By Brad McQueen, Arizona Daily Independent
Diane Douglas takes a stammering, Nixon-esque Huppenthal to the mat during the GOP AZ Superintendent of Instruction Debate
The AZ Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate debate took place this past Tuesday on PBS’s Arizona Horizon, hosted by Ted Simons.
It seemed more like the famous Kennedy/Nixon debate of 1960 as a confident, well-versed Diane Douglas took the stammering, jittery, Nixon-esque John Huppenthal to the mat not only for his part in abrogating state sovereignty over education to the feds through his complicity in promoting Common Core, but for the culture of deception he has promoted and taken part in at the AZ Department of Education over the last four years.
Huppenthal’s deceptive practice of using aliases to anonymously post to online blogs using Department of Education computers to not only attack his opponents but support his own policies is discussed right off the bat. Rather than apologize publicly to Arizona’s parents and children for his shady behavior unbecoming of our state’s “chief educator”, Huppenthal compares his deceptive behavior to our Founding Fathers under the guise of his exercising his right to freedom of speech.
I have a hard time seeing George Washington or Benjamin Franklin looking down on Huppenthal’s behavior with anything but contempt. Diane Douglas, a former Peoria school board president and a straight-talker, is having none of this.
She instead admonishes Huppenthal for his unrepentant attitude and puts forth that Arizona’s parents and kids deserve a chief educator that they can look up to and trust. Diane Douglas continues by recounting that Huppenthal’s treasuring of the right to expression obviously does not extend to teachers and state employees who disagree with the Department of Education, alluding to my treatment by the Dept. of Ed when I voiced my opposition to the Common Core.
Diane Douglas also mentions not only Huppenthal’s office attempt at intimidating me, but also their blackballing me from further contract work on state assessments due to my opposition to Common Core as was documented extensively with internal emails obtained by the AZ Daily Independent. The moderator also asks Huppenthal how he can repair trust with black and Hispanic children after his, what some have called, racially charged anonymous blog posts.
Again, eyes down like a scolded child, he stammers through a jumbled non-answer about South Tucson kids, because we all know that “they” all live in the south side of town, eh Huppenthal? The debate is then steered towards Common Core, which Huppenthal immediately tries to distance himself from, calling it something he “inherited” from his predecessor.
Diane Douglas reminds Huppenthal that he wrote a letter in support of Arizona’s adoption of the Common Core as an AZ State Senator, as she dangles a copy of the said letter for Huppenthal to see, as he averts her gaze like a child caught in yet another lie. Huppenthal may have “inherited” the Common Core dress, but he’s been wearing it with pride, no doubt as he blogs anonymously into the wee hours of the morning, ever since as he has become its chief proponent/mouthpiece with the full-throated backing of the AZ Chamber of Commerce whose customers are big business, not our kids.
One thing Huppenthal did inherit was former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne’s abolishment of the social justice focused Ethnic Studies program at the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). The final court battle took place under Huppenthal’s watch, yet Huppenthal takes full credit for defeating this racist program as a conservative feather in his cap.
Diane Douglas continues to hammer at the Common Core pointing out that the copyright to the standards is owned by two private companies in Washington, D.C., rather than owned and controlled by the state of Arizona as were our previous learning standards.
Diane Douglas goes on to also mention that the Common Core is more than new learning standards, rather they are a whole host of federal mandates that Huppenthal and Governor Brewer agreed to implement in our state in exchange for a pittance of federal money.
Diane Douglas also mentions one of the most insidious components of Common Core, the NSA-like data suctioning systems, which suction all manner of data about our school kids and their families directly to the U.S. Department of Education and to a potential multitude of private companies and government agencies without parent permission or notification.
Huppenthal chose not to address this component of Common Core. The candidates then give a brief closing statement to end the debate. Huppenthal continues stammering away like a jack hammer, his brow glowing with perspiration, about opposing liberal Obama education policies and supporting conservative policies.
Newsflash: Common Core is a liberal Obama policy. In what world would a true conservative give away state control of education to the federal government through the implementation of Common Core?
The answer is, in the world of John Huppenthal where imaginary characters called “Thucydides” and “Falcon9” deceptively post late into the night on government issued computers on blog sites and who knows where else, that’s where.
In Diane Douglas’s closing statement she, as she always does during her campaign events, focuses squarely on the needs of Arizona’s kids and their parents when she says, “God gave children as a gift to their parents,” and they know what is best as their chief protectors and educators, not a bureaucrat in Phoenix or Washington, D.C. She also promises to make the Department of Education and the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction respected once again for looking out for the interests of Arizona’s kids and parents as it restores trust in teachers to do their jobs in the classroom.
Arizona’s children and their parents deserve so much better than the state/national embarrassment in the form of the serial deceiver, John Huppenthal, as their chief educator. Fortunately, Diane Douglas is a candidate in the GOP primary for AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction and, on August 26, we now have a clear alternative of competency and hope.