David Safier 
Member since Apr 11, 2011


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Re: “The Dangers of Forming Political Coalitions While Black: North Carolina, 1898

E. Wright, I want to make sure you know Reverend Barber spoke at the Democratic convention to a standing ovation, and was the head of the North Carolina NAACP, which tends to be more supported by Democrats than Republicans. And his Moral Mondays were a protest against the Republican takeover of the state legislature and their priorities which hurt the poor.

So I think Rev. Barber would disagree with you.

31 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 05/16/2018 at 11:59 AM

Re: “The Dangers of Forming Political Coalitions While Black: North Carolina, 1898

E. Wright, you need to bring your history a bit more up to date. I suggest you look up Dixiecrat and "Southern Strategy."

36 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 05/15/2018 at 4:59 PM

Re: “The Games BASIS Plays

Congrats on your digging to find me criticizing BASIS. If the best you can find among the dozens of posts I've written over a number of years is a criticism of the AP format because it over-determines the curriculum a teacher must use, and paints the use of the courses at UHS in a similar light, that pretty much makes my case.. What I'm saying applies to high schools around the country -- district, charter and private -- which use AP courses as a large part of their college prep curriculum. And if I remember correctly, my statement was a comment I made in reply to a question from a commenter who asked what I thought about AP courses in general, not something I chose to write about in a post.

30 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 05/15/2018 at 7:53 AM

Re: “The Games BASIS Plays

Cynthia, all the principal of BASIS Tucson North said is that the schools can only serve a limited number of Arizona's students. There is nothing in her statement that implies the students served are academically select. Sorry, that doesn't cut it.

Recently a BASIS bigwig admitted that parents with academically capable students are more likely to choose BASIS, the first admission I've heard from BASIS that its students might not simply be a random collection of students who they turn into academic superstars. However, they tout their rankings without admitting that they've given themselves an advantage by making students take lots of AP courses. And too many reporters are complicit by reporting the rankings as more significant than they are. As long as that's happening, I'll keep correcting the record. (And, to be completely honest, if someone told me their child wasn't challenged and was unhappy at their current school, I would tell them to take a look at BASIS to see if it was a good fit. I would be surprised if you could find a serious criticism of BASIS's curriculum or approach to education in the numerous posts I've written about the schools.)

34 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 05/14/2018 at 11:07 AM

Re: “The Games BASIS Plays

Y'know, John, when you're right, you're right. This is one of those rare times -- there have been a few others -- when I agree with the thrust of your arguments and your use of data.

The lion lies down with the lamb. Jupiter aligns with Mars. A stopped clock is right twice a day (and in the spirit of good will, I won't venture to say which of our clocks has stopped.)

69 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 05/12/2018 at 9:47 AM

Re: “The Games BASIS Plays

About my emphasis on BASIS over University High. A number of my earlier posts about the rankings mention both UHS and BASIS, but this year the UHS ranking is lower, so it didn't seem to make sense.

Beyond that, I'm more likely to take a critical look at BASIS than UHS. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, obviously. But UHS is like a lot of other selective high schools around the country, and when TUSD brags about it, it's bragging about having a strong selective high school. That's reasonable. BASIS, on the other hand, has been used for years by charter school supporters as "proof" that charters are better than district schools. To do that, they've lied and exaggerated on a number of fronts. If BASIS simply said it offers a rigorous education to a select group of students, I wouldn't mention it much. But I'm going to call the school and the charter school cheering squads out for lying or, as in the high school rankings, for purposely gaming the system so they look like they have the top schools in the country.

As for whether I should focus more on TUSD. TUSD-bashing has become a custom in Tucson and, I would say, a bad habit. As Hamlet said to Horatio when he told his friend about the King (Hamlet's uncle) having a kettle drum and trumpet play when he's drinking, "It is a custom/More honour'd in the breach than the observance." TUSD is a lot like other districts of similar size and socioeconomic makeup. Like all of them it has its own particular strengths and weaknesses. When people pick it to death, they do more harm than good. I do criticize TUSD at times, but I also criticize the critics who I think are mean spirited and destructive.

Finally, one commenter who likes to adopt different anonymous handles for each post also likes to tell me what I should write about. Jim Nintzel, the Weekly editor, has not once told me what topic I should write about or how I should approach a topic, nor have any other editors of blog owners since I've been writing. I write about what interests me. Maybe that's why I haven't burnt out from writing multiple posts every week for more than a decade. FYI, I don't take directions well. I didn't as a teacher. I don't as a blogger.

71 likes, 31 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 05/11/2018 at 2:47 PM

Re: “The Games BASIS Plays

A few responses to comments about BASIS. Yes, BASIS does make students push themselves academically. The courses are rigorous and demanding. But so do many public schools, or sometimes specific teachers in public schools. Saying otherwise is either public school bashing or ignorance.

Yes, lots of other schools are selective, like BASIS. But that's only one part of what I said. The main point is, BASIS's ranking is pushed up the list because of the number of AP courses students are required to take. And only a school with select students could demand that.

Finally, yes, I think some schools are backing off AP courses, with good reason. The teachers have to cover a certain selected amount of information in AP courses, which limits their flexibility and creativity, and depth of study. While I think there's nothing wrong with AP courses per se, making those the only accelerated courses in a school does a disservice to students.

Next comment, about UHS and TUSD.

75 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 05/11/2018 at 2:22 PM

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