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Re: “Favoring the 8 Percent, Ignoring the 92 Percent

I wrote recently in response to another one of your comments, Betts, that vouchers were "lifeboat" policy. They are not meant to save the sinking ships, i.e. TUSD and other districts like it that serve low SES populations. They are meant to get people off of them. It's a damage control method-of-last resort policy solution, but is there another viable policy solution to the problems of districts like TUSD in this state? If so, I don't see it. If the Republicans under-fund, under-regulate, and fail to effectively oversee public institutions of education and the Democrats buy into shoddy funding mechanisms like Prop 123 and promote governance candidates who applaud public education administrators for mismanaging the schools and misapplying the sadly limited funds available (or voluntarily giving them back to taxpayers or wasting them on inflated legal fees), students do need to get out. You yourself have, year after year admirably identified problems, courageously spoken about them publicly, and run for the TUSD Board three times. Nothing has changed. The normal mechanisms of democratic control are not working the way they should in this district. People who know effective public education systems in other states would tell you that so many of the variables that keep these systems functioning well are missing in a situation like TUSD's, I doubt they would recommend that students whose needs are not being met remain in the district's classrooms.

You wrote a good comment recently on TUSD's tendency to "solve" the problem of malfunctioning principals by giving them central admin jobs with high salaries. You asked if this is how the district ends up with central administrators who don't have kids' best interests at heart. The answer is yes, it is ONE of the ways. But there are others, and I'm sure you know a few of them. While advocates like you identify and try to chip away without notable success at the many ways that dysfunction and incompetence perpetuate themselves decade after decade, should kids who could exit using vouchers remain in place in malfunctioning schools because, in theory, public schools are a good idea and in other states with more responsible politicians on both sides of the aisle, public schools are able to meet students' needs?

There are high functioning Catholic and Independent schools in Southern Arizona where seats go unfilled because people can't afford to pay for them. You state without citing evidence that charters and privates are no better than publics. Of the studies that I've read that purport to show that, none of them have methodologies that could not easily be picked apart. Some are trying to get at the truth, others have been thrown together to support a particular political agenda that is tied to political machines connected with one of our two major parties. Meanwhile, I have seen with my own eyes schools that unquestionably ARE better than the schools I've seen in TUSD, schools with excellent methods and highly qualified teachers in every classroom where spaces are available and could be filled if more need-based scholarships were funded. It's the Democratic Party that is shrieking about how horrible it is that legislation has just been passed that will enable a few more students to fill those seats and exit a public system where the Party has flatly refused to ask for sound management. So yes, it's the Democratic Party that needs to explain why it would be better to keep students locked into the malfunctioning system they continue to insist is the best system in which to educate all children under a certain income level. (The plutocrats, of course, will continue to do as they wish, and neither major party would dare to suggest otherwise when both D and R campaign funding depends on their largesse.)

Sorry. Some of us don't see small movements in the right direction for some students as something that should be decried as a disaster. Keep me posted on how you're doing with solving all the problems both Rs and Ds have created in the public education system in this state. In the absence of significant system-wide improvement, I find I'm not in a place where damage control and lifeboats look like something we should be trying to block.

6 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by Lifeboats are not ideal, but the ship is sinking. on 04/17/2017 at 10:01 AM

Re: “Favoring the 8 Percent, Ignoring the 92 Percent

That has nothing to do with their reason for existing. They fight political fraud and waste. Most of which has been brought to the public schools by greedy politicians.

3 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by Concerned Mom on 04/17/2017 at 9:16 AM

Re: “Favoring the 8 Percent, Ignoring the 92 Percent

Wow the comments on this thread are amazing for taking on straw dogs of their own creation. It isn't any political party's responsibility to show anything about public education: the Dems who mismanage are no better or worse than the Republicans that run the state and so drastically underfund our public schools--80% of the school-going population--and then continually find ways to cut up the ever-shrinking pie so that its funds can be shunted to charters. Yeah, charters and private schools that supposedly will now be able to help the lower SES population--except that they don't. Charters do not show up as any better than public schools in academic terms, and private schools don't either--and the famed vouchers have been shown to only help those who can almost pay for the school year themselves--hardly the poorest of the poor that commenters seem to keep advocating for.

To the extent that our public education system has become a political football, our kids have suffered. In fact, let us not forget that the Dems and the Republicans together voted for Prop 123, that will guarantee that there are less public school monies long into the future. And apparently in the meantime, even that small amount that is supposed to go to help the 80% will be diverted. If we looked at this in another country we would be able to see it as effectively offering less and less to more and more students. Instead we make up benefits to "choice" that fit neatly into the pocket of ALEC and the Goldwater Institute and in general do little to benefit who those groups promise will be benefitted. I mean honestly, when was the last time those two organizations championed ANYthing for the poor?

18 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 04/17/2017 at 8:05 AM

Re: “Favoring the 8 Percent, Ignoring the 92 Percent

Now, close to 100% of our schools are open to the public. Unlike other states, and the situation you want, where every school is closed to 99% of the public.

We are getting very close to a public school system instead of a district system.

The district system was designed with the specific intent of excluding Catholics and minorities. It is a bigoted and racist institution. It is an abomination of language to call it "public."

5 likes, 20 dislikes
Posted by on 04/16/2017 at 5:50 PM

Re: “Noise Annoys

Any chance you'll ever have something new/current here??

Posted by A reader on 04/16/2017 at 3:43 PM

Re: “Zona Politics: The Latest From Capitol Hill in the Age of Trump From Reps. Grijalva & O'Halleran

How would you know anything about liberals or Christians?

You're neither one.

21 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by What, Again is a true racist, not a true Christian. on 04/16/2017 at 12:17 PM

Re: “Zona Politics: The Latest From Capitol Hill in the Age of Trump From Reps. Grijalva & O'Halleran

Ha ha ha! If What, Again saw Christ in the desert he'd call ICE on him.

21 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Peabo on 04/16/2017 at 12:07 PM

Re: “Zona Politics: The Latest From Capitol Hill in the Age of Trump From Reps. Grijalva & O'Halleran

Well I knew it couldn't be a church because there's nothing that Tucson liberals hate more than Christians.

Happy Easter! Christ has risen.

3 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by What, Again on 04/16/2017 at 11:10 AM

Re: “Zona Politics: The Latest From Capitol Hill in the Age of Trump From Reps. Grijalva & O'Halleran

Actually it's a movie theater on East Speedway. Of course, I wouldn't expect a Russian troll to know that.

21 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by JoelFriday on 04/16/2017 at 10:43 AM

Re: “Zona Politics: The Latest From Capitol Hill in the Age of Trump From Reps. Grijalva & O'Halleran

Is that the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx in the background?

3 likes, 28 dislikes
Posted by What, Again on 04/16/2017 at 8:35 AM

Re: “The Irish Orphan Abduction

Thank you for this. Our world has changed little yet some for the better.

Posted by F Ed Knutson on 04/15/2017 at 9:37 PM

Re: “The Joy, the Suffering, the Poetry

To Mari Herreras ... s/he? WTF is that? I hate when reporters don't understand our pronouns. I guess TC didn't mind, but damn. Sure hope that crap doesn't start another misinformed, ignorant trend in this country. You call me a s/he, and you'd be met with my baseball bat instead of an interview! LOL

1 like, 22 dislikes
Posted by TransMAN on 04/15/2017 at 9:14 PM

Re: “Favoring the 8 Percent, Ignoring the 92 Percent

Why would the public district system disappear? Keep in mind that in addition to troubled districts that may see an increase in exits now that ESA policy has been increased, there are many high functioning, well-managed districts where the majority of parents are satisfied with the services they receive. It will still be the easiest, most convenient, least expensive thing to do to use your local public district school if that school is meeting your child's needs. If that school is NOT meeting your child's needs, the ESA bill enacted makes it less cost prohibitive to transfer to a private, but the amount of the ESA won't fully cover tuition in any reputable private, and in addition to a portion of tuition, parents still have to be willing to bear the expense and trouble of transportation. It would seem possible that the distribution between public district schools and privates might change slightly as the result of this bill, but not much. The public system will not disappear. The most likely effect of the legislation on the public system would seem to be that it will further decrease enrollment in low functioning districts.

It falls to the Democratic Party to explain how being locked into low functioning schools that are not meeting their academic needs benefits the students who want to leave -- not how it benefits the political machines connected with low functioning districts, and not how it benefits the students who may be left behind in those districts. It's the district's role to figure out how to meet the academic needs of the students enrolled in it. It's not students' roles to persist in a school that is not meeting their academic needs in order to make the teachers' and administrators' jobs easier by reducing the concentrations of students who struggle academically or behaviorally. Parents have to choose a school that enables their child to learn at a reasonable rate and that provides a safe, supportive environment. Those who think that every public district school is capable of doing that for every child within its catchment area are simply not living in the real world, looking at real conditions in the schools. Nor are they being realistic (or just) when they propose to say, "Sure, you can transfer out of this school that is not meeting your needs, but if you do so you lose the right to have the tax dollars the state has available for you applied in support of your education."

11 likes, 26 dislikes
Posted by Free public ed will not disappear. on 04/15/2017 at 6:18 PM

Re: “West African Flavor

We went and the food was as excellent as you described. I'm telling others to head over there- and don't forget to order that amazing ginger drink.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ninabi on 04/15/2017 at 5:09 PM

Re: “Danehy

Tom, instead getting all vexed by Pancho Villa the next time you're in Las Cruces, you should take a short trip down the road from Mesilla to La Mesa and have some of the best New Mexican food at the Chope's Bar & Restaurant! Also La Posta in Mesilla.

Las Cruces is OK to visit, but I wouldn't think of a trip there without eating some real New Mexican food!

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by JCC on 04/15/2017 at 5:08 PM

Re: “Favoring the 8 Percent, Ignoring the 92 Percent

Follow the dots - A) All parents get vouchers for their kids' education. B) They spend them at the public school of their choice C) Vouchers don't increase D) School operating costs increase E) public schools are forced to ask parents to make up the difference F) School vouchers decrease - in real terms if not nominal terms G) Parents are asked to make up more of the difference H) Parents can't afford to send their kids to public education; so they don't I) Free public education for all is gone, and kids are not educated unless their parents are well-off.

Vouchers for all looks fair on the surface but is always going to favor those who are economically well-off at the expense of the middle class and the poor as well as our businesses who need educated workers.

21 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Marian Hill on 04/15/2017 at 4:40 PM

Re: “RIP, Author and Activist Kathryn Ferguson

My dear, dear friend, Kathryn, I can't believe you are gone! You gave so much of yourself to so many! The day you walked into my classroom to introduce yourself as my new substitute, I knew we would ALWAYS BE GREAT FRIENDS! My heart is so broken, as are all of her family-her loving, caring husband and beautiful spirited sister as well as her many friends! She was a true hero to so many, her devotion to our friends walking the desert was shear love of humanity itself! Oh my dearest Kathryn whatever are we going to do without you?!? YOu will forever be our Bass Ass Warrior Woman! Protect all our immigrants in the desert !!!!

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rolande D. Baker on 04/15/2017 at 3:23 PM

Re: “Favoring the 8 Percent, Ignoring the 92 Percent

How about someone who opposes ESAs answers the question, "Why is it bad if a diverse range of Independent Schools are strengthened and if kids coming from a wider range of socioeconomic backgrounds have access to them?"

That might bring us around to the real motive for opposing ESAs: though "Democrats" have no objection to the plutocracy buying itself any form of education it desires, they want the middle class locked into public district schools to keep them "functional" and to ensure that all students whose income is under a certain level (not ALL students, regardless of income level) are offered exactly the same kind of educational services. They don't give a damn whether public schools meet the full range of learning needs within that cohort, or whether, as ARS 15-779 tries to require, students who come into public district schools with above-average academic ability are afforded the opportunity to make "otherwise attainable progress" in their classrooms. It's all about raising the bottom SES range's educational attainment somewhat and the middle's participation is needed to ensure that can be done. Increasingly, unfortunately, what this "noble" social experiment seems to be deteriorating into is locking both the bottom and the middle portion of the SES range in this country into classrooms where massive low quality curricula adoptions that profit corporations force these students to grind away at rote memorization and regurgitation of canned content on multiple choice tests. Meanwhile, the "Democratic" party lets the high SES range entirely off the hook. They can buy themselves any kind of education they want, and no Democrat will take issue with their right to do so. The plutocrat Democratic Party campaign funders are certainly not compelled to participate in the great "EQUITY" (?!) experiment the Party is trying to run in this country's tax funded "educational" institutions.

Sadly, this is the doublespeak-hypocrisy otherwise known as Democratic "education" policy. Any "Democrat" who peddles this shoddy merchandise, which has little or nothing to do with excellence in education or any legitimate, meaningful form of "equity," should be forced to disclose whether at any point, their own children have been enrolled in private educational institutions. If so, they have no right to pitch policies to the public that decrease rather than increase the percent of our population that can access educational institutions that offer alternatives to what is served up as "education" in too many public district schools.

(And by the way, reputable private schools are non-profit. And their teachers and administrators have lower salaries than public administrators do. So let's get rid of the idea that they're all being run by greedy capitalists trying to make a profit on public funds. That is a mischaracterization of the private sector meant to fuel ill-informed support of a particular political agenda which includes keeping the maximum # of students, with their per-pupil funding, locked into a public system that benefits political machines but in too many cases cannot meet the full range of academic needs of the students it enrolls.)

11 likes, 27 dislikes
Posted by Let's translate the doublespeak, shall we? on 04/15/2017 at 3:09 PM

Re: “Dust Devil

I loved dust devils, as a kid growing up I remember running to be inside of every dust devil that we saw. Trying to stay inside as long as possible. The one who came out with the most dust on our faces/eyelashes and eyebrows was declared the winner.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by P Kelley Ament on 04/15/2017 at 1:56 PM

Re: “Danehy

Mary. What we have here is a typical example of your basic compassionate, civil liberal. You can bet that tomorrow Pulitzer Tammy will be in the front row at Mass so everyone can see him. Then when ever he has to write his next column he'll be back calling anybody he disagrees with stupid, moronic, etc. A little advice to Tammy's family. After his remark that he made about Sen. Tovis getting into an accident, I might avoid getting in a car with him. Karma and all.
As far as me being a loser goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
P.S. For what it's worth, I agree 100% with Tammy about the whole driving while on a cell phone thing. Before I had to give up the Harley because of health reasons, every close call I ever had was with some asshole either texting or on their phone.

3 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 04/15/2017 at 1:36 PM

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