Tag Archives: Kathy Hoffman

Evolution, Climate Change, and The Big Bang Theory to be Eliminated From Arizona K-12

Superintendent Diane Douglas

Superintendent Diane Douglas

Later this year, the Arizona State Board of Education will consider adopting new K-12 standards in both Science and History/Social Studies.

The consideration of standards for these core subjects has nearly always met increased scrutiny and controversial consideration from segments of the population with different perspectives because these disciplines touch on topics that can potentially challenge a person’s or group’s belief system.

This year is no exception as the new proposed Arizona K-12 Science Standards have invited negative reactions from members of the mainstream education and science community because of the terms and concepts it has attempted to strike away and the closed-door process Superintendent Diane Douglas’s unknown internal reviewers adopted after being presented with the original draft version of the standards.

Forbidden terms, reworded behind closed doors.

Evolution is the most prominent term altered in the proposed new Arizona K-12 Science Standards. Stricken mostly wherever it is mentioned and redefined as the Theory of Evolution, the word is not even included among the many key terms the reviewers added. Several standards and terms pertaining to the process do remain in a more openly worded form. (Changes in green writing can be found on pages 4, 20, 27, 30, 32, 42, 44, 46, 64, 69, and 72 of the Proposed Science Standards)

The term Climate Change is nowhere to be found. There is a sentence that includes the phrase change of climate and there are standards that allude to it and some concepts/terms. However, discussion of alternative energy options, depending on the grade level is nonexistent, stricken, or reworded. (Changes in green writing can be found on pages 21, 25, 40, and 60 of the Proposed Science Standards)

The Big Bang Theory: Stricken entirely and the more ambiguous consideration of all theories of the universe has been substituted in a probable attempt to appeal to the proponents of Intelligent Design. (Page 62 of the Proposed Science Standards)

One saving grace in these standards is at least we have progressed since the time of the Scopes Trial that the geological ages of the planet and continental drift are included and do not seem to be in question.

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Moving Forward: What is next for Red For Ed?

Arizona Educators United spokesman Noah Karvelis stands beside dozens of teachers and public education advocates protesting

Arizona Educators United spokesman Noah Karvelis stands beside dozens of teachers and public education advocates protesting.

Fresh off the week-long statewide teacher walkout, Red for Ed co-leader Noah Karvelis answered questions on what his organization accomplished and where its members will channel their energies in the coming months. Karvelis expressed happiness with the movement they were able to energize, the “empowerment” Arizona teachers harnessed in the walkout, and the down payment in increasing funds towards our state schools. This was more impressive given that the Red for Ed Movement did not negotiate directly with Governor Ducey or any of his allies.

He acknowledged the contributions of other leading Red for Ed Team Members like Derek Harris, Rebecca Garelli, Dylan Wegela, Vanessa Arredondo, Heather Nieto, Brittani Karbginsky, Kelley Fisher, Kellee Wolfe, and Cat Barrett,

Moving forward,  Karvelis (who is also the campaign manager for Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidate Kathy Hoffman), said that the goals for Red for Ed are to bring education funding to the level where it was in 2008. What passed the State Legislature last week was still $700 million short of restoring parity to our education funding needs. To that end, the movement will champion and campaign for the Invest in Ed Ballot Initiative.

Saying the wealthy should pay their “fair share,” Karvelis expressed reservations about a sales tax to fully fund education, calling it “regressive.” He favors Invest in Education coupled with other measures that would bring in funds from a “devoted revenue source” such as income tax increases with a trigger to adjust funds for inflation.

On other education-related issues, Karvelis conveyed that support staff should perhaps be salaried instead of hourly wage employees. Furthermore, he indicated that a $100,000 grant to the Koch sponsored-centers at Arizona State University and University of Arizona was “highly problematic” and indicative of an organization using public funds to “proliferate their agenda.”  Finally, on Proposition 305, Mr. Karvelis wrote that school vouchers with public funds were a “direct attack on public schools and public education.” He also stated that “public dollars should be spent on public schools, not on vouchers for private and charter schools.”

Mr. Karvelis and his team should be congratulated for the positive change they have helped usher in for Arizona’s public schools. Congratulations and thanks should also be extended to everyone that was willing to fight for better conditions for Arizona children’s schooling. As Karvelis and the other members of Red for Ed would point out, there is a long road moving forward. There are pro-education candidates to support in the November elections.

Voters need to read where each candidate, from both parties, stand on the issues of moving children’s education forward to help make an informed decision. There are ballot initiatives to fight for and against. Finally, there are dark money and open reactionary interests to ward off. If the people make fully informed decisions and objectively evaluate where the candidates stand on the issues, the sun should rise on a bright day on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

 

 

Differing Plans for Different Philosophies to Solve the Education Funding Crisis in Arizona

Teachers are on Day Four of their walkout

Teachers are on Day Four of their walkout

As the educator walkout continues this week, there are currently five published plans that have been offered to solve the funding crisis our education community faces in this state. Each plan has positive features to one or more groups. All of them have drawbacks to one or more groups. Hopefully, mature public servants on both sides will get together and try to fashion a plan based on aspects of part or all of these proposals that will enable the children and educators to return to school.

Plan One: Invest in Education Act Ballot Initiative

What is the scope of the plan? To place an initiative on the November ballot to raise the state income tax on high earners to raise monies to fully fund schools. People earning from $250,000 to $499,000 would pay an additional 3.46 % in state taxes or $17,265.40 maximum. People earning $500,000 or higher would pay an additional 4.46 percent or $22,300 minimum.

What is the name of the person/groups that support this plan? Superintendent Candidates Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira, Gubernatorial Candidate David Garcia, Arizona Center for Economic Progress.

What is the financial method utilized to solve the education funding crisis in Arizona? Increasing the state income tax for high earners.

What is at least one positive aspect to this plan? It is a steady and consistent revenue stream that would not be susceptible to an economic downtown like a sales tax.

What is at least one negative aspect to this plan? As designed, it only raises close to $700,000,000 of the $1,000,000,000 needed to fully fund schools. Also, as columnist Laurie Roberts points out, it does not ask any of the other income groups to contribute. This initiative puts the added burden solely on high-income earners. This could potentially galvanize the corporate right and create a highly charged partisan fight, waking up the conservative base just as the Blue Wave hits in the November elections.

Plan Two: Governor Ducey’s Plan

What is the scope of the plan? To give teachers a 20 percent raise in stages by 2020.

What is the name of the person/groups that support this plan? Governor Ducey and his allies in the legislature.

What is the financial method utilized to solve the education funding crisis in Arizona? Revenues based on economic performance and possible reallocation from other sensitive budget areas for the needy. This may also include the shifting of property taxes to local communities where they are forced to pay more.

What is at least one positive aspect to this plan?  Most of the teachers would get a raise.

What is at least one negative aspect to this plan? First, it does not fully fund education or even the teacher raises. How are the teacher raises determined in the local districts?  Where are the raises for support staff?  Where are the monies for capital improvements and investments? They are not there.

Second, the funding apparatus, even in its revised form is both unclear and unstable. Updated proposals relayed that the Governor would divert funds from other areas of need like prescription drugs to fund the raises, which would be pitting one group of needy recipients against another. Furthermore, the Governor’s proposals depend on a consistently strong state economy. There are no provisions, other than raiding other budget areas, like prescription drugs, if there is a downturn.

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Back to the McCarthy Era for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas

If teachers walk off the job on Thursday, April 26, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas warned that “there may be investigations” if complaints come into the Department of Education. Furthermore, if the courts deem the walkout a “strike,” Douglas cautioned that teacher certifications may be revoked and censure notices placed on an instructor’s permanent record.

In an interview with Channel Three Arizona Family News (link below), Superintendent Douglas relayed that she is in favor of more money for education and increased salaries for instructors and support staff. She appeared receptive to ideas ranging from local governing boards setting local district salaries to education budget increases being placed as ballot initiatives.http://www.azfamily.com/clip/14295201/raw-video-diane-douglas-discusses-planned-teacher-walkout

However, Douglas urged teachers not to walk out on Thursday and suggested that they continue negotiations with the Governor and legislature, especially because there are proposals to bargain over. Furthermore, she pointed out that students with free and reduced lunch and special needs may suffer if a walkout occurs. Finally, Douglas intimated that instructors may themselves be blacklisted, have their certificates revoked, or be ostracized from future employment if complaints from the community to the department were processed.

That portion of the interview with Superintendent Douglas threatening potential reprisals against instructors shows an attitude that this country has not seen publicly since the McCarthy Era when many were blacklisted for their real or imagined beliefs. That attitude should not be ingrained in the public servants of our state or country in the year 2018. Fortunately, there are two Progressive Democrats (Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira)  just waiting for a chance, after one of them earns their party’s nomination, to replace her after the November elections.

Teachers do not want to walk out. Teachers want to educate and shape children’s hearts and minds. However, they cannot do it effectively when their salaries rank near the bottom of the country. They cannot do it passionately when they sometimes have to work a second job to put food on their table. They cannot do it competently when they are not provided the modern resources to do the job well.

This is about what is right for the children. It is a step in the right direction to make sure that the people who are responsible for them eight hours a day or longer are properly provided for. Making sure our schools are safe and provide all the features of Twenty-First Century culture and technology is another. The Superintendent and Governor are not going to get there by making idle threats or catering to the conservative whims of their alt right-reactionary sponsors who feel the McCarthy Era was “The Good Ole Days.” It is time to properly fund our schools, compensate our instructors and support staff, and prepare our children for tomorrow.

Kathy Hoffman: A Progressive Candidate for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction

Kathy Hoffman is An advocate for special needs children, mainstreaming ELL students in order to achieve immersion, and protecting the safety and rights of students in the LGBTQ community.

Kathy Hoffman is an advocate for special needs children, mainstreaming ELL students, and protecting students in the LGBTQ community.

Over drinks of iced tea and ice water, Democratic candidate for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman passionately conveyed why she would be the best choice to lead our public schools starting in January 2019.

She is a native of Oregon who moved to Arizona and has taught special needs, and elementary age children in Tucson and the Valley. Ms. Hoffman said she was propelled to run by the Women’s Movement following the electoral college victory of Donald Trump and the ascension of Betsy DeVos, an opponent of public schools, to Secretary of Education.

She is competing with David Schapira in the Democratic primary.

An advocate for special needs children, mainstreaming ELL students in order to achieve immersion, and protecting the safety and rights of students in the LGBTQ community, Ms. Hoffman would pursue the following policies and positions if elected this November. Continue reading