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Arizona’s far East Valley will likely need new representation after State Sen. Rich Crandall was tabbed as the head of Wyoming’s Department of Education this week.
“Is there a criminal penalty for shooting down a drone over U.S. soil?”
TAMPA, Fla. — His Republican National Convention pushed back by a day, Mitt Romney conceded Sunday that fresh controversy over rape and abortion is harming his party and he accused Democrats of trying to exploit it for political gain.
A buzz word making the rounds in education reform circles will soon become reality in the Chandler Unified School District.
Bonnie Erbe, guest commentary
Mesa Unified School District has cut or reallocated $85 million over the last four years. And, the district expects to cut $40 million to $60 million of its 2011-2012 budget.
The results of the midterm elections don't mean that the wind will remain behind Republicans' sail. As USA Today's Michael Medved points out, in the 16 national elections since Ronald Reagan's presidency, a majority have led to a switch in party control.
Invariably, political moderates and independents determine the outcomes, and they are not prone to wild ideological swings. When the future looks distinctly darker, voters chose the available alternative. Rarely is the selection based on the finer points of an opposition's philosophy.
Similarly, the role played by Latino voters since the 1960s has been to correct a discrepancy, one concerning representation. Whatever their differences, Latinos agree that having representation in all halls of government is an undisputed value, which can come about only by having officials who solve problems.
Until 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court remained the last pillar of government lacking Latino representation. The election of Barack Obama had already proven the significance of the Latino vote in national elections. The investiture of Sonia Sotomayor to the Court marked the completion of the quest for full participation, making the U.S. political family complete.
The Nov. 2 elections continued in the tradition of that rollout. Latino voters were critical to the victories for California Democrats Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer and Nevada's Harry Reid. By the following day, speculation had already begun about the part those voters in the West would play in determining the 2012 presidential winner.
Before the weekend, Florida's Republican Senator-elect Marco Rubio was already doing a TV spot as his party's new face. Florida is key to the presidential race. This was a tacit recognition that, to remain a viable national party, Republicans must change with the nation's demographics and entice new constituencies.
That's where Latinos come in. Their participation in the Republican Party will change it, even moderate some of the party's rogue elements, in order to keep it functional in presidential elections.
Rubio is part of that crossover, and seemingly a Latino more concerned with representation and elections and less with preserving the past. In a similar way, in state senate races around the country--where in January Latino senators will increase from 64 to 66 (60 Democrats and 6 Republicans), several of the successful candidates ran in districts without Latino majorities - Hawaii, Missouri and Nevada. They illustrate how the new fusion breaks with old voting patterns.
That next wave is already apparent elsewhere. For instance, David Rivera, a former Florida state representative, defeated a prominent Cuban-American leader for Congress. In Texas, businessman Bill Flores defeated longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. Chet Edwards to become the first Republican Latino representative from that district. Also in Texas, Republican Francisco Canseco defeated incumbent Democrat Rep. Ciro Rodriguez.
Republican Jaime Herrera will become the first Latina to represent Washington state. Raul Labrador, also of the GOP, will become the first Latino Idaho has ever sent to Congress, having defeated a Democratic incumbent backed by the Tea Party.
While Texas might not be typical, it is at least illustrative of new activity. There, Dr. Juan Hernandez, a Republican immigration-reform activist, co-founded along with George P. Bush -- son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- "Hispanic Republicans of Texas" to recruit, train and finance Latino candidates.
Taking a page from what Texas Democrats have been asking of the state party for decades, the Hispanic Republicans were responsible for 12 winning candidates backed by the organization, including state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. The events are encouraging or discouraging, depending on which partisan bleacher one sits on.
Yet the fact remains, the public will topple the newcomers, just as it did some of the stalwarts, if they fail to provide the representation and advocacy the public deserves.
Former Dean Paul Bender of the ASU School of Law once said that racial preferences in admissions were necessary because law school classes would otherwise be exclusively white and Asian.
Rep. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, has been appointed as vice-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) Standing Committee on Education, according to a news release. His one-year term will begin at NCSL's Fall Forum Dec. 9-11 in Phoenix.
PROP 406: Tax should be half-cent
SOCIAL PROMOTION: Retain students
If a problem is surfacing, fixing it before it becomes even worse is the best thing to do. Retaining illiterate third graders before they graduate high school and being a burden to society is a smart idea. Here are two reasons why.
It greatly increases a student’s ability to read and write. Florida is proof of this. Before holding back illiterate third graders, nearly half of Florida’s young students could not read at grade level. As a result of retaining them, fourth graders in Florida now test above the national average in reading.
According to Jeb Bush, Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, retaining illiterate third graders can enhance their ability to read and write independently and confidently at the end of the third grade. Speaking with experience, if I were held back at third grade and completed it again, relearning and mastering the reading skills I learned would have drastically helped me through school. Holding back third graders who have made mistakes can help students understand them and learn from them so it doesn’t happen again.
Passing the proposed law that retains illiterate third graders who cannot read at grade level is a smart idea. It stops small problems from getting bigger and it enhances the chances of a successful future. So do the kids a favor and pass the proposed law. A successful future is not worth temporary satisfaction.
Iann Gongora, Dobson High School sophmore
Revise current policy to focus on literacy
In our shrinking world of shared knowledge and digital wiring, reading is as important as ever. Jobs require more and more education and being illiterate impedes the chance for a good life. For third graders who fall far below the standards, Arizona’s legislature has proposed a bill to help give them a better chance. This bill revises the current law to create a “gateway” for them; pass the test and get promoted, fail and you are retained from graduating. The bill has some good ideas but there are some flaws.
Trouble first starts with the idea of such a huge decision decided on a single test. We are talking about third graders. Children that young have trouble concentrating. Plus, imagine a student who cannot read but has a streak of luck and guesses himself into the next grade while a child who can read has poor test-taking skills and fails.
Second is stated perfectly in Colleen Stump’s article: “How will your child feel about being retained? Will she (or he) be more motivated to learn and try, or will she (or he) be embarrassed and further withdraw from learning?” The existing version of the proposed bill does not account for those students who could not adapt to socio-emotional adjustments in self-esteem and peer relationships and jeopardizes them.
Both the bill and our present-day law have promise, but certain things need to be changed. What we should try first is revising the current policy since there are still places to amend with things like producing more programs to focus on illiterate students. When the current law cannot be improved, then we should focus on such a bill to overhaul the system.
Juliana Bennett, Dobson High School sophomore
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It’s time to stop social promotion, the practice of passing third-graders who can’t read on to fourth grade.
It’s more common than you might think. An astonishing 44 percent of Arizona third-graders scored “below basic” on NAEP, the nation’s report card, last year. Even according to the more lenient standards of the Arizona Department of Education, 3,000 third-graders leave school every spring unable to read.
Even though this is unacceptable, the problem is largely ignored. You can see why holding students back is unpopular. Parents aren’t thrilled to be told their little Johnny isn’t cutting it and needs to repeat a year. The student takes a hit to his self-esteem, considered these days to be so fragile. Teachers and principals don’t want “failure” stamped on their records too often.
But social promotion is deadly. A child unable to read by the end of third grade is highly unlikely to ever become a good reader or an educated, productive citizen. Until third grade, students are learning to read. After that, they are reading to learn, using their assumed reading skills to access knowledge and ideas. Students unable to read are outsiders at that point.
They become frustrated and ashamed. They learn to loathe school. Many acquire disciplinary records in high school and eventually drop out.
Social promotion not only harms students, it has a corrosive effect on the educational culture of the schools. As it is, educators can explain away the reason so many students fail to learn to read. Poor parenting is a common problem. Lack of funding and large classroom sizes are also cited, even though those factors have improved substantially over recent decades. But no matter which obstacles are blamed, educators aren’t really forced to do anything about it. They can literally pass the problem on.
If social promotion was eliminated, this would all change. The reasons for failure wouldn’t matter. Instead, schools would have to adopt a laser-like focus on doing whatever it took to assure that all students in the school could read by the end of third grade.
The good news is that it can be done. Despite the disappointing record, we already know how to teach children to read. There are teachers and schools today who have 100 percent success records in teaching children of all backgrounds to read. It takes talent, determination and phonics. We’re not asking our schools to do the impossible.
Eliminating social promotion isn’t a new idea. Ironically, teachers unions and other defenders of the status quo have prevailed in the past by arguing that the problem is too big to solve. It would be too disruptive and expensive to have thousands more third-graders and fewer fourth-graders in the system. Of course that assumes that schools wouldn’t respond positively to the heightened incentives.
Help is on the way. HB 2725, the Arizona bill requiring non-readers to be retained in third grade, is progressing through the Legislature. It is in play along with other bills that provide for alternate teacher certification, expanded school choice and labeling schools with letter grades rather than bureaucratic words like “performing.” These measures were adopted in Florida, where under former Gov. Jeb Bush they ignited a surge in academic achievement.
For example, Florida’s Hispanic students now score a full year better than Arizona’s overall average on the NAEP. Black students have come from two years behind to tie Arizona’s statewide score. That’s huge. It puts the establishment opponents of these changes in a difficult moral position when the benefit to disadvantaged students is so clear.
Right now, we have the opportunity to stop social promotion and all the damage it does to the lifetime prospects of its victims. We can’t let this opportunity slip away.
East Valley resident Tom Patterson (email@example.com) is a retired physician and former state senator.
SOCIAL PROMOTION: Retain students
It’s time to stop social promotion, the practice of passing third-graders who can’t read on to fourth grade.
Tom Patterson: In the world of public education, New York is the big spender. Even in these tough times, per pupil funding in the Empire State tops $14,100. Yet in a recent test of math skills, 90 percent of high school graduates enrolled at City University of New York couldn’t do the most basic algebra.
HOUSTON - Former first lady Barbara Bush was resting comfortably after undergoing successful open heart surgery Wednesday to replace her aortic valve, a family spokesman and hospital officials said.
With the economy on the brink and elections looming, Congress approved an unprecedented $700 billion government bailout of the battered financial industry Friday.
A proposed ballot measure that would have raised billions of dollars for transportation statewide died for a lack of petition signatures last week. To me, that’s not the news. The real story is the TIME initiative had to scramble for signatures in the first place.
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Oil companies once viewed drilling in the deep waters off Florida as cost prohibitive. Politicians feared even the slightest sign of support would be career suicide.
CLEVELAND - The Memorial Day guest list at Sen. John McCain's Arizona home runs to at least three Republicans mentioned as vice presidential running mates, but a top aide said Wednesday that vetting possible veeps is not on the agenda.
Is demography destiny? Some educational experts say that it is. Therefore, states such as Arizona, with a growing Hispanic population, seem doomed to fail.
WASHINGTON - As Moses, Charlton Heston thunderously rallied his people with the Ten Commandments in hand. The tablet of his political life was carved with something else - the Second Amendment.
SARASOTA, Fla. - Syesha Mercado is one of those determined "American Idol" contestants who realized her gift early, jumped on the path to stardom and didn't stop trudging until she reached television's biggest stage.
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