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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.

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."

2 likes, 0 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

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.

1 like, 0 dislikes
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.

0 likes, 2 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.

1 like, 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.

0 likes, 1 dislike
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.

3 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.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Dismayed that so many are blind to who's at fault. on 07/22/2017 at 6:50 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

"Whenever students are taught how to take a specific test, the results are thrown into doubt...."

Teaching to the Test is a bogus argument. In fact, if the Curriculum/Assessment Examination, AzMerit, covers the necessary body of information per Subject Area required for a Student to achieve their Career Goals as well as a measure of Teacher/Administrator Accountability, then by all mean...Teach to the Test!!!

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. AzMerit is a move in the right direction.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/22/2017 at 5:36 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

The fourth grade NAEP tests lack the significance that you apply to them. Those fourth graders were in first grade when the scores you compare them with were racked up. They are completely different students.

However, the 8th graders were in fourth graders in 2011 and we know what their test scores were. We are comparing largely the same students. Arizona had the largest gains in the nation from 2011 fourth grade to 2015 8th grade.

Our Black students placed number one in the nation in math as 8th graders after placing 6th as 4th graders. Our Hispanics placed 11th after placing 35th as fourth graders. Our white students placed 6th after placing 20th as fourth graders. We did pretty well in reading too.

Probably the best indication of our school system was done by Hingus at the Urban Institute. His analysis placed Arizona 13th in the nation.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by on 07/21/2017 at 8:25 PM

Re: “Trumpcare Is Dead

Waiting lines happen because coverage is too available. Many people go to doctors and emergency rooms at the sign of a cold. Facilities must staff for that and then the problems multiply. Deductible keep people from over using benefits. Once again the problem starts because of fraud, waste, and abuse.

Just take a close look at what Medicare Part A covers. That is the government plan that they say you need. They didn't get mobility scooters on Part A.

3 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Stick To My Stomach on 07/21/2017 at 3:07 PM

Re: “Homeless Program Working

To start the program Eliza and the other donations to fund in the following years plus the Tucson Change Movement. Which had been previously reported. Like I said bashing from the left and the right.

8 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Dan Huff Is Missed on 07/21/2017 at 12:15 PM

Re: “Trumpcare Is Dead

And if every single american did what it took for them to afford health insurance in this country, like republicans keep suggesting they do, would there be no waiting list?

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Palisades on 07/21/2017 at 11:17 AM

Re: “Homeless Program Working

I read it Dan.

"The program initiated with $25,000 each from the City of Tucson and Pima County"

There was a day when that was called government funding.

2 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Eliza D on 07/21/2017 at 11:06 AM

Re: “Trumpcare Is Dead

And yet they have to come to the US for care.

"Contrary to popular belief among Americans, health care is not entirely free for Canadians. Dental, ambulance and many other services as well as prescription medications must be paid for out of pocket or they're covered through a combination of public programs and private health insurance. About two-thirds of Canadians have such insurance."

"In a public health system, you have to balance the high desire to get quality-of-life treatment as soon as possible with the need to deliver universal health care in an equitable manner." If the priority is universal health care, Meyer says, there is a risk of wait times.

4 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Stick To My Stomach on 07/21/2017 at 10:51 AM

Re: “Homeless Program Working

It is interesting how an effort, which has been in existence for only six months it getting bashed by both left and right.

The Tucson Homeless Work Program's purpose is to give those who are homeless, the opportunity to get housing, medical help, job training through Sullivan Jackson and other programs that offer this. The point of the program is to connect those who are homeless and want assistance to these programs and services. The two people with the program, work with those taking part to see what services they need and direct them to those providers.

The article and report stated that 20 people are going through Sullivan Jackson for job training.

The Tucson Homeless Work Program is a first step.

The Tucson Homeless Work Program is not a government program, so it will need the support of businesses and the community, which will now have the Tucson Change Movement, with the parking meters and online website,, that people can make a contribution.

Cenpatico, El Rio Health, Assurance, Catholic Community Services and Old Pueblo Community Services, and St. Anthony's Presbyterian Church are covering their costs for this program. It is a collaboration.

Nobody is being taken advantage of. This gives an opportunity for those who are homeless to work, get some money in their pocket and get the help that they need, if they choose so.

This has been in the news prior to this article and yet these comments.

Getting the homeless housing and services is the point of this program. Too bad it has been missed by the commentors so far who allegedly read this article.

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Dan Huff Is Missed on 07/21/2017 at 10:45 AM

Re: “Homeless Program Working

Does this program provide an opportunity to get job training that would eventually lead to a real job with one of the sponsoring businesses or entities? HSL Properties, the COT, Pima County, Cox, Wal-Mart, etc have an obligation to do more than this if they really want to have a positive impact on the homeless problem in our community. Without job training and a road map to get these people out of shelters this is just a band aid at best and enabling at worst. This might be a good first step but it's going to leaps and bounds for us to get out the mud, so what is the next step? Is there a plan?

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by HumanBean on 07/21/2017 at 10:13 AM

Re: “Trumpcare Is Dead

I'm from Canada - and while there's very little difference between our countries, the fact that we spend half as much as you guys do on health care (and get the same, if not better, outcomes) makes Canada, to put it bluntly, a better place to live. This isn't a liberal thing either - in Canada, every single seat-holding party in both the provinces (our equivalent of states) and federally support single payer health care, including the Conservative Party of Canada.

Why were we able to do this, and not the US? Because a brave baptist minister named Tommy Douglas (recently voted the greatest Canadian who ever lived by a nationwide popular vote) stood up to the government, insurance companies, doctors themselves and the AMA (yes, your American Medical Association tried to stop us) and forced the federal government's hand.

That's how you get real health care - by abandoning your loyalty to one of two political parties, and pledging your loyalty to your fellow citizens - even those who oppose you.

14 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Ryan Campbell on 07/21/2017 at 9:47 AM

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