Tag Archives: Diane Douglas

David Schapira, a Progressive Candidate For Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction

David Schapira, Progressive Candidate For Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction

David Schapira, Progressive Candidate For Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction

In his new campaign headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, former Senate Democratic Leader and current Tempe City Council Member David Schapira passionately articulated the reasons he would be the best choice to lead our public schools as Superintendent of Public Instruction after the November election.

Schapira sports an impressive resume of public service that has prepared him to run for the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction. As a public school high school instructor, a professor at Arizona State University, and administrator at the East Valley Institute of Technology, Schapira has totally familiarized himself with both the academic and non-academic spheres of school operations.

As a public office holder, Schapira is well-versed in the mechanics of both the local and state planning and administering of public policy. In our discussion (and on his website), Schapira relayed that the achievement he takes the most pride in and would like to see as a model for the state: the “Tempe Pre” initiative he created as a councilmember in Tempe, which provides 360 low-income children access to free, high-quality preschool.

Toxic Diane Douglas

Schapira believes that current Superintendent Diane Douglas has failed in her position because she has fostered a “toxic” work environment at the Department of Education and proven herself inept at being a voice for public education and shaping public policy. His experience in seeing the public education system “from every perspective from which it can be seen” prepares him to lead the agency that will prepare the next generation of children and provide the opportunities that will ensure their success. Continue reading

Schapira to Fight Right-Wing Conspiracy to Destroy Public Schools

David Schapira is a Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

David Schapira is a Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

At first, David Schapira thought that Republican state legislators didn’t get it. He thought they didn’t realize the damage caused by taking $1.1 billion out of our public school system.

But after six years in the state legislature, he realized he was wrong.

“They do get it,” he said. “They are intentionally working to dismantle the public school system in Arizona.”

Speaking at the Tanque Verde Valley Democrats meeting, Schapira warned ominously, “Our public schools are on life support. If Diane Douglas is re-elected, she will let our schools die,” he says.”

A mountain of a man at 6-foot-5, he vowed to fight back. Schapira is a Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, which oversees the state of Arizona’s public school system and directs the state’s Department of Education.

Schapira, age 37, knows how to get elected. He’s a Tempe city councilman, a former state representative and senator. As the leader of the Senate Democrats, he served on the Education Committee for six years.

Importantly, he’s a teacher. He has taught school high school, worked as a school administrator and has been at East Valley Institute of Technology for the last four years.

His proudest achievement is the Tempe Free Preschool program for low-income families, launched in April 2017.  “I’ve seen education from every perspective it can be seen from,” he says.

Douglas not qualified Continue reading

Wishing doesn’t make it so

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas just released her 2017 “AZ Kids Can’t Wait” education plan calling for pay raises to teachers, repairing school facilities and buying new buses. At the same time, business leaders such as the CEOs of PetSmart, Goodman’s Interior Structures, and Empire Southwest Caterpillar, are proposing a five-year funding phase-in of full-day kindergarten.

These are both laudable pursuits. We know Arizona has a critical teacher shortage, our school facilities are in need of repair and upgrade, and our busses are beyond old. We also know how critical full-day kindergarten is the to the long-term success of our students both in school and beyond. But, understanding the problem is only half of the solution. The other half, is providing the funding to make it happen.

In terms of the AZ Kids Can’t Wait plan, the bill is $680 million. That’s $200 million without strings attached; $140 million to boost teacher salaries; $60 million to increase rural transportation funding and help with teacher recruitment; and $280 million to begin to address district capital funding requirements. There’s nothing wrong with Superintendent Douglas’ plan, districts desperately need this help. At a press conference where she announced it, Douglas made it clear it isn’t her job to find the funding. “I don’t appropriate money“she said, and went on to make the point that, “the state has about $450 million in it’s ‘rainy day’ fund” and it is up to the governor and lawmakers to decide to spend it on education. Continue reading

Open Letter to Diane Douglas

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Dear Diane,

It is with great sadness I write you this letter. I say that because I just had my hopes dashed once again that people of different political ideology could actually trust each other to put the mission over self-interest. In my Air Force, career the “mission” was almost always paramount, but I’ve not found it to be quite as prevalent in civilian life, especially when politics are involved. I must admit that after my most recent meeting with you, I was encouraged that you were “mission focused” on behalf of all Arizona students. In my opinion, you said all the “right” things and your “AZ Kids Can’t Afford to Wait” plan outlines 30 proposals that with few exceptions, seem like the way right to go. And, although you support school choice, you also recognize that 85 percent of Arizona’s students attend district schools and that you stated you are committed to getting them the resources they need.

I supported your opponent for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2014 and was incredulous and very disappointed when you won. Your tumultuous beginning as the Superintendent confirmed my belief you were not the right person for the job. Of late though, I’ve begun to feel that you’ve settled down and if not yet “hitting your stride”, at least properly “setting up in the chocks.” Unfortunately, my breath was taken away this morning when I read my public education Google Alerts. The headline that caught my eye was Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas endorses Donald Trump for President. OMG!!! Are you freakin’ kidding me? Continue reading

Top Five – Discouraged but Hopeful

So hopefully you already read my Bottom Five – Discouraged but Hopeful, here’s the rest of the story. First, the rest of what gets me really discouraged:

5.  The Legislature seems intent on killing the CTE/JTED, a critical program for our state. Career and Technical Education (CTE) offered by Joint Technical Education Districts (JTED), includes a variety of “votech” programs for which students earn high school credit, and in some cases, may earn college credit, industry certifications, and/or a state license through combination of hands-on training and classroom instruction. Since 2011, the Arizona Legislature has cut CTE funding by more than 53%. Some $30 million will leave the program next year and Districts will also take a 7.5% cut to their per-pupil funding for their students who participate. These cuts are stupid for Arizona! As I’ve previously written, CTE is a win-win-win. It has proven to decrease dropouts by as much as 72% and the Alliance for Excellent Education estimates that “if half of Arizona’s 24,700 high school dropouts in 2010 had instead graduated from high school, the economic impact on Arizona would include $91 million in increased earnings and $7 million in increased state tax revenue.” The Phoenix Business Journal also made a great case for CTE: “By destroying one of Arizona’s most successful education initiatives – one with real economic returns – the state will not be able to provide the skilled workforce that companies demand before they relocate or expand operations here. That means we can expect reduced workforce development, fewer young people escaping poverty and achieving economic independence, and higher social services costs.” There is still time to help. Please click here to sign a petition to restore CTE/JTED funding.

4.  Arizona’s teacher shortage. Actually, Arizona doesn’t have as much a teacher shortage as it has a shortage of certified professionals willing to work for salaries that won’t pay the bills. As of December of last year (according to the AZ Daily Star), 84 districts in Arizona had more than 1,200 teaching position open and 700 of those occurred during this school year. The state also had at least 1,000 vacant teacher positions to fill before the start of the current school year. The Arizona Educator Recruitment & Retention Task Force reported in January 2015 that there is a 7% decrease in teacher prep program enrollment, that Arizona loses 24% of first year and 20% of second year teachers and that 24% of the current education workforce is eligible to retire within the next four years. We have a huge problem that is only going to get worse and I haven’t even mentioned the school administrator shortage that is right around the corner. Continue reading

AZ Ed Supe Diane Douglas, of all people, demonstrates how Republicans can be sensible about sex

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

pearl clutch

A bawdy little tempest is brewing over a website run by an aide to AZ Superintendent Diane Douglas.

Michael Bradley, who is in charge of day-to-day operations at the Arizona Department of Education, runs a website featuring items of general interest, including pictures of dogs and quirky news items, as well as thousands of photos of scantily clad women in costumes, and sexually suggestive images and humor.

It’s the racy imagery, including an image of one woman touching another woman’s breasts and women eating phallically-shaped foods that has caused concerns. Continue reading