Tag Archives: education

What Did the 53rd Arizona Legislature Accomplish? (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley with Handmaids

Handmaids visited the Arizona Legislature frequently in 2018. Here they are on opening day with Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley.

It has been a little more than a month since the 53rd Legislature ended with a 40-hour marathon, passing the budget in the middle of the night, under the watchful eye of Red for Ed teachers and supporters.

What did the Legislature do in the 53rd Session?

  • We passed the comprehensive Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, to attack the opioid epidemic in Arizona.
  • We passed dental therapy, expanding access to affordable dental care for urban and rural residents and creating new healthcare jobs. (Video.)
  • We stopped several corporate tax giveaway bills that would have further drained the general fund and taken money from public education. (Video.)
  • We stopped an untested technology from being used on Arizona workers. After Uber and Theranos, hopefully we have learned our lesson on putting untested technologies into statute. (Video.)

What didn’t we do?

  • We failed to adequately fund k-12 public education, community colleges or the university system. In fact, the Republican response to the Red for Ed movement was to make 50 fund transfers to pay the teachers a bit more (but not as much as they deserve). It’s time to restore k-12 public education funds for personnel and infrastructure to pre-recession levels. Funding education is economic development. (Video.)

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Billy Kovacs Outlines 5-Point Plan to Grow Arizona’s Economy

Democratic Congressional Candidate Billy Kovacs

Democratic Congressional Candidate Billy Kovacs

Democratic candidate Billy Kovacs outlined a detailed plan for how he would grow Arizona’s economy as Tucson’s Congressman.

“We can grow our economy without giving massive tax breaks for corporations,” he said at a recent meeting of the Democrats of Greater Tucson.

Among the five serious candidates, Kovacs is the only one emphasizing the economy in Congressional District 2. As Bill Clinton pointed out in 1992, winning elections is about “the economy, stupid!”

In a nutshell, his plan focuses on:

  • Education – creating an educated workforce.
  • Renewable resources – solar energy and energy storage.
  • Public transportation – expanding the Tucson streetcar in all directions and preserving Amtrak in Arizona.
  • Infrastructure – creating millions of jobs with a $1 trillion investment over 10 years.
  • Immigration – creating a path to citizenship for 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants.

“We need to attract companies and workers to Arizona, and I’m talking about smaller companies that want to live in Arizona because of our natural resources and trained personnel from the university — and not for tax breaks,” he said.

Education

According to Kovacs, the US Department of Education is gutting public education with budget cuts to after-school programs, teacher training, Pell Grants, literacy programs and even school lunches. He calls for:
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Koch-Funded Prof Back Again with Lecture Against Public Schools

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Remember professor Jonny Anomaly? When faced with public outrage last September, he canceled his anti-public school lecture at a Koch-funded University of Arizona class in Tucson.

Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining…he’s back. Anomaly will present “Public Goods and Education” on Thursday, January 25 at 12:30 pm in the Maloney Room, Social Science building 224, on the UofA Campus in Tucson.

The class description reads:

“But public financing of education can produce negative externalities by creating perverse incentives, and a public monopoly on the delivery of education can discourage experimentation and turn schools into an outlet for intellectual fads and political propaganda.”

“I conclude with a note of skepticism about the desirability of direct government involvement in education, even if it plays a limited role in financing it through vouchers, grants, or loans that can be redeemed at accredited schools.”

This talk is directly from the propaganda playbook of the right-wing Koch Brothers, their front group Americans for Prosperity, and their toady — anti-education Governor Doug Ducey.

The dark-money Charles G. Koch foundation donated $1 million to the UofA to create the “Center for the Philosophy of Freedom,” which is a think tank designed to turn students into future lobbyists for the right-wing, anti-education foundation.

Bogus economic analysis

Concerned parents, teachers, and elected representatives should attend to ask why a publicly-funded university is being utilized as an indoctrination tool to sabotage publicly-funded education.
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#LD9 Debate Reveals Clear Choices Between Dem & GOP Candidates

Rep. Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley and Ana Henderson

LD9 candidates for House: Rep. Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley and Ana Henderson

Rep. Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley (me), and Ana Henderson– the three candidates for the two Legislative District 9 seats in the Arizona House– faced off on Friday night in front of a packed house for the LD9 Clean Elections Debate.

This was the first event– and perhaps the only event– in which voters got to hear all three candidates. Friese and I were the only LD9 candidates who appeared at the Pima County Interfaith Council Candidate Forum, the candidate forum sponsored by the UA pre-law candidate forum, the Arizona Daily Star candidate interview and Pride on Parade— besides all of the joint events with Matt Kopec during the primary. (OK, so Pride wasn’t a candidate forum, but many candidates turned out to show their support for the LGBTQ community and celebrate diversity.)

So– even though this is the first time that most of us got to hear Henderson talk, we learned a lot about her views. Climate change, reproductive choice, homelessness, corporate tax cuts, minimum wage, public banking, gun violence, and, of course, education– the three of us fielded a wide variety of questions from the audience last night. (I’ll link the full video when it is available on the Clean Elections YouTube channel.)

Here’s we learned about Ana Henderson at the debate.

She’s against raising the minimum wage. (She said it’s bad for business, and government shouldn’t be meddling in business– except to dole out more corporate welfare. In a town with a 25% poverty rate, too many workers are just scraping by in the gig economy. They can’t buy the goods businesses are selling if they have no expendable income.)

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What Is Our Goal for Education in Arizona? (video)

education rally in Tucson

Funding for education at all levels — but particularly for k-12 public education — has been a HOT button issue in Arizona since Governor Jan Brewer and her henchman, ousted Senate President Russell “SB1070” Pierce, started mercilessly slashing education in 2010, at the dawn of the Tea Party Revolution in Arizona.

After six years of Tea Party cuts to public ed and six years of legislative gifts to private schools, charter schools, and big corporations, in general, Arizona’s education system is on the ropes– demoralized and penniless.

Frustrated parents are angry. Demoralized teachers are leaving Arizona in droves. Aging school buildings are crumbling and dangerous. Contentious schools boards are arguing over how to spend the scraps.

Although some come to school hungry, our children soldier on everyday. Are they learning in this financially and emotionally stressed environment?

No one can pretend that this scenario is anywhere near optimum. Why has this situation been allowed to develop? Our current education system was created by budget cuts based upon right-wing, anti-government ideology and not on what is best for the families and children of Arizona– or what is best for our state as a whole.

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Parents & Children Need Help: Let’s Take a Broader View of Education (video)

Emma and William Springer

Grandma and Grandpa Springer in their garden.

When my brother and I were small children, we spent our days with Grandpa and Grandma Springer. Mom and Dad both worked in factories– Mom as an administrative assistant and Dad as a union electrician. Back then, there were no day care centers because most Moms stayed home with the kids. If mom worked, grandma became the designated babysitter.

I learned a lot from the years I spent with Grandma and Grandpa. They were kind, salt-of-the-earth, hard-working German immigrants. I remember helping Grandpa harvest the cherries from the tree in the backyard, taking them in to the kitchen for Grandma, and helping her make pies. I remember walking downtown with Grandma and going from shop to shop in Amherst, talking with the cobbler, the butcher, and the grocer in German. We would stop at the dime store to buy a new babushka for the season or fabric for aprons.  I remember picking out colors and painting furniture with her. If Grandma wasn’t doing housework, she was doing something crafty. I learned many of my home skills from her.

One thing I never did with Grandma was read a book. My grandparents were smart people, but they also were uneducated people. Grandpa had to quit school in the sixth grade to go to work in the sandstone quarry and learn to become a blacksmith. Grandma quit school in the eighth grade to go to work as a live-in maid for rich people in Lorain.  Although they both spoke English, their everyday conversations were sprinkled with German words. I grew up hearing and speaking a German version of Spanglish, without knowing it.

Only recently did I realize that growing up in a family where no one read to us as children and where multiple languages flowed back and forth most likely impacted my reading proficiency in elementary school.

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