Cathy Sproul 
Member since Nov 14, 2013


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Re: “The Strike Is On: Arizona Teachers Prepared for Walkout Next Week

Even if a merit-based pay system worked (it doesn't in the field of education, as it measures little more than zip code), the system is reliant on having a long line of qualified applicants ready to fill the positions of the "underperforming" teachers. But thousands of teaching positions statewide currently sit vacant. That's how horrible the pay and working conditions are. Consequently, there is no leverage to even implement such a system.

These days there seems to be a lot of talk about "running the government like a business." Well, when you have a business, and you need to fill thousands of positions, and you aren't attracting qualified applicants to those positions (in many cases because you aren't even offering a living wage), then you raise the salary and improve the working conditions until the positions are filled. Apparently the Arizona state government needed a little help in understanding this simple concept of supply and demand. Hence, the strike. #redfored

10 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Cathy Sproul on 04/24/2018 at 9:59 AM

Re: “Diane Douglas: Tucson Gets to Keep Its Certification Office

Safier wrote, "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."

Agreed. Still waiting for her "maniacal" personality (I've been assured by many it exists) to rear its ugly head. But so far, based on the evidence, she's fought nobly for what public education in Arizona most needs: increased funding for public education, increased teacher pay, de-emphasis on standardization/high stakes testing, understanding of the diversity of Arizona communities, etc.

8 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Cathy Sproul on 12/28/2015 at 11:42 AM

Re: “The Tucson Weekly 2015 Endorsements Redux

Where is the evidence that the red light camera program has been a success? While accidents may have dropped by 70% (TPD was completely nontransparent with their methodology in crunching those numbers), the number of red light running citations issued at those intersections most certainly has NOT dropped 70%, which prompts this question: could the 70% drop be due to other factors?

The answer is yes, according this study:…

(For those thinking, "The cameras save lives!", page 30 is worth the read.)

Time to pull the plug on intentionally bad traffic engineering and an overall corruptly-run program. Yes on 201.

16 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Cathy Sproul on 10/29/2015 at 4:32 AM

Re: “The Tucson Weekly 2015 Endorsements

"Keep the cameras and fix the corruption." But the "corruption" is the foundation on which the camera program is built. The "corruption" is responsible for 50-80% of the revenue. We've already tried to fix the "corruption" multiple times--through legislation to lengthen yellows, through appeals to the Federal Highway Administration over the intersection definition, by pointing out how paying a private contractor a commission is not in compliance with FWHA guidelines for running an ethical program, etc. All those attempts fell on deaf ears. If you think that TPD and ATS are willing to "fix the corruption" and kiss all that revenue goodbye, then you're living in a dream world. The "corruption" isn't going away until the cameras do.

Another thing: TW claims that the cameras save lives, but that's pure speculation. Where is the data to support that? Sure, accidents have gone down at RLC intersections, but they have gone down at most intersections nationally. If you wish to correlate the RLC program with a decrease in accidents, I would expect to see data showing that THE NUMBER OF RED-LIGHT RUNNERS has gone down proportionately at those intersections. TPD alleges a 70% drop in accidents at those intersections, so have the number of "red-light runners" also dropped 70%? Heavens, no! The ultimate goal of RLCs is to generate as many "red light runners" as possible through deceptive (and unsafe!) traffic engineering practices while making tenuous-at-best connections between the cameras and accident reduction, and making shamelessly unsubstantiated claims that the program "saves lives."

We all want safer intersections, and there are many ways to do that through sensible traffic engineering measures. You can check out many of them here (along with all the countermeasures Tucson completely ignored prior to setting up its RLC program):… Given the gross oversight of many of these countermeasures (Slides 5, 27, and 36 come to mind), it's abundantly clear that the program isn't about safety at all. It's purely about revenue. Think of it this way: how many MORE lives would be saved if we weren't ignoring sensible traffic engineering practices for the sake of revenue?

Yes on 201.

12 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Cathy Sproul on 10/16/2015 at 12:05 PM

Re: “The Tucson Weekly 2015 Endorsements

Anyone remotely aware of just how corrupt the traffic engineering is at red light camera intersections--and how safer and fairer (but revenue-dropping) traffic engineering changes have been, shamelessly and repeatedly, squelched--would vote Yes on 201. Both Tucson Police Department and American Traffic Solutions have demonstrated again and again they have ZERO interest in running an ethical photo enforcement program. YES on 201!

15 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by Cathy Sproul on 10/15/2015 at 3:24 PM

Re: “Diane Douglas: I Want $400M Invested in Our Teachers Immediately

“'As I traveled the state during the campaign, and then for several months on my 'We Are Listening' tour, the number one concern I heard was the lack of funding and support for teachers,'” Douglas said in a media statement.

What, Again said: "Did she happen to talk to any parents?"

Of course she talked to parents.

But more importantly, she listened to them. Dozens of them--from the Tucson area alone--at the "We Are Listening" tour at PCC last May (and again in Oro Valley a couple weeks later). She also listened to teachers, administrators, and other education proponents. (I'm guessing you weren't there, or you'd already know this.)

As for teacher salary, Tucson is shameful. Consider: some 22 years ago, I completed my student teaching at a small, rural school (think: low cost of living) in west Michigan. My supervising teacher had 20 years of experience, a Master's degree, and was highly qualified to teach secondary English--almost identical to my own qualifications (I'm also HQ in secondary mathematics).

And my supervising teacher--back in 1993--made 16K/year more than I make right now teaching full-time at one of Tucson's "higher paid" schools. So, yeah, in my opinion, Diane Douglas is right on the money.

21 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Cathy Sproul on 09/12/2015 at 9:41 AM

Re: “An Update On High Stakes Test Cheating Stories

David Safier wrote: "Scores are down from the AIMS test. And we know why: because the bar was intentionally set higher."

Maybe higher. Or maybe lower but more convoluted? Who could tell? After all, the gatekeepers of the instructional classroom (read: teachers ) aren't contractually allowed to look at the assessment. Both teacher and student are judged by it but neither can report back to parents about its contents. Crazy. The question is: why? Why aren't parents opting their kids out of these unproven but yet data-grabbing tests?

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Cathy Sproul on 08/22/2015 at 4:29 PM

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