by David Safier
This is probably my last Huppenthal post before the election, though you never know what will happen between now and then that might lead to another post.
Here are three examples of the kind of fast-and-loose-with-facts-and-logic person Huppenthal is. Two of these involve leaps of logic and research which I would not have accepted in my high school English classes.
1. The first is a 30 second clip of Huppenthal talking on the Senate floor. Huppenthal is explaining why we should have private school tuition tax credits, and, by extension, private school vouchers. His main reason is that all children should get government funding, no matter what schools they go to. And here is how he explains that:
"All members of the public are created equal in the eyes of God and deserve equal support."
What can you say about a sentence like that? Its utter, jaw-dropping nonsense leaves one stunned. I guess if you want to follow the statement to its logical conclusion, you could say, every citizen of the country should have the same medical coverage as people on Medicare because "all members of the public are created equal in the eyes of God and deserve equal support." The uses of that phrase are endless, and each is as ridiculous as the one before it. The phrases "Equal in the eyes of God" and "Equally funded by the government" don't have much in common, unless you're a sanctimonious twit who is trying to score points.
The mind reels.
Leading up to that statement, Huppenthal also uses two false numbers, and he knows it.
First he says the cost to the public of tuition tax credits is about $600 per student. Hupp knows full well many students get multiple scholarships, and many children from wealthy families get their full tuition paid by tuition tax credits, sometimes to the tune of $10,000 a year. And he also knows that many of those students would be in private school anyway, so any taxpayer cost for those children is more than we would have spent without tax credits.
Second, he said we spend $9,600 per public school student. I won't even delve into that canard which is only used by the Goldwater Institute and Republican politicians.
Here's the clip.
2. The second is a factoid I've heard Hupp use repeatedly, which is that our university Schools of Education are among the worst in the nation, based on an assessment by the National Council on Teacher Quality, and the greatest offender is UA, since it's responsible for TUSD teachers (and Hupp thinks TUSD is the devil's spawn).
This is typical Huppenthal research cherry picking. According to the Capitol Times, the only study he could be referring to is one published in 2008 which put UA among 34 schools failing to adequately prepare elementary teachers to teach math. Not a glowing recommendation, certainly, but one in 34 that fails in a single category does not make UA one of the worst ed schools in the nation.
3. This last one is less a leap of logic than a leap into an area the Ed Supe should stay out of: university curriculum. In the same Capitol Times article, Hupp said he would go beyond his earlier promise to rid TUSD of ethnic studies and go after university ethnic studies programs as well.
“That’s really the problem, this stuff is coming out of our universities and the ethnic studies there,” Huppenthal said. “Just dealing with it in Tucson Unified, I think you also have to deal with it over there at the University of Arizona.”
He said if he is elected he will use the superintendent of public instruction’s ex-officio seat on the Board of Regents to carry his fight to the next level. Huppenthal would be one of 11 voting members on the board.
He continued talking about messing with the university curriculum saying he wanted to get his hands on teacher education programs because ours are the worst in the nation — according to a study that doesn't actually say that.
In a few days, we'll decide whether Huppenthal or Kotterman will be our Ed Supe. Hupp will give us more of what we've gotten from Horne and the legislature — enough more, we might end up looking back on the Golden Age of Tom Horne. Kotterman will resist the push toward restriction of academic freedom in schools and greater privatization of education. She'll support serious educational reform and push for the kind of school funding our children deserve.
Let's make it Kotterman on Tuesday. For the sake of the children. And the college students. And the state.