Betts Putnam-Hidalgo 
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Re: “A Review of David Garcia's Book, "School Choice"

As far as I know, Huicochea is currently Stephenson's boss, and is an editor at the Star. I too was sorry to see her leave, even if there were times when I thought she missed the point. But by the time HT came along, she was right on the (continual) stories of lying, corruption and dealing that he was involved in "happenstance"? would have it, was soon out of the public eye. (Interestingly, in the context of this piece, Steve Farley was very much in the public eye during that time, speaking at Board meetings, always staunchly in favor of HTs work in that area)

To the earlier commenter, Mr. Mitchell--if you have worked in the school choice arena and studied it at all then you have read lots of books like the one Dr. Garcia has written. By that I don't mean he is a poor writer, I mean that so-called objective academic pieces like this book (which I have also read), particularly on this subject, are not hard to find. Of course the problem is that the issue itself is not objective, and has many shady funders and work behind the scenes by millionaires and billionaires that completely tips the playing field. If you leave that stuff out, as Dr. Garcia does, in the interest of being "apolitical" and "objective" then a false equivalency is created that is indeed troubling. But thats standard fare for academia, and in no way constitutes an action plan or even an obvious endorsement of one side or the other. Its just the typical analysis of settlers and Indians, or cops and the unarmed people they kill, or Israelis and Palestinians as all having equal amounts of fire power and therefore being involved in a "war" instead of in an invasion of one side by the other, or a massacre, or some other less "neutral" word than war. At least thats how the book reads to this public education activist.The original blog on Blog for Arizona was a hit piece, pure and simple. If you can find a blueprint in it, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

10 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 08/14/2018 at 8:14 AM

Re: “Fourth Avenue's Ordinary Bike Shop Is Closing Down

This is bad news. Is Fourth Avenue just going to become out of town coffee shops and bars and student housing? I have a hunch that rental prices are going way way up on Fourth Avenue (as I've watched repeated locally-owned businesses get pushed out of their locations by landlords who apparently see money in their own future to the detriment of Fourth Avenue) Way to go Tucson.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 08/09/2018 at 7:18 AM

Re: “No Philosophy 101 Course At TUSD. For Now

Yes, the text is clearly a primary textbook. It could not be used for any other course (unless it was, as the first commenter suggested, used as a primer on libertarianism of the 1800s) and the course could not be fully taught with any other text (although I would not be surprised if the FC folks try that next).However, to be a bit more ethical than the course creators are, its only fair to say that a review of the truly supplementary materials that each teacher used last year showed that it was not the ONLY reading that was expected. Nonetheless, you got it right. It was purchased as a "supplemental" text last year, showing once again that the level of Board oversight was nonexistent.

69 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 07/13/2018 at 7:30 AM

Re: “Freedom Center's Philosophy 101 Course Is On the TUSD Board Agenda

The Kochs are only one strand of libertarianism, apparently. At Nancy MacLean's talk during the Festival of Books, (she wrote "Democracy in Chains" about the ideological beginnings of the Kochs and their ilk) a gentleman stood up and stated that he was a lifelong libertarian, and was furious when he read "Dark Money"(be Jane Meyer) because he felt like the Kochs and their ilk did not represent his views whatsoever. I thought it showed some interesting diversity, possibly conflict within the ideology.

Everyone should read the textbook on which the course is based--OOPS, it was never provided for public comment because it was called a "supplementary text" despite the fact that the curriculum reads like the Table of Contents. And that is TWICE that it was never submitted for public approval. And the Freedom Center being who they are, they don't make it easy to review the textbook either. Fortunately if you are able to access it, you won't have to be hampered by bibliography, or very many citations, or even any professional reviews....because it doesn't have any of those. The academic stuff its missing (to be considered an Economics text, anyway) are even more important....And of course there is the OOPS that the class never went to the Board for either authorization or assignment to be a core course. Kind of stinks to high heaven, frankly.

Who knows, maybe introduction of the course was the quid pro quo to Sanchez' 11th hour pleading to the legislature to retain the desegregation money for the district? One really wonders how it happened behind closed doors, because it sure didn't happen in the sunlight! After looking for a year, it seems that every single person in TUSD Admin who made a decision about this course (or was supposed to) left no records and/or no longer works for the district. In addition, they left no trace! Even the most cooperative district employees are unable to find records because "this happened before I got there" (really? an organization the size of TUSD maintains NO archives? )

98 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 07/06/2018 at 10:22 PM

Re: “If the High Stakes Tests Don't Make Sense, Neither Will the Results

There are other reasons to support the change. The AZMERIT took literally weeks to administer (year after year), and the lost instruction time, especially if you add benchmark tests, was phenomenal. Yes, as one Board member stated, our curriculum was "aligned" to the AZMERIT but what kind of horrible statement on the creativity or lack of it in our curriculum is THAT?! The ACT takes far less time to administer, one reason why at least at Tucson High (3500 students) the site council just about stood up and cheered when the idea was proposed. The bottom line is that standardized testing of all types does a huge disservice to teaching as a profession and to student education. There is absolutely no "proof" of its educational validity: but Pearson is raking in the cash. Even as one assessment among many (which would be a great improvement) all it measures is a students ability to take tests which, despite another board members' repeated phrase in past years ("in real life you have to take tests all the time") is not the most important life skill to work on. I did ask two students about the switch, and they too thought it would probably be better although both agreed that it was harder than AZ Merit and that the fact that it is TIMED adds stress. In this case one student takes tests well and the other bombs them, although both students are straight A honor students. Unfortunately their test taking ability made a clear difference in their ability to get into out of state colleges--a pretty sad commentary on Arizona's educational level (but then what do you expect when your 50th in spending?) They also noted the disparity among those who could take a class on passing the test and those who couldn't, a subject I much appreciated in the article.

And finally, why such a huge outcry against the idea of regulating the huge disparity in services in our schools? This is a huge problem, and all it takes is spending a half day at Dodge or Doolen and then another half day at Utterback. Get serious people--this is not about liking each other--its about judging what would actually improve our schools. And making sure that they all get their fair share of experienced teachers and principals should not cause such an outcry, whatever political party you align with. It is a structural improvement that is long long overdue in TUSD.

70 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 07/04/2018 at 6:12 AM

Re: “I Know I Said I Wouldn't Give Teachers Advice, But . . .

David if you attended school board meetings, you would know that the calls to the audience are full of teachers and support staff who are demanding the same thing. Even Mike Hicks agrees that all staff at our schools teach our kids (which is true). Stegeman is scared that such a move will piss off the state, who is already pissed off at Southern Arizona for not being right wing nutcases like the bulk of the anti-public school legislators in Phoenix. Kristel and Adelita appear to agree with the teachers and staff but then they were in the Board majority, as a Caller to the Audience stated, that withheld Proposition 123 AND 301 funds from the teachers in the past, so their current public posture may have far more to do with electoral politics than actual concern for teachers and staff. And Sedgwick appears to be completely in favor of paying people first--even came out with an attempt to apply the Red for Ed demands to TUSD which was ROUNDLY and extremely rudely routed by Kristel, in a performance that was both insulting to teachers' intelligence and that of Ms. Sedgwick. Such an attempt SHOULD have been made by more experienced Board members instead of reviled by them but once again it was more important to highlight Sedgwick's lack of experience than to help her gain that experience or actually look for ways that TUSD could replicate the strikers' demands. Its worth noting that our biggest snark on the Board, Foster, is also the "liaison" to the legislature--which actually may be adding to their distaste for Pima County and TUSD, if her behavior there is anything like it is here, where the personal consistently overcomes the politically intelligent tactics that will benefit our kids, staff and teachers.

77 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 05/22/2018 at 7:00 AM

Re: “The Dangers of Forming Political Coalitions While Black: North Carolina, 1898

Ah, so this Israeli and American habit of the aggressors claiming that they are the victims as they visit untold violence on The Other has historical roots! Thank you David, this was a hole in my education as well and shows the importance of a more full and inclusive history.

71 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 05/16/2018 at 7:37 AM

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