Huppenthal: I am NOT the superintendent of public schools


CROSSPOSTED from the Arizona Eagletarian


In an interview with 12News reporter Brahm Resnik today, Republican John Huppenthal, who currently holds the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Arizona, actually said, "I am NOT the superintendent of public schools."


Of course, to understand this gigantic faux pas, one should have the context.

(See the video after the break)



Which is that Huppenthal, aided and abetted by the Greedwater Institute (right-wing advocacy cabal) and the Republican legislature, recorded a 30-second robocall message that was reportedly broadcast today to 15,000 households promoting Hupp's effort to further undermine public schools.


Apparently, the robocall campaign is part of a $250,000 media campaign promoting "Empowerment Scholarship Accounts," state money that pays for private schools and supplies, according to Resnik. He also reports that the legislature is poised to expand those ESAs to include more than half of all students in Arizona. "Giving private schools potentially a new way to siphon off a lot of students from public schools."


Huppenthal contends, says Resnik, that public schools are failing the poor.


Then, in Huppenthal's own words and own voice, "I'm somebody who defines all students as being members of the public. I don't define some students as not being members of the public. I'm the Superintendent of Public Instruction not the Superintendent of Public Schools."


Now, that sounds like an argument. But it is unclear exactly what argument Huppenthal is trying to make.


This brazen robocall effort to further undermine Arizona's public schools was met by outrage. Arizona Education Association advocate Jennifer Loredo called Huppenthal's robocall "pathetic." Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction David Garcia's campaign issued the following statement:

Dr. David Garcia, an Associate Professor at ASU and candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction declared, “This is outrageous. The head of public schools should be working to improve our public schools, not abandon them. If Mr. Huppenthal has neither the will nor the expertise needed to help our public schools, then it’s time he step aside and let someone qualified get to work.”

Sharon Thomas, the other Democrat campaigning to replace Huppenthal as Superintendent of Public Instruction, wondered aloud why we would expect anything different from Huppenthal. At best, his claims to support public education have been disingenuous. She said that it's been clear from before he took the office that Hupp has been intent on dismantling public schools.


More than one source has mentioned that Huppenthal has ties to ownership of charter and/or private schools. Expect more details on those ties very soon.


  1. Now it turns out, according to Phoenix New Times reporting, that the robo calls were linked to two school choice organizations, with exactly the same boards and staff, headed by the Scamway family in Michigan. Of course just by coincidence, these “independent” groups spent $63,000 to benefit Huppenthal’s last campaign for office.

  2. Brief Job Description (page 14 2014 Govt. Resource Directory) Oversees the public elementary and high school system, apportions state aid to school districts in compliance with statutory requirements, directs the performance of the state Department of Education. He is superintendent of BOTH – public Schools and public education, the key word being PUBLIC – no place in the description says he oversees anything private or parochial.

  3. He is neglecting brick and mortar then also. Schools need tons of money to maintain buildings and plant that have had little or no State maintenance funds for years. Band aids are being used for roofs and air conditioning equipment in numerous schools in this State. Local school boards try to go to the local voters for bonds and overrides to repair schools, but the Legislature wants to further restrict this also. So naturally neglect funding for bricks and operations then claim the schools are failing, to justify diverting funds to private, unaccountable private schools.

  4. His job title says PUBLIC, not brick and mortar. Huppenthal’s responsibility is to his job description. Just because he expands his role, doesn’t make it so.

    Naep: Student achievement on standardized tests correlates more closely with socioeconomic status than any other factor. Disaggregate the data and you’ll see that.

    Huppenthal won by 177,000 votes and he did not win Pima County. Let’s actually ask the question at an election. Do you want your taxpayer money to fund private and religious schools? Time and again the public has said they don’t want vouchers. Let’s codify it in law.

  5. His responsibility is to students, teachers and parents, all students, not to schools. Schools are bricks and motar.

    And, that debate was held at the ballot box – it wasn’t close as I recall.

    As for evidence, just look at NAEP- 50% of our fourth graders lack basic reading skills. Our high school academic achievement hasn’t improvedsince 1984.
    1984: 289
    2012: 284 Our nations reading score age 17.

  6. Dr. Garcia should clean his clock in policy development, research capabilities, data driven policy, and intelligence. But as Adlai Stevenson said, I don’t need the intelligent, well educated to vote for me, I need a majority.

  7. Wow, defending Hup by claiming his incredibly stupid and impolitic comment is “literally true’? It may be ‘literally true’ that a prostitute is merely engaging in paid interpersonal relationship surrogacy, but it doesn’t mean he or she isn’t having sex for money.

    Hup is ‘literally’ doing his best to siphon off as much money as possible from public instruction into the pockets of his cronies and sponsors in the private for-profit education industry. Hup has ‘literally’ done all he can to pander to the right-wing fundamentalist home school crowd and anti-government ranters.

    Only a party as irrationally devoted to undermining the very idea of government as today’s GOP would tolerate a public servant publicly stating his obvious hostility to and distain for the very institutions he is supposed to be overseeing.

  8. Anyone even remotely familiar with Huppenthal’s voting record against schools and kids when he served in the State Senate would not be surprised to hear his support for this Trojan horse of a voucher program. This is also a bone to throw to the right-wingers who are pissed at him for embracing the Common Core…even though he renamed the standards in a blatant ploy to hide his actions. Look for more election-year posturing from the incumbent who knows he has a real and credible threat to his continuance in office in Dr. Garcia.

  9. Seriously? What Huppenthal said belies his abdication of the trust Arizona voters vested in him. And for the record, he IS the Superintendent of Public Schools.

    15-251. Powers and duties

    The superintendent of public instruction shall:

    1. Superintend the schools of this state.

    “Schools of this state” are the public schools, specifically NOT the private schools.

  10. Public instruction is delivered by teachers in public schools. That is the clientele of the Supt of Public Instruction. Want to have that debate at the ballot box?

    “Anyone who is proud of the outcomes for all of our special education students needs to do some self reflection.”
    Really. Give evidence. Which public schools need self-reflection about Special Ed? Name names and name schools. Stop the generalizations and innuendo.

  11. Well, how about some respect for the English language? What Huppenthal said is literally true. He is the Superintendent of Public Instruction, not the Superintendent of Public Schools. There is quite a difference. By just quoting the second clause of that sentence, you are not being honest.

    The ESA program has less than 900 students in Arizona and incredibly small number relative to other states and primarily goes to the benefit of Special Education students.

    Anyone who is proud of the outcomes for all of our special education students needs to do some self reflection.

  12. All responsible public school groups should call for the Huppenthal’s resignation. Of course his for profit school buddies, and private schools given tax money love him.

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