congress by providing for the "General Welfare" and the Executive's National Security Responsibilities MUST step in if a State/Local District fails in efforts or is not providing it's Citizens with a Quality Education. These problems must be Diagnosed and Remedies Instituted.

Efforts such as Common Core must have the support and encouragement of the Federal Government...."National Curriculum/Assessment Examinations"

11 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/22/2017 at 3:17 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Agreed, Rick Spanier, on NCLB, RTTT, and on the inadvisability of a national curriculum.

The way to get valid education is not by creating top-down mandates, it is by getting fully educated people with a genuine mastery of and love of their subjects into classrooms. You don't get that by paying them what teachers are paid in too many states, and, though certification requirements are better than no certification requirements, in the current "system" they are no more a guarantee that valid education will necessarily be taking place in every American classroom than machine graded standardized test results are a guarantee of same.

We believe that all our citizens should be fully educated critical thinkers -- our enlightenment-concocted political structure and the ideology behind it requires it, demands it. But when you look at what "fully educated" properly means and how that is achieved, and then you look at the conditions in our society and in our schools, you know it is not currently possible. Four administrations worth of scorched earth federal policy have degraded and damaged educational programs and faculties in every state. Worker protections that guarantee families raising children some kind of economic stability have been undermined. Same with social safety nets. Several state level governance operations have gone completely off the rails (AZ, WI, KS, NJ...) and excellence in local governance is the exception rather than the rule. At this point, with these conditions, a system of universal public education that can produce a uniformly fully educated, critically thinking citizenry is an unrealizable dream, and the current federal administration seems likely to take conditions in a direction that will make that dream less realizable rather than more so.

What to do? Hard to say, in a context where neither major party is presenting policy proposals that are realistic or viable. Choice without any meaningful standards or oversight won't work and cutting off access to alternatives to the public district system won't work because large portions of the public district system are not working. One thing is certain: the Southern Arizona political strategy of lying to the public about what is really going on in public schools and how bad conditions and outcomes have actually become will only make our schools and our communities worse. Decision making by the electorate needs to be done based on facts, not ideologically driven propaganda and politically motivated lies. People who lie to voters or systematically suppress relevant information are not treating the electorate with respect.

"You will smile here at the consistency of those democratists, who [...] treat the humbler part of the community with the greatest contempt, whilst, at the same time, they pretend to make them the depositories of all power." (Burke) A very good gloss on much local political behavior relating to education governance, unfortunately.

10 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Federal, state, & local: all failing at education. on 07/22/2017 at 3:01 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

You're blaming starving children for not having food with these dumb arguments about who controls schools. States that fund their schools adequately get good results. Segregated Arizona? You can forecast test proficiency by zip code. And Huppenthal, you've got some nerve to even comment when you've dedicated your life work to undermining our schools and the pblica confidence in them.

13 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by BrianS on 07/22/2017 at 2:51 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores


I never once conflated your call for a National Curriculum with the Common Core ... apples and oranges. Common Core died its own slow death but not because it was seen as part of a movement to develop a national curriculum.

There is a profound difference between states cooperating to develop their own "consistent learning goals" in concert with other states and your call for developing and imposing a national curriculum from the federal agency level to the states and LEAs.

"Local Control of Public Education, generally, has been a dismal failure!!...hence the move, by Parents, of their Children, to Charter/Private Schools. We need to turn this around via a National Curriculum/Assessment Examinations." Your words.

Or do you have something else in mind you would like to share?

15 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Rick Spanier on 07/22/2017 at 1:54 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Mr. Spanier: With all due respect, you have an Egregious/False Notion of National Curriculum (Common Core ) Standards!! They are not IMPOSED by the Federal Government, but, in fact, Developed and Voluntary Adapted by he States Themselves. Please....Please GET THE FACTS before you Criticize!!…

The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade."...." Forty-two states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have voluntarily adopted and are moving forward with the Common Core."...Recognizing the value and need for consistent learning goals across states, in 2009 the state school chiefs and governors that comprise CCSSO and the NGA Center coordinated a state-led effort to develop the Common Core State Standards. Designed through collaboration among teachers, school chiefs, administrators, and other experts, the standards provide a clear and consistent framework for educators."...

12 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/22/2017 at 1:39 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores


Can't dispute your evaluation of failing governments or which is worse in AZ or Tucson. But our state and local education authorities are hardly the norm and there are far better systems in other cities and states. But the proposal to design, implement and enforce a national curriculum takes us from one bad state of affairs locally to an unconstitutional federalized system that becomes even more horrific considering this administration and its Secretary of Education. We live in the worst case scenario with Trump and DeVos in power. Presidents and administrations change but the dangers of a nationalized education system are real whether it's Obama-Duncan or Trump-DeVos.

17 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Rick Spanier on 07/22/2017 at 12:09 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Let's see....

Federal Power: Trump et al.

State Power: Ducey et al.

Local Power: the TUSD Board

Frying pan, fire, furnace. Take your pick. Sound education will not survive at the hands of ANY of them. It may not conform to Democratic Party orthodoxy, but in this region Independent and Catholic schools that step outside of the forced mismanagement of federal, state, and local education governance do best in delivering valid academics.

For an interesting thought experiment, try re-reading Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France and asking yourself how much of what he says about the weaknesses in post-revolutionary France's political structure may apply to us. It's a frightening thought in a context where we've shredded so many of the traditions and institutions Burke thought were necessary to provide a ballast and stabilizing influence to the democratically elected portions of the British government.

"The will of the many, and their interest, must very often differ; and great will be the difference when they make an evil choice. A government of five hundred country attornies and obscure curates (in contemporary America, you can sub in "plutocrats") is not good for twenty-four millions of men, though it were chosen by eight and forty millions."

11 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Federal, state, & local: all failing at education. on 07/22/2017 at 11:22 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Mr. Spanier: You are correct about this "President" and this Congress...and that we are a Republic where the Voters ultimately decide the course of action.....and given that....

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."..... Abraham Lincoln

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/22/2017 at 10:43 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

This is a joke, Francis, right?

You want THIS president and THIS congress to intervene in the states' Constitutional right to provide public education under the guise of a national security threat?


Will the nation's students be forced to sing the Internationale each morning and worship Putin?

Too funny.

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Rick Spanier on 07/22/2017 at 10:20 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

So you say!!!...and....a failing System of Public Education is a National Security Issue that both the President and Congress have the Constitutional Authority to Address.

10 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/22/2017 at 10:10 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Mr. Saitta,

US Constitution, Article 1; Section 8, Paragraphs 1 and 18. will not work as a means to override the 10th Amendment. That argument will be dismissed as tautological and the primacy of the 10th amendment will be upheld.

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Rick Spanier on 07/22/2017 at 8:18 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Mr. Spanier: FYI: US Constitution, Article 1; Section 8, Paragraphs 1 and 18.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/22/2017 at 7:58 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

National Curriculum? Unconstitutional and dangerous.

We are a republic. The tenth amendment of our Constitution is clear, any power not given to the federal government is to be exercised by the states. Nothing ambiguous there. There cannot be a national curriculum or federally constructed assessment exams any more than states can declare war on a foreign nation.

The abject failures of NCLB and Race to the Top are glaring reminders of the outcomes to be expected when the federal government decides to flaunt the Constitution with poorly conceived schemes to make an end run toward establishing a national curriculum.

Take away the constitutional issue and consider what a federally mandated national curriculum would look like given the wild swings in administrations (Obama, Trump) and Secretaries of Education (Duncan, DeVos). Imagine a national curriculum developed by either of the above Secretaries of Education or dominated by right wing ideologues or left wing activists; Texans or San Franciscans.

Like I said, we are a Republic and for good reason. The disturbing notion of a federally designed national curriculum presents one good example of the brilliance of our revolutionary founders in designing our Republic and writing our Constitution.

21 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Rick Spanier on 07/22/2017 at 7:26 AM

Re: “There's Election Integrity, and Then There's Election Integrity

Hillary does matter. She and the faction within the Democratic Party she represents are responsible for the 2016 presidential election results. So when you roll your eyes over Trump's idiocies, remember to thank her. And the DNC. And the NYTimes, that bastion of impartial journalism that treated the Sanders campaign in a very biased, profoundly dishonest way.

It is clear to anyone who has been paying attention that the power players in the Democratic Party have been enablers of the financial sector's malfeasance in this country. Their "solution" to the 2008 crisis -- bailing the banks out at taxpayer expense and failing to prosecute those responsible for the sub-prime loan debacle -- was an unbelievably corrupt betrayal of people who work for a living in this country. To most citizens, money is not a toy they gamble with. It is what they use to keep a roof over their family's head, to feed and clothe and educate their children. To crater their home values and then use their tax funds to bail criminals in the banking system out, while jacking up the cost of higher ed and asking the children of the middle class to indenture themselves to the banks to get qualified for professions is a profound and unacceptable betrayal of the citizens whose labor keeps this country and its institutions running.

Many noticed, and many were unwilling to vote for someone as obviously tied to the damage to their wellbeing as Hillary Clinton was. The remedy for your dismay is to take a good, hard look at the Democratic Party and ask it to clean itself up. Not to piss and moan about Trump. He is not the root of the problem. He wouldn't have been able to get into the presidency if the Democrats had not failed so miserably, from the Bill Clinton deregulation-and corporate-enabling presidency on, to defend the interests of ordinary citizens.

12 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Dismayed that so many are blind to who's at fault. on 07/22/2017 at 6:50 AM

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