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Re: “Facebook-Free Friday

You originally said, Buffett "hasn't paid a penny on his $81 billion dollar fortune." Now you say he paid $1.85 million in 2015 and extrapolated his entire tax payments over 40 years, though how you can do that is a mystery to me, and you called the $74 million you say he paid "a rounding error." To recap, first he paid nothing, then he paid $74 million, which is the same as nothing. I have to say, your ability to admit you were wrong and say you weren't wrong astounds me.


You are joing right? Really, really joking? You find out that Warren Buffett hasn't paid one penny on the dollar, not even 1/10 of a penny on the dollar of his fortune while every year advocating for more taxes and small businesses that compete with his businesses and you defend him?


Not one penny on the dollar. That's what he has paid. Can you do math? Can you multiply by 40 working years. Can you divide by 81,000,000,000, as in $81 billion dollars?

He is in the zero tax bracket advocating for more taxes on people paying:

28% federal + 12.4% Social Security + 2.9% Medicare + 5% state + 5% sales + 10% regulatory load

Pretty pathetic David.

2 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 11/18/2017 at 4:11 PM

Re: “Danehy

"he says that the Civil War happened because the two sides refused to compromise. That's my last question. How exactly does one compromise on slavery? You just own people on the weekdays and give them the weekends off?"

Answer: Somehow, England and the rest of advanced civilization got rid of slavery without killing 600,000 people in a war. Its only recently that our deaths in other wars in total exceeded the civil war.

How exactly does one compromise on slavery? That's how. Peacefully. For example, the judiciary could have respected the state's rights of all the state's that moved to free the slaves much earlier.

"I get such a kick out of know-nothings who cry about being over-taxed (we're not) or how we have the highest taxes in the world (not even close)."

You are right, Europe has significantly higher taxes than we do, ever since President Reagan. But, since 1980, our employment has grown 60% while Europe's has only grown 26%. And, Europe's jobs were of much lower quality, fewer dollars per hour and fewer hours per week. Meanwhile, countries like New Zealand have significantly lower taxes than we do and are growing over 30% faster.

If we don't grow faster, Social Security is dead as we know it. It is projected for bankruptcy in 2029 even if we grow at 2.8%. Obama closed out with 2.0% in 2015 and 1.9% in 2016. Obama's growth rates add $29 trillion to the unfunded deficits of Social Security, meaning bankruptcy even faster than 2029.

4 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 11/15/2017 at 4:40 AM

Re: “Trusting Entrepreneurs to Improve Education: A Cautionary Tale

Bill Gates has put many hundreds of millions of dollars into education improvement schemes, with minimal success."

Wrong, absolutely, verifiably wrong.

In 2015, combined math and reading NAEP scores, under the overwhelming influence of "Race to the Top", a Bill Gates brainchild, went down for the first time ever.

your quote should read:

"Bill Gates has put many hundreds of millions of dollars into education improvement schemes, with negative results for almost the entire country and especially for minorities."

And, he still has not backed off from the policies that caused the downturn.

We also know the effect of computerization of schools. We have thousands of one to one schools, schools with a computer for every child. The effect is zero. The onus is on Gates to prove that his new approach is something that really works.

Gates should take a lesson from Plato's Socrates - "I know one thing, I know nothing."

Gate's work defining problems is brilliant but he appears brain-dead at making the correct conclusions about his data and implementing solutions. For example, his hundreds of millions of dollars he spent analyzing classrooms came up with amazing data showing that even the very best teachers have a huge variance in the quality of their classroom performance. Even they stink in a large percentage of their classroom hours.

We are a society that knows a lot about reducing variance in performance. The logical outcome of Gate's data would be a school district in which you very carefully pull random samples of classroom quality by wiring or wifi ing every classroom to a central point and providing teachers a positive feedback loop on quality.

Tucson Unified with their 40,000 or so hours of weekly teaching could be very accurately measured with a random sample of 300 hours. That's the beauty of statistics.

Right now, we rely on physical observation in the classroom to provide feedback on quality, voila- the dog and pony show that seldom reveal the problems needed to be worked on and solved.

Deming's rule number one for quality- get rid of inspection and go to random sampling.

And, you create a central support team whose job it is to support the hell out of those teachers to ensure that they are as prepared as possible every single hour.

We know what the consequences of such a system would be, a school district that improves 1 to 7 percent a year, depending on how effectively and positively you tied the system into performance pay.

Ten years from now, you would have a school district where over 90% of the interactions with students would be positive and teacher engagement would be over 90% and time on task would be over 90%. These are imminently achievable goals, not pie in the sky at all.

But, it can't be achieved overnight, people don't change quickly. But, with the right feedback loops, teachers will change and feel really good about being one of the very best if not the best.

You would have massive cultural resistance to this change unless you required the schools to volunteer. Then, very quickly teachers would be saying, why do they get to do it and not us?

Terrence Scott, a researcher in Kentucky, has done brilliant work showing that the typical classroom teacher operates in the failure zone with both low levels of teacher engagement and toxic levels of negativity in that relationship. David Garcia did similar studies showing incredibly low levels of time on task in Chicago Public schools for his post-graduate work in Chicago.

But, in traditional public education, nothing ever changes and you can be sure, Tucson Unified will lose another 500+ students this year.

3 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 11/14/2017 at 12:12 PM

Re: “A UA Prof Chimes In on the 'Freedom Center'

Let's review again. How did the Koch brothers become involved in public policy? In the 1930's their father went to Russia to help them build refineries with the very latest technology and efficiency. As he worked there he formed friendships with many communists and then three events happened - first he observed the 80% collapse of economic production under communism and its horrific impact on ordinary families, then he observed the purges, first his friends being expelled from the communist party and their loss of jobs and then their murders.

Then, he was assigned a "handler" who laid out in detail their plans to do the same thing in the United States. They had to murder millions to gain acceptance of their hateful system in Russia and they were planning to do the same thing in the United States all the way until Reagan's economic results and star wars program convinced them that communism was irretrievably inferior to capitalism and they gave up.

The ultimate irony is that Koch industries is set up under a communistic system, a healthy positive one, not the hateful thing that Marx designed. In Koch industries, supervisors and managers are regarded as servants and evaluated by their subordinates. They also view their companies as servants to their customers measuring customer satisfaction with every single service and product.

Their intellectual approach works, over 100,000 people have chosen to work for them, one of the 50 largest empires in the United States.

By comparison, our university system is a totally corrupt arteriosclerotic pile of dung and the University of Arizona represents the worst of it. They can't even comprehend that their students are their customers- they totally reject measuring the percentage of students rating their education excellent, a number less than 25%, the typical university student shows no cognitive gains after two years of college and there is no evidence that the UofA is any better.

The idea that professors would evaluate Deans would never be considered. The idea that the presidents would be rewarded for the percentage of students rating their education incredibly great would be regarded as completely culturally bizarre.

No wonder that they panic at the idea that this little breath of fresh air and innovations, Koch centers would enter their intellectually corrupt and sclerotic establishment.

Time for another enlightenment.

8 likes, 26 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 11/11/2017 at 8:10 AM

Re: “State Grades Are All About the A's and F's

Response to Francis
"....Most education leaders know you have to protect your teachers from unhealthy feedback and focus on human perception of quality. Good teachers and good principals know the relative performance of all their teachers...." Completely Meaningless!!!

Completely Meaningless? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Nationwide, 24% of parents rate their child's school quality an "A" (Gallup poll, Aug 2015)

But, some schools have over 80% of their parents giving them an "A" rating and others are at zero.
The parent rating covers reading and math but also a thousand other things.

Less than 30% of Tucson Unified parents gave them an "A" rating last I looked. 75% of Chandler Unified parents gave them an "A" rating.

There is a difference. Maybe that's why Chandler's bond election passed 64% to 36% and Tucson Unified's failed by 59 to 41%.

Chandler doesn't sacrifice anything on academic gains by holding themselves accountable on parent measures, in fact, they gain. Their academic gains are well above the 50th percentile.

The parent measure also offers a different path to improving academic gains, a partnership with parents, not just looking at students like milk cows.

Plus it creates an overall healthier environment for schools where you value all teachers, history, science, PE, the arts and all subjects equally.

I know both sides of this equation. I was the legislator who brought letter grades and performance pay to Arizona.

1 like, 11 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 11/09/2017 at 5:15 PM

Re: “State Grades Are All About the A's and F's

The dream of an accountability system that genuinely motivates schools to greater performance is almost undoubtedly a dog chasing its tail - an exercise in futility.

Look at Tennessee, they put in place the most advanced accountability system in the nation based solely on growth in 1992 and promptly started moving downward in their national rank. Here we are 25 years later and few point out that, even after adjustment for demographics and income, Tennessee, the "Education State" is one of the lowest-ranked states in the nation. The "smart" people did that to them.

The entire "growth" measure hope began with them. Why would focusing on growth cause a state to move lower? Answer: we don't measure growth in preschool through 3rd grade, grades that accumulate more than half of all the measurable gain on the 13-year journey from k to 12. The ECLS study also showed that these grade levels were also predictive of later gains- thus even more important than their 55% share would suggest because they have an outsized effect on shaping attitudes towards school which have been shown to be the best predictor of gain.

Thus, the growth measure causes the system to look totally upward when it should have a dominant downward look towards the early grades.

Also, holding teachers accountable for that measured gain proved to be fools gold. Even small samples of Tennessee teachers show astonishing variance. Even pulling samples as small as ten teachers, one of those teachers would have a class gains place her in the top 10%, and another class put her in the bottom 10%. Half of all teachers nationwide who place in the top quartile of gains one year, don't place in the top quartile the following year.

Thus, if you are an inexperienced education leader, you can whip your teachers around with essentially random feedback measures, damage their morale and not accomplish anything. When you subject rats to random negative feedback, unbelievable social pathology is the result. Humans aren't much different.

Most education leaders know you have to protect your teachers from unhealthy feedback and focus on human perception of quality. Good teachers and good principals know the relative performance of all their teachers.

There is a way out of this mess towards clarity but when everyone believed that the sun revolves around the earth, they weren't interested in what Copernicus had to say. And, this situation is even more complex than planetary orbits.

3 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 11/08/2017 at 6:47 PM

Re: “School Blues: Most Education Props Failed Tonight

Look at the results. The high-performance district, Flowing Wells, did very well. They have well thought out performance pay for teachers, a cohesive school board and an education culture honed over decades, one superstar superintendent after another. Of course, when your entire team supports you and you have a superior cohesive school board, it is easier to be a super-star.

Tucson Unified needs to get a copy of the Flowing Wells' Superintendent's performance contract and the performance pay elements of their teacher contract and start studying.

4 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 11/08/2017 at 6:10 PM

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