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There are 46 item(s) tagged with the keyword "Arizona Legislature".

11. Rep. Bob Thorpe's Letter Regarding Transgender Bathrooms

Recently, Gila Watch published Arizona Joins Texas in Lawsuit to Stop Federal Overreach.  Arizona joined this lawsuit following a letter from Arizona lawmaker Representative Bob Thorpe (R-LD6).  Rep. Thorpe has provided the letter to Gilbert Watch, as well as the data for how the State, Local and Federal education funds break down for 2014-2015.  

Dear Arizona Superintendent of Schools Diane Douglas and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich:

Legislators have been receiving numerous complaints from constituents who are very concerned with the threatening tone of the May 13, 2016 letter from U.S. Attorney General Lynch and U.S. Department of Education Secretary King.

The letter coerces our nation’s K-12 public schools and colleges to ensure that transgender students must be allowed to use the gender designated restrooms, changing rooms and locker facilities of their choosing, not necessarily that of their biological gender. It has been estimated that approximately 0.3% of U.S. individuals identify themselves as transgender.

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Tags: Educational Malpractice, Schools, Taxes, Arizona Legislature, Bureaucracy, Constitution
12. The Schools' War on Arizona's Children: Part 2 Online Charter Schools

Some Arizona parents, disgusted with the diabolical determination of their local schools to bully their children into taking the highly controversial AzMERIT exam, are considering online education for their children.

Think again.  Online charter schools are worse.  The extra harsh treatment is completely legal, based on ARS 15-808(B). The online charters are merely "following orders" as dictated by Arizona's legislators.  "If a pupil fails to comply with the testing requirements and the school administers the tests pursuant to this subsection to less than ninety-five percent of the pupils in Arizona online instruction, the pupil shall not be allowed to participate in Arizona online instruction."

According to Facebook comments from several parents who refused to allow their children to take AzMERIT, their children were "locked out" of learning.  They couldn't log on to their computers.  

April 5.  This parent posted:  "Received a call from K12 (Arizona Virtual Academy, where 'students come first') at 3:10 pm -she said if we did not call her back before 3 pm today..AND if we did not show up tomorrow at the testing site- they would lock our account. Meaning student could not do his work..meaning they are dropping us from the school. IS THIS legal?"

The parent did not call, nor did she and her 3rd grader make the long drive to the remote testing site.  The trip would have required her to take off work, over a period of 3-4 days, for a few hours each day.  (NOTE:  The "online" school doesn't administer AzMERIT "online."   One parent stated that she would have to drive 120 miles to the testing site nearest her home.)

April 6.  Parent received the following email: 

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Tags: AzMERIT, Common Core, High Stakes Testing, Arizona Legislature, Schools
13. Hey Senators Against Parents! No Respect!

These Senators want parents to respect and vote for them?  Why, when they disrespect and sneer at parents?  They voted against parental authority when they voted NO on SB1455, giving parents the RIGHT to opt their children out of unvalidated, worthless, psychologically damaging, expensive statewide assessments!    

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Tags: AzMERIT, Common Core, High Stakes Testing, Arizona Legislature, Schools
14. The Schools' War On Arizona's Children: Part 1

Even though Arizona legislators are to blame for causing the ugliness, humiliation, undue stress, and mental anguish experienced by parents and their children who dare to reject AzMERIT, it is the teachers, principals, and administrators who are inflicting the pain.  Unless you have pushed back against this unvalidated, secretive, Common Core-based "high stakes test," you have no idea what it feels like to see the ugly Truth behind the "friendly teacher" mask that pretends that educating your child is the school's number one priority.  The Truth is that the best interests of your child isn't in the best interests of the dysfunctional school system.  If your child doesn't "take the test," the schools are afraid that: 1) They are violating Arizona law; 2) They will lose Title 1 money from the federal government; 3) They will get a poor ranking from the Arizona Education Department;  4) The teacher will get a poor evaluation.  

Your child is merely a pawn being used to serve the bureaucratic nightmare that our state’s education system has become. 

We've been reading facebook posts and emails from parents and even some high school students telling us their experiences in dealing with their schools.  The stories you will read below are not unique.  They are legion.  They are representative of how the schools are treating kids whose parents opt them out of insane testing.  

Theoden:  I will not risk open war.

Aragorn:  Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Voices from the School Battlefield:
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Tags: AzMERIT, Common Core, High Stakes Testing, Arizona Legislature, Schools
15. Dear Senators: "About your decision to disregard parental authority....."

The following email was sent to Arizona's senators.  It is published with permission of Ms. Lisa A. Hudson (LD23), member of the Mommy Lobby.  NOTE:  The best response to threats to the test resistance movement is to focus your efforts, as Ms. Hudson has done, on policy makers. See These are the Senators Who Sneer at Parental Authority

Dear Senators,

As a follow-up to Ms. Christy's earlier email attaching a response to baseless threats by the Secretary of Education, John King, I would like to add a few more comments.  First, I've attached another link to the press release issued by Senator Tom Reed's office.  The content of the press release is very important to this discussion and I am confident all of you will take the time to read it.

Reed Stands with Students, Parents

Several other facts should be noted.  First, there was some concern at the Senate Education Committee hearing that the Federal Government would withhold funding if states failed to meet the 95% threshold.  That is simply not true.  Pursuant to ESSA, the decision to render punitive measures for failing to meet the threshold is left entirely to the states.  States decide how to deal with particular schools, including making the decision to do nothing.  Note, also, under NCLB mandates, the Federal Government has NEVER withheld funding from any school.  It is extremely unlikely the state would deviate from that path.  Withholding education funding from Title 1 kids would be political suicide for any official hoping to survive an election cycle.  

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Tags: AzMERIT, Arizona Legislature, Common Core, High Stakes Testing, Schools, Arizona Constitution
16. These are the Senators Who Sneer at Parental Authority

The following Senators voted NO to SB1455, the bill that gives parents the right to opt their children out of statewide assessments, such as the wretched AzMERIT, and others like it.  These Senators believe that parents have no right to determine what is in the best interest of their child.

Time may be very short until sine die (end of the legislative session), but if these Senators really want to change their vote and pass SB1455, they can make it happen!    

This is not a partisan issue.  Please call them, email them. Endlessly.  Do it for your kids! 

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Tags: AzMERIT, Common Core, High Stakes Testing, Schools, Arizona Legislature
17. House Ed. Committee Poised to Stifle Voice of Voters: SB1313

The first effort to strip our duly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) of powers was during the Legislature's last session.  Thankfully, HB2184 was held in the House.  The second whack at our eleted SPI was brought forward this session by Sen. Jeff Dial, via SB1416.  

SB1416 has been held by Speaker of the House David Gowan, until very recently, when he caved under pressure from Governor Ducey.  Gowan is currently running as a "conservative" for U.S. Representative in CD1.  Is "caving under pressure" a trait you seek in a U.S. Congressman?  

SB1416 has now morphed into an even uglier SB1313, championed by Rep. Paul Boyer, known for his disdain for parental authority in matters relating to the education of their children.  See Rep. Paul Boyer Won't Allow Parental "Opt Out" Bill to be Heard! , Boyer Blocking Parental Choice, Privacy Bills , and Boyer Tries To Dodge Public On SB1313, Education Overhaul  

See below for a Summary of SB1313 by Vicki Alger, Ph.D.

Very simply, THIS BILL MUST BE STOPPED!

The House Education Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 16, at 2:00 PM, to vote on SB1313.  Click HERE for the agenda.  Please call, visit, use the RTS (virtual Request to Speak), email the following Committee members as soon as possible!

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Tags: Arizona Legislature, Schools, State Board of Education
18. The Legislature’s Pyrrhic Victory? SB1416 Strips Superintendent of Power

If the Arizona Legislature succeeds in passing Senator Jeff Dial’s repulsive SB1416, this is what they will have accomplished:   

Turned Arizona’s only elected official within the Department of Education into a water boy kowtowing to the will of 10 unelected, historically incompetent and downright dangerous, wasteful members of the State Board of Education.

Arizona's voters won't be fooled into believing that this bill "merely clarifies statutes," as Dial states. The voters who put Ms. Douglas into office aren't that stupid. 

This is what will be very clear to voters:   The Legislature has removed the Superintendent's effective representation of the voter's mandate.  The Legislature has devalued and dishonored the voters. The Legislature has told the voters to “stuff it.”   The Governor, if he signs it, will be signing one of the worst "anti-voter", anti-elected official" bills we've seen in a long time.

Historically, members of the State Board of Education, serving at the will of whichever Governor appointed them, love to wield power, without a shred of deliberation, debate, or accountability. (Recent Ducey appointees Jared Taylor and Chuck Schmidt are the exceptions.) Here are just a few of their thoughtless, costly, and downright dangerous actions: 

The SBE's reputation for lowering standards.  "In 2005 the State Board, over the objections of state Superintendent Tom Hornereduced the passing grade on the AIMS test from 72 percent to 59 percent for reading, and from 71 percent to 60 percent for math.  Even with the reduced passing threshold, and a math test that has gotten progressively easier, just 61 percent of the class has passed after three attempts."  Most State Board of Education members said lowering the scores would look as if they were lowering the bar and backing off high standards for high school graduates, but still they voted 9-1 to do it. And the Legislature, in their vast wisdom then as now, got into the actallowing grades in class work to add as much as 25 percent to a student’s AIMS results

The SBE spent untold thousands of dollars developing new Math standards in 2008/2009, only to dump them for Common Core Math in 2010.  

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Tags: Schools, Arizona Legislature
19. Fear and Trembling in Phoenix: A Common Core Cautionary Tale, Part I

Vicki Alger, PhD
Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.
Author of 
Failure: The Federal “Misedukation” of America's Children (forthcoming) 

This post originally appeared in THE BEACON.

Arizona is widely hailed as the national leader in school choice. It is also one of a growing number of states turning against Common Core. But you wouldn’t know it from what’s going on inside the Capitol these days.

Proposed legislation affirming parents’ basic rights over their children’s education is being held or amended within an inch of its life in the House and Senate Education Committees—all in spite of an explicit statutory Parents’ Bill of Rights affirming their inalienable liberty over their children’s education and upbringing (see here and here).

As more states fight back against federal contamination of classrooms, Arizona offers an important lesson about extinguishing Common Core for good—so it doesn’t keep rising from the dead in one infectious form or another.

About a year ago Arizona Governor Doug Ducey urged a “review and revise”  placebo instead of a “repeal and replace” antidote for Common Core. Last fall at the urging of the state’s elected pro-parental choice/anti-Common Core Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, a majority of the State Board of Education voted to sever ties with it—but the board left the Common Core -influenced standards and the reviled AzMERIT state assessment

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Tags: Arizona Legislature, AzMERIT, Common Core, Schools
20. HB2115 Passes the Government and Higher Education Committee

"Everything at the City of Phoenix is geared toward the employees," DiCiccio said.  "The taxpayers come last, always."  See Undisciplined Bureaucracy: Civil Service Job Protections Make Disciplining a Problem Government Employee Complicated, Costly and Time Consuming    

An extremely good bill, HB2115 passed its first Committee hearing on 1/28/2015: 6 in favor, 2 against, 1 absent.  It would have passed 7-2, because Rep. Justin Olson (LD25), who was absent, was one of the bill's Primary Sponsors.  But it has a long way to go to become law.

Please recall from my original articleRep. Warren Petersen (LD12) crafted this legislation as a deterrent, making public officials think twice before illegally spending thousands of taxpayer dollars, thinking they can walk away with lucrative taxpayer-paid benefits or severance pay.  After watching the committee hearing, including Phoenix Council member Sal DiCiccio's comments, it's clear that government employees enjoy far more "job protections and tolerance for bad behavior" than private sector employees.  

In the case of Stephen Banta, CEO of Valley Metro, following an investigation by The Republic, they reported that Banta was reimbursed with taxpayer funds for flying first-class, buying alcohol, staying in $600/night hotels, and eating in some of the most expensive restaurants in Portland, charging all of it to the taxpayers, while running Valley Metro. This included 44 round-trip airfares between Phoenix and Portland from February 2010 to July 2012 for Banta and his wife.  The Republic also found that Banta was reimbursed for dinners that included guests who said they didn't attend those dinners.   

In spite of all this, Banta was awarded $265k in an annuity upon termination of employment.  

Democrat Lela Alston (LD24), who voted against the bill, commented:  "Maybe his contract should have read: 'You can't take your wife on vacations using public funds.'" Democrat Jonathan Larkin (LD30) agreed.

In another recent case

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Tags: Arizona Legislature, Bureaucracy, Taxes

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