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Re: “Danehy

Ooooh, pumpkin, what a naughty idea. Let's do it in the Arena.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Wink, wink on 04/29/2017 at 11:56 AM

Re: “Editor’s Note

Yes. You are picking cherries on a forklift. It may be true that urban districts suffer the consequences of too many low SES students, with all accompanying problems, but to lump all school districts across the country as a national disgrace is still unfair. Mismanagement comes with unwieldy size and unfortunate politics. Locally, you can look at Vail and Benson to find good management of resources, high teacher morale and solid performance as measured with both student success and test scores. Yet, the immediate referring to TUSD over and over as an immediately realistic paradigm for all may be a mantra here, but it is nevertheless still a shallow, knee jerk shibboleth. Vouchers will satisfy a tea-party level political position (and may even secretly line your own pockets with public money), but vouchers will not elevate the opportunities of most kids, they will not improve a huge majority of schools that will continue to (try to) function, and they will in no way ensure a prosperous future for the nation as a whole.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by False Equivalence - Too Easy on 04/29/2017 at 6:30 AM

Re: “Editor’s Note

No, TUSD is not unique. There are other public school districts locally and nationally that have some of the same problems:

Sunnyside
http://tucson.com/news/opinion/column/gassen/sarah-garrecht-gassen-getting-paid-to-go-away-sunnyside-style/article_f935df59-f1ce-5d54-907a-c1668cc318d0.html

Newark
https://www.amazon.com/Prize-Whos-Charge-Americas-Schools/dp/0547840055/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1493405853&sr=8-2&keywords=the+prize

It remains to be seen how well Amphi will do with Jaeger at the helm, but many who know TUSD did not find the fact that he and another TUSD veteran (Abel Morado) were finalists for the same superintendent job at Amphi confidence inspiring:

http://tucson.com/news/local/education/two-tucson-unified-school-district-administrators-finalists-to-be-amphitheater/article_98318d99-f7ea-512f-86c5-04d3df85d86e.html
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/amphi-picks-todd-jaeger-tusd-s-general-counsel-to-lead/article_13cc5500-01c3-5a36-a67b-6426ae830f5f.html

There are some high functioning public school districts. Flowing Wells is often mentioned as one. No one doubts that public districts can, in some circumstances, provide good services. But not all of them do, and reforming troubled school districts is not something anyone locally or nationally has found a good way to do. Interventions of various kinds are attempted, and these institutions tend to limp along, many times getting worse rather than better under state control or mayoral oversight.

Applying tax dollars in support of students' enrollment in private schools would seem to many of us to be a much better investment in the future of the students in question and in the future of the communities where these students will work and live than applying those same tax dollars in more than one of our local public school districts. Why should the state subsidize the cost of students attending troubled, low functioning schools that don't meet their academic needs, but not high functioning schools where students' needs will be better met? That's a question voucher opponents should take time to answer, honestly considering the state of some of the schools in the public district system. I've yet to see a voucher opponent successfully doing it.

Care to give it a try, "False Equivalence, Again"?

2 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by TUSD is not unique. Vouchers solve real problems. on 04/28/2017 at 12:01 PM

Re: “Streets of This Town: Skeleton Crew

Brian, I have been following this photo series and have often wondered why you don't report some of the big messes to Code Enforcement. Many of our Tucson Neighborhoods and residents have been negatively impacted by illegal dumping and other conditions that diminish quality of life.
To file a complaint phone 791-5843 or go online to https://www.tucsonaz.gov/es/code-enforceme. Environmental Services has information on Brush and Bulky at 791-3171 or online at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/es/brush-and-bulk and a great deal for anytime pick up of $55.00 for 10 cubic yards. This is a great deal for residents and landlords who have no way to haul the junk away.
Mayor and Council implemented the Arizona Dept. of Correction, Illegal Dumping program in late November 2016. To date 1239 illegal dumping cases have been reported and 1229 have been abated and closed. It's sad that we are called "Trashy Tucson"!

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by kyarter on 04/28/2017 at 10:27 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

I've enjoyed the Weekly during your tenure, Mari, and I'll be sorry to see you go. The YWCA is doing great things and I'm positive you'll be a strong force for good with that organization. Buenos suertes!

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Wizard on 04/28/2017 at 9:52 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

Best wishes - the YWCA is lucky to get you!

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by SonoranWinds on 04/28/2017 at 9:52 AM

Re: “Once Again, It's Time to Deconstruct the U.S. News "Best High Schools" Rankings

David Safier is a retired professional educator who has a great deal of direct experience with what does and does not help students prepare to succeed in college. His analysis of what factors do and do not affect placement in the USNWR rankings is helpful and a necessary corrective to poor coverage of these rankings which occurred elsewhere in the media. I wish David Safier (and other education policy analysts locally) would take more interest in educating the public about to what degree AP cram schools should properly be considered "college preparatory" programs, but, disappointingly, that is not a topic he has chosen to address, though I believe he would be well prepared to address it if he chose to do so.

The previous commenter states, "I sincerely doubt that either UHS or Basis would put a top rating from USNWR over more tangible measures like college readiness, acceptance, matriculation and graduation."

From what I saw of UHS as a parent, UHS has no measure of college readiness other than AP scores. They do not plan their curricula based on the faculty's judgment about how to develop students' ability to read complex texts, write essays or research papers, conduct independent research, or identify a strong area of interest which they wish to pursue in college or professionally. They planned their curricula exclusively based on maximizing students' scores on AP exams which measure your ability to cram and memorize content more than they measure the kinds of abilities students will actually need in college and in most professions that involve the exercise of independent thought and judgment.

At the time that I had a student enrolled in UHS, the institution was not and had not been at any point during its history keeping longitudinal data on its alumni. There was no one connected with UHS or TUSD who could provide comprehensive, systematic data about the matriculation, graduation, or professional success of its graduates. During the time that I attended Parents' Association and Site Council meetings, there was a LOT of attention paid to USNWR rankings and much celebration every time they went up. There were policy changes made by the Site Council that were distinctly aligned with keeping up with Basis in the USNWR rankings, including ensuring that seniors registered for a full course load which, given the course offerings available, would include many AP courses. There were attempts to use undesignated tax credit funds that were originally intended to support extracurriculars and fine arts to pay for AP exam fees for families that did not qualify for free and reduced lunch (no doubt the move in this direction was intended to increase the number of students taking the AP exams that affect the rankings). There was absolutely no systematic communication with alumni or the colleges they attended which could support meaningful reflection taking place on whether an AP-intensive curriculum actually enabled students to succeed in college. There are many UHS students who get significant support and guidance from their families that supplement the deficiencies in what the institution provides, and many UHS students who pay private college counselors to help them in ways that UHS is not prepared to do. Many of these students will do very well. But there are also UHS grads who struggle to figure out how to do what top-tier liberal arts colleges are asking them to do in the way of research and writing, UHS grads who leave UHS with no sense of direction about what they want to study in college or do in life and end up interrupting their college enrollment and taking leaves of absence from college to try to figure out, and UHS grads who change their intended professional course because their coursework at UHS has not prepared them for what college level work in that discipline will require of them.

The League of Women Voters observed UHS Site Council for a number of months in 2016 and their observation report is available here:
http://www.lwvgt.org/files/ObsCorps09.2016_Observer_Corps_Report_-_UHS.pdf

Public governing bodies like school site councils are required to follow Arizona's Open Meeting Law, which requires that records of meetings be publicly accessible. For any one who is interested in basing their opinions about what UHS is and is not on reality rather than speculation, the policy changes made by UHS Site Council and some record of discussions of the rationale behind them can be reviewed by reading minutes on the UHS Site Council website:
2012-2013: http://uhssitecouncil.weebly.com/2012-2013.html
2013-2014: http://uhssitecouncil.weebly.com/2013-2014.html
2014-2015: http://uhssitecouncil.weebly.com/2014-2015.html
2015-2016: http://uhssitecouncil.weebly.com/2015-2016.html
2016-2017: http://uhssitecouncil.weebly.com/2016-2017.html

4 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Are AP cram schools genuine college preparatory programs? on 04/28/2017 at 9:44 AM

Re: “Danehy

Wink Wink. You wouldn't an idea if it bit you on the ass.

0 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 04/28/2017 at 8:08 AM

Re: “Danehy

Include me in. We'll make it a threesome!

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by CW15 on 04/28/2017 at 7:39 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

Alisha J:

Take your meds before making stupid online commentary.

10 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Rat T strikes again under yet another alias. on 04/28/2017 at 7:28 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

Maria,

Wow, we have known each other for almost 9 years this coming fall when you covered students leaders at the UoA that published in the fall of 2008. Indeed so much has happened in between from going forward as a country to the current situation we are in America....I am happy to see you taking a big step to fight for all of us so our government can work for us instead against us especially when it comes to immigration issues. We are a nation of immigrants and those of us that came as late immigrants do contribute for the success of this nation every single day although we are less appreciated these days:(

Thank You!

Zeke Gebrekidane

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Zeke Gebrekidane on 04/28/2017 at 7:19 AM

Re: “Danehy

Oh, Mr. 14 honey. How sweet. Maybe you and Mr. 13 can do it all the time in the Arena of Ideas!

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Wink, wink on 04/28/2017 at 3:57 AM

Re: “Sonic Mission

Beautifully written article! And thank you, Rhiannon, for your brilliant contributions to the American musical landscape

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Audrey on 04/27/2017 at 10:15 PM

Re: “Hell Yes!

I am thrilled to see all of these comments for a vote NO. Only a total group of incompetents can write a $1.4 billion budget & turn to our policemen & paramedics and say "no money for your overheating ambulances, no money for your bulletproof vests". n7iqv is SPOT ON about the tree planters - utterly careless use of taxpayer money & now drivers can't see oncoming traffic when moving in to the center turn lane. I'm hoping to soon get commentary in the Daily Star about how inept our current sales tax system is. NO TO PROP 101!

12 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Dan Simon on 04/27/2017 at 9:51 PM

Re: “Editor's Note

I have learned much from knowing you and working with you and being your friend. I look forward to supporting you in your work for the YWCA, too! It's a cause after my own heart.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Linda Ray 64 on 04/27/2017 at 9:19 PM

Re: “Once Again, It's Time to Deconstruct the U.S. News "Best High Schools" Rankings

Safir is an idiot and a political gadfly with allegiance solely to Grijalva and Foster.

He knows nothing about what it takes to develop, teach and support successful students.

Both UHS and Basis clearly state that they are rigourous college preparatory high schools. This means that students who chose to go there are planning to go on to a 4-year college upon graduation.

The fact that they have an AP-focused curriculum seems entirely consistent with their stated mission.

More telling is the fact that these schools consistently have the highest AP and SAT scores in the entire state.

In UHS' case, an even important measure is that UHS alums generally have the highest cumulative GPA of all high school graduates entering the UofA.

Safir seems to think that they have something to apologize for.

With respect to USNWR high school rankings, they may provide bragging rights, but they are meaningless and most serious college admissions officers give them absolutely no weight.

As a former Yale University dean of admissions once observed regarding these rankings "U.S. News and World Report, a magazine that has actually gone defunct and exists now only as a purveyor of rankings to exert undue influence."

Better to look further at UHS' and Basis' graduation rates, colleges that graduates are accepted to, whether their students are prepared for college when they arrive, and what the 4-year graduation rate is for those incoming freshman.

I sincerely doubt that either UHS or Basis would put a top rating from USNWR over more tangible measures like college readiness, acceptance, matriculation and graduation.

1 like, 8 dislikes
Posted by TucsonMom on 04/27/2017 at 9:16 PM

Re: “Editor’s Note

TUSD is really rather unique. It is not representative of any other school district in the state. It should not be held up to define and defeat the morale and the professionalism of hardworking people in all the other school districts in the state.

5 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by False Equivalence, Again on 04/27/2017 at 5:57 PM

Re: “Policy and Politics

I used to live in Nogales, and worked there for many years after that. When I saw Sessions on the border he looked so out of place - like a fish out of water. To quote another one of his kind, "Who knew it would be so complicated?"

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Constant Voter on 04/27/2017 at 5:43 PM

Re: “Editor's Note

You did a tough job real well. You have been an expression of much of what's good about our community. Thanks

6 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Polis on 04/27/2017 at 5:22 PM

Re: “Editor's Note

How exciting! I'm very happy for you and wish all the best in your new endeavor.

6 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Rita Connelly on 04/27/2017 at 2:30 PM

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