David Safier 
Member since Apr 11, 2011

Recent Comments

Re: “And the Winners For Civic Engagement Are . . . Schools That Submitted Applications

I should add, matt23, mentioning Paulo Freire as a school that got recognition wasn't meant to be negative, any more than the mention of Mesa Schools. It's about the ridiculous award, not the schools which decided to apply. If I were a principal, I might decide to apply just to get the accolade.

28 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 03/02/2019 at 12:45 PM

Re: “And the Winners For Civic Engagement Are . . . Schools That Submitted Applications

matt23, from what I know about Paulo Freire, it's a very good school, as are many charters. When I write negatively about charters, it's not to say they are doing a bad job educating kids. From what I know, charters range in quality from excellent to poor, as do district schools.

However, there are a few issues which cause me to emphasize problems about charters. One is that the very powerful and well funded privatization/"education reform" forces want to create the impression that district schools are failing and charters are the answer to all our education problems. That means it's important for people like me to point out that, for example, BASIS schools, which get such high national rankings, both have a cherry-picked student body and game the rankings to put the schools at the top of the list. I try to counteract that narrative, including the false narrative that our traditional public/district schools are failures.

The other issue is the rampant corruption and profiteering in the charter industry. That's not a fault of charters per se. It's a fault of the lack of oversight, regulation and accountability built into Arizona's charter laws.

If charter cheerleaders present a more honest, balanced view of charters' strengths and weaknesses, and our legislature builds the necessary charter oversight into our laws, I'll have little reason to write negatively about charters.

28 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 03/02/2019 at 12:00 PM

Re: “Political Purity Tests Make Me Crazy. Take TUSD, For Instance.

John, if you're going to quote me, quote me correctly. You begin your comment with a statement in quotation marks: "Clinton lost that election for three main reasons..." It sounds like you took that from my post. Nope, didn't say that. I wrote: "The "Never Hillary" crowd wasn't the only factor in the Trump win, but if a substantial number of them voted for her, she would be president."

Even if everything you say in your comment is accurate -- unlikely, but let's use that as a hypothetical -- it doesn't negate my point. If a substantial number of people who either voted for Jill Stein or stayed home because they couldn't get themselves to vote for Hillary had decided to vote for Hillary, the election would have gone for her, not Trump.

22 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 01/15/2019 at 3:31 PM

Re: “Nancy MacLean, Author of "Democracy In Chains," Will Be At UA Sept. 24

The Adler piece is in the Washington Post, as you say, which has a variety of op eds, running the gamut from politically left to politically right. The Volokh Conspiracy, which is said to be the place he contributes in his byline, tends conservative, as does Adler. He's written for a variety of publications on a variety of subjects. I think it's worth noting that his interpretation of Obamacare's use of tax credits helped lead to the judicial decision which dealt a severe blow to the health care law. That's one indication of where he sits on the left-right spectrum.

I mention all this to say, Adler is writing from a similar stance as the others mentioned in the links, even if his piece is in the Washington Post. This is not to say he's incorrect. It's just to say I wasn't cherry picking. As he notes in his op ed, many people reviewed MacLean's book positively, others negatively. I've looked over both views, decided the book was worth reading, and finished it thinking it was very worth reading. It's my sense that it presents an important history of the movement it follows. Others disagree. That's fine.

Time for me to move onto future posts. Feel free to continue commenting, and, if you wish, also feel free to call me a coward or say I proved you were right by backing out of the discussion. That's what often happens when I've said my say in the comments section. It's one of the reasons I generally don't get involved in back-and-forths, as I did in this instance. Anyone who wants to claim victory just has to hang around longer than I decide to hang around, then claim I turned tail and ran.

66 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 09/23/2018 at 2:49 PM

Re: “Nancy MacLean, Author of "Democracy In Chains," Will Be At UA Sept. 24

Before I read MacLean's book, I googled the title so I could look at some reviews and analysis. I didn't want to read a book that simply rehashed ideas I had already read. I found links to the same criticisms tctw cited above. I noticed nearly all the reviews were on sites with strong libertarian/conservative connections. I have rarely seen so many people work so hard to debunk a book as I saw in this case. I noticed they were written between June 25 and July 10, 2017 -- a flurry of defensive reactions to the book beginning a few weeks after the book was published, which makes the writers seem rather frantic. "Quick, we need to debunk this book right now!"

My reaction was, "The libertarian doth protest too much, methinks." Any book that aroused that level of defensiveness, any book they spent so much effort writing against, must have struck a nerve, meaning it very likely had something important to say. After reading reviews elsewhere which were favorable and maintained that MacLean covered new ground in the book, I decided it was probably worth reading. It was.

I read and scanned my way through the links tctw cites. They tend to be intelligent and knowledgeable, but they often try to use specific problems they find in MacLean's knowledge or her use of certain quotations to deflate the entire book rather than refuting her basis thesis concerning the people she wrote about and the movement they were part of.

I'm not a scholar, I can't give MacLean's book an academic's seal of approval. But from what I have read elsewhere on the subject and from the overall logical thread running through the book, my sense is that it is an accurate depiction of the topic she covers.

92 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 09/22/2018 at 3:55 PM

Re: “Freedom Center-Affiliated Authors Refuse to Put Their Phil. 101 Textbook Online For TUSD Review

Dear "Conditions vary": Are you also "TUSDs recurring problems" who made two comments earlier? Just asking.

69 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 09/19/2018 at 8:52 AM

Re: “Any Questions?

"F as usual on holding TUSD accountable": No, and I'm being serious here, it's not obvious it's the same commenter, not always to me, certainly not to readers of the comments. As I've said before, so long as you stay within the rules of the comments section, as you usually do, you're free to use whatever handle you wish. However, by using different names for different posts, you are being dishonest -- unintentionally so, I believe, but dishonest nonetheless. Posting under a variety of names creates the impression of a multitude, meaning lots of people are sharing similar views in the comments. Posting under the same name tells readers that one person is making a number of comments. And if you're consistent within and across posts, that lets regular readers know who they're dealing with, without your revealing your identity.

And you may continue to ask me all kinds of questions you want me to answer. I continue to reserve the right not to answer them, which, with you and others, is a right I exercise regularly.

78 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 09/07/2018 at 5:06 PM

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