Diane Douglas: Tucson Gets to Keep Its Certification Office

Here's another logic-based decision from Superintendent Diane Douglas' Department of Education. Tucson will keep its teacher Certification office which, according to a media release, was scheduled to be shut down.
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) will maintain its Certification office in Tucson so that it can continue to serve current and future educators in southern Arizona. Prior to the Superintendent’s arrival at ADE in January, the office was scheduled to be permanently closed at the end of this year.

“My goal as Superintendent is to increase the support our Department is providing to educators in all parts of our state, so it made no sense to me that we would stop providing critical certification services to educators in southern Arizona communities,” said Superintendent Douglas. “Our more rural areas already have unique challenges, so doing something to help simplify the educator certification process for them was an easy decision.”

The move comes as part of Superintendent Douglas’ proposal to provide enhanced services to rural communities, which was outlined in her AZ Kids Can’t Afford to Wait! Plan.
The message here is, the war waged by the Department of Education against TUSD in particular and the Tucson area in general is over, or at the very least, a cease fire order is in place. The rest of the state government may still hate "liberal Tucson," and the last two superintendents, Horne and Huppenthal, may have used their antipathy toward TUSD to further their careers (both of their careers have gone down in flames, I'm happy to say), but Douglas is doing what she can to create a level playing field across the state.

I'm poised and ready to slam Douglas when she makes policy decisions that I think are bad for Arizona's school children. Given the ideological divide separating us, I'm sure that time will come. But to this point, I continue to see her as someone who is using whatever power she has—which isn't much, since the legislature and the State Board of Education control educational policy and the budget, not the superintendent—to advocate for schools, teachers and students as best she can.