But I can’t do it without you. I hope you join me and help fight to RETIRE McCain!
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But I can’t do it without you. I hope you join me and help fight to RETIRE McCain!
Has it occurred to anyone that Ann Kirkpatrick has no reason to run for US Senate against John McCain other than to oblige her party and fill a gap in the shrinking Democrat talent pool?
Honestly, I don’t see how she could remain in that race given the insurmountable gap in polling and funding between she and John McCain.
Unless, this was all just a ploy to preempt Kyrsten Sinema from jumping in the Senate race.
Kirkpatrick would be a political fool to leave a district in which she has already beat one of the more well known candidates backed by the NRCC establishment. Why would she take on a bigger risk against McCain when she already proved she can play it safe and win re-election?
Perhaps, jumping in a Senate race was a tactic to generate a little excitement with the hope of converting that buzz to some campaign cash?
If Kirkpatrick was politically smart, she’d do the same thing as Matt Salmon, Paul Gosar and David Schweikert and stay right where she is.
McCain will win his Primary. I can speak from personal experience from the losing side – been there done that, got the t-shirts to prove it.
Ann Kirkpatrick knows she’s walking away from a relatively safe district into a danger zone by taking on McCain in a general election. If she were wise, she’d stop listening to the consultants and party elites who are trying to offer her up as yet another political sacrifice to Arizona voters.
I’m willing to bet she stays right where she is.
Reprinted from Townhall
By Rachel Alexander
A week ago the Supreme Court turned down an appeal from former Republican Congressman Rick Renzi, who began serving a three-year prison term in February. In 2006, a left-leaning U.S. Attorney in Arizona saw an opportunity to take out the popular, charismatic conservative Congressman by going after him over a confusing and complicated land deal. Renzi was an easy target because the facts were so complex there was little chance the general public would figure out how the law was being manipulated to selectively target him. This type of targeting has become a common pattern by the left; similar tactics were used against former House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, former Congressman Bob MacDonnell and a district attorney in Texas. Representing a swing district, once Renzi’s credibility was destroyed, it became easy to turn the seat over to a Democrat.
Renzi was found guilty on 17 counts of using his office for personal financial gain and taking $400,000 in corporate money from his family insurance business to fund his campaign. He was convicted of proposing a land swap deal in Congress to benefit a man who owed him money, so the man could afford to pay him back. It is true that he suggested The Aries Group purchase an alfalfa farm near Sierra Vista owned by James Sandlin, and he proposed legislation swapping out the land for copper-rich land owned by the federal government. The sale went through at fair market value, shortly after Sandlin paid Renzi $733,000. Sandlin was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
However, the government never provided any evidence that The Aries Group’s purchase of the property provided Sandlin with the money to pay Renzi back. The land swap legislation never went into effect. In fact, Sandlin paid off the debt in September 2005 with a loan he had taken out for $900,000. He did not receive the money from The Aries Group until October 2005, a month after he had repaid the debt, which he put into escrow. Additionally, he had multiple properties he could have sold to repay the debt. He had been making regular payments on the debt since it originated over a handshake in 2003, and there was no indication whatsoever that he was going to discontinue payments. Perhaps most importantly, Renzi would not have received any benefit from the land swap. The land swap was simply not related to the debt.
Renzi’s proposed legislative land swap would have protected the San Pedro River, benefited the Fort Huachuca military base and enabled development of a huge copper mine near Superior. The alfalfa farmer renting Sandlin’s property had been using an excessive amount of water in a region that was facing chronic water shortages. Fort Huachuca was facing criticism itself over water usage and was under a federal court order to reduce its water consumption. Several people, including a representative from the Nature Conservancy, testified about the importance of the swap. Incredibly, the court disallowed evidence related to Fort Huachuca.
It all began when Resolution Copper Company acquired rights to a large copper deposit near Superior, Arizona, but also needed some adjacent property owned by the U.S. Forest Service. Since Renzi was on the House Natural Resources Committee, RCC asked Renzi which property it should purchase to swap for the federal land, and Renzi naturally suggested the Sandlin parcel, seeing it as a win-win since it would eliminate the problem of the excessive water usage. The deal with RCC fell through, and instead The Aries Group began negotiations with Renzi.
The other counts Renzi was convicted on involved a loan he made to his campaign from his insurance company. No clients were harmed, and it is common for a candidate to loan their campaign money. Prosecutors nitpicked the details of the money going back and forth between clients and Renzi in order to claim he had spent their premiums and gotten their insurance policies canceled – but not a single client was ever affected.
The court further found that Renzi failed to disclose his financial dealings related to the Sandlin debt, but in cases involving a fellow Arizona Democrat elected official who failed to report financial dealings related to decisions she made as a county supervisor, the Ninth Circuit not only looked the other way but affirmed her $975,000 award over the stress of being prosecuted.
Renzi had no chance appealing to the Ninth Circuit. Two of the three judges on his panel lean left, and the third likely does as well. Judge Richard Tallman, who wrote the opinion affirming the lower court, was appointed by President Clinton, and Judge Consuelo Callahan is considered a liberal appointee to the bench by President George W. Bush. Judge Sandra Segal Ikuta, although appointed by Bush, appears to have a history as an environmental activist lawyer and was tellingly approved 81-0 by the Senate after a more conservative candidate had been filibustered by Democrats.
The U.S. Attorney from Arizona who prosecuted Renzi was Paul Charlton, who has a long history of targeting conservatives. During the initial investigation of Renzi, his behavior became so suspicious – likely leaking news of the investigation to the media in order to influence Renzi’s reelection prospects – that an unnamed official within the DOJ was forced to warn people in 2006 in a thinly disguised statement that it might be politically motivated. President Bush fired Charlton in 2007, but when Obama became president he kept the prosecution going. It is incredibly ironic that Charlton was not prosecuted himself and continues to get plum appointments in Arizona. He claims to be a registered Republican but supports Democrats, including the last Democrat who ran for Arizona governor.
Prosecutors attempted to obtain a sentence of nine to 12 years in prison. Since FBI agents improperly eavesdropped on Renzi’s phone conversations with attorneys and misled the judge about their activities, the federal district court judge agreed with Renzi’s attorneys that some prosecution witnesses had made false statements in court and gave him a lesser sentence. However, he refused to overturn the jury’s verdict or grant a retrial.
The father of 12 children, Renzi was very active in the pro-life movement, which likely made him more of a target. The Ninth Circuit court opinion brazenly admitted that his insurance company specialized “in obtaining insurance coverage for non-profit organizations and crisis pregnancy centers.” He worked two to three jobs at a time in order to support his family, allowing his wife to stay at home. His life and career reflect a long history of care and concern for others, donating money, time and more. The crimes he was convicted of do not reflect his character, which is more upstanding and commendable than the vast majority of people. Tellingly, at his sentencing two years ago, he did not admit guilt or express remorse.
Sadly, the U.S. Supreme Court is extremely limited as to how many cases it can accept each year. The court receives about 10,000 petitions for a writ of certiorari each year, and only accepts about 75-80. Preference is given to cases that settle some highly disputed area of law, and this did not rise to that level.
Renzi’s career and reputation were successfully destroyed over nine years of highly publicized legal proceedings against him. The community turned against him, and his children were ridiculed at school. At age 57, he will be 60 by the time he finishes his prison term.
As long as there are Democrat presidents, the DOJ targeting of conservative elected officials is going to continue. Unfortunately, conservatives are less attracted to government jobs than Democrats – including government attorney and judicial positions – they would much rather become successful in the private sector. This has allowed the left to dominate the legal profession and essentially use it to terrorize conservatives. There is a clique in the legal profession, and if you don’t go along with the left-leaning status quo, you are ostracized and despised. The higher one climbs, to judge or U.S. Attorney, the more the pressure increases.
Democrat politicians break serious campaign laws all the time, and left-leaning prosecutors and judges find excuses to let them off the hook. It is called selective prosecution and it is increasing. Now you know why your friends on the left claim, “Republicans are just as corrupt as Democrats.”
Meet the Thighmaster of urban public policy: Streetcars.
Municipal politicians all across the country have convinced themselves that this costly, clunky hardware can revitalize their flabby downtown economies.
That includes the fearless leaders of America’s capital city. The DC government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade trying to erect a streetcar line in the up-and-coming neighborhood of H Street. The project has been an epic disaster, perfectly demonstrating how ill-suited streetcars are to modern urban life.
Video Produced by Rob Montz, who also hosts. Camera by Todd Krainin. Graphics by Jason Keisling and Meredith Bragg.
Thanks to ReasonTV.
Facts about Phoenix Prop 104:
By Rachel Alexander
Realizing they control the judiciary and state bar associations, as well as much of the complicit media, the left is going after conservatives with a vengeance using the legal system. Any conservative is at risk of being sued, but conservative attorneys and judges are getting hit the hardest because state bars can take away their license to practice law, destroying their reputations and careers. Once they’ve been disciplined by the state bar, it is easy for aggrieved “victims” to sue and get a large judgment awarded against them from a sympathetic judiciary.
Several years ago, society was concerned about renegade prosecutors. Now, the tables have turned. Prosecutors are scared to bring charges on politically charged issues, especially if they go against the left’s agenda. Any little technical, meaningless mistake made by anyone down the chain – from an assistant to a detective to a secretary – can be magnified and used against them.
Powerful public officials with income streams to protect and left-wing agendas to push regularly bully prosecutors around now. Prosecutors are terrified to file charges against corrupt public officials, knowing the system is too stacked against them and will be turned around and used to destroy them.
Charles Sebesta was the Burleson County District Attorney in Texas for many years. He would have retired with an impressive career except for one thing – the left started making traction unpopularizing the death penalty toward the end of his tenure, and he had a case that was inconveniently getting in the way. In 1994, Anthony Graves and Robert Carter were convicted of capital murder in the deaths of six black people and sentenced to death. Carter was put to death, but Graves and his attorneys continued his appeals. Finally, in 2006, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, on the grounds that Sebesta had “withheld evidence.”
The evidence Sebesta supposedly had withheld from the defense was that Carter had agreed to testify that he had solely committed the crimes, in order to protect his wife. Sebesta had plenty of evidence that Carter’s wife was involved in the crimes, including five witnesses working at the jail who overheard Carter and Graves talking in their cells about protecting her, and statements from Carter admitting his wife had used a hammer when he broke down during a lie detector test.
Sebesta told Graves’ attorney, Calvin Garvie, about Carter’s offer to testify that he’d solely committed the crimes, and Garvie decided not to use the testimony during trial. When Garvie was asked under oath during an evidentiary hearing before a Federal Magistrate in 2004 if knowledge of this statement by Carter would have changed anything at trial, he said no. Since three murder weapons had been used – a hammer, knife and gun – Garvie likely thought no one would believe only one person was involved, so decided to go with the approach that his client wasn’t one of the three involved.
Later, when Garvie was asked under oath if Sebesta had told him this, Garvie said he didn’t recall. Note he didn’t say he didn’t say no, he merely said he didn’t recall – probably because he didn’t want to get caught in a lie if a written document showed up later showing otherwise. When Sebesta took a lie detector test administered by the same individual who has handled a significant amount of testing for the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, he successfully passed when he answered affirmatively that he had provided Garvie that evidence.
In 2010, the DA who replaced Sebesta was able to use the overturned verdict for “withholding evidence” as an excuse not to retry Graves, throwing Sebesta under the bus.
The state bar ran with it, putting on a kangaroo court trial against Sebesta where he wasn’t allowed to offer any of this exonerating evidence. Controlled by the left, their agenda was simple: destroy this prosecutor and use him as an example of why the death penalty needs to be abolished. Since the statute of limitations had already run for holding proceedings against Sebesta, incredibly, the legislature was brought in to pass a law allowing the state bar to retroactively reach back and get him.
Curiously, note that most accounts don’t attempt to say that Graves was innocent. The language used is purposely directed at Sebesta instead, merely vague accusations of unethical behavior. Even the left knows someone could dig up the testimony of the witnesses who overheard Carter and Graves talking about the crimes in jail. Since the court hadn’t used the words “actual innocence,” Graves was ineligible to sue the state for damages. The legislature was coerced – again – to jump in and change the law to remove that requirement, and Graves was awarded $1.4 million in damages.
Emboldened with power, the media ran articles such as this one, entitled, “Why Won’t Charles Sebesta Just Go Away?” The left knew their machine was utterly obliterating him, and couldn’t understand why the little guy bothered to fight back.
No one will stick up for Sebesta, everyone is too afraid. Now they are going to pile on him, as there is speculation that lawsuits will be filed against him and maybe even criminal charges.
All Sebesta has is a four-year-old website explaining his side, none of which has been included in news accounts. On it, he refutes several more unfair things he was accused of doing, by attorneys and judges scared to retry Graves and face the wrath of the anti-death penalty movement.
Whether you agree with the death penalty or not, this is a sick way to go about abolishing it, destroying the life of a conservative prosecutor and disrespecting the lives of the six black people who were murdered. Sebesta writes on his website, “The six victims: a 46-year old grandmother, her 16-year old daughter and four grandchildren between the ages of four and nine – all black – will forever be denied the justice they deserve because it was more important for a very left-leaning, liberal media to sacrifice the lives of these victims in exchange for an opportunity to use this case as justification for abolishing the death penalty!”
Too many conservatives say they are libertarian and concerned about overzealous prosecutors. Well, this isn’t 1980 anymore. Conservatives are now scared to become prosecutors, and eventually there will be no one ethical left to serve in this increasingly thankless and bullied profession. When the left takes over the prosecutors’ offices, conservatives and libertarians who have pretended not to notice this happening are going to find themselves wishing they never run afoul of the law.
Some Voters Believe Losing the NHL Franchise Will Have a Negative Impact on the City – Others Lean Toward Financial Responsibility
(Phoenix, AZ) — MBQF, a public opinion survey consulting firm, announced today the results of a recent public opinion survey conducted on June 10, 2015. Results from the automated survey show likely Glendale City voters with 81.2% awareness of this issue. Glendale voters initially view the loss of the Arizona Coyotes as having a negative impact on the city. However, when voters were asked to make a judgment call, they chose their wallets over a handshake.
When asked if the agreement made two years ago with the Arizona Coyotes should be honored, a majority of respondents said that, if given the opportunity, they would try to find a way out of the agreement.
The Question was read as follows:
The Arizona Coyotes spokesman says that they are in complete compliance with the contract with the City of Glendale. The City of Glendale is considering terminating the contract on a technicality because hosting the hockey team is costing the City of Glendale in the last two years 12 million dollars. In this situation would you honor your agreement or would you find a way to get out of the agreement?
Press 1 if you would honor your agreement 42%
Press 2 if you would try to find a way out of the agreement 58%
MBQF Principal Mike Noble concluded, “Based on the results of this survey, the Council’s actions were a direct reflection of what the likely Glendale voter would do if placed in that situation. You cannot fault the Council for its financially prudent decision to terminate the contract. However, it begs the question– What does a handshake mean in Glendale?”
For more information about this survey, or a summary of topline data and wording, please contact MBQF Consulting.
Methodology: This automated survey was completed by MBQF Consulting on June 10, 2015, from a sample of likely voters who reside in the City of Glendale. The sample size was 443 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 4.63
Follow @MBQF_AZ on Twitter for breaking polling news.
An Important Message from Jon C. Altmann, Military Retiree
Politics has gotten ugly. It used to be a calling for decent folks who wanted to serve their community, run for office and try to serve. They were not looking to get rich, gain further office – they only wish to serve. State Senator Jeff Dial is one dedicated to serve.
Members of the Arizona Legislature serve for $24,000 annually. The position takes a lot of hours when the Legislature in session. One has to either be independently wealthy, be self-employed or have a very, very understanding employer who will tolerate the absences from work.
Taking cheap pot-shots at those who are serving has become more commonplace. It drives the question – why would someone want to take on the onslaught of nasty commentary, a lot of it often urban legends or simply made-up, put their spouse and children in the spotlight, and take on the task of representing us?
Along comes Jeff Dial. He works hard as a businessman and for a period in his life, served in the Army Reserve. He is part of the less than 1% in our nation that has volunteered to serve. He passed boot camp. Members of the National Guard and Reserve have two lives – their civilian life with a civilian boss/employer and their military life. Often times, the military life interferes with the civilian life.&nnbsp; A lot of folks say they support the military, but the experience of more than two decades of service has taught me more of those employers and bosses simply say the word “support” – they don’t give it.
Jeff Dial has a lot in common with another great Arizonan who, decades before, volunteered to serve, served for a short period, and like Jeff, never went to war – the late John Driggs, former Phoenix Mayor and someone who kept working hard at making Arizona better after serving America for the short period he was in uniform. John Driggs enlisted in the Navy near the end of World War II and just as he was graduating boot camp, the war ended. John came home, used his G.I. Bill to get an education and buy a home. John Driggs I know well, I presented his burial flag to his widow this past year – he was buried as a veteran. He honorably served. Jeff Dial has worked hard in public policy to bring folks together – like John Driggs. Both humbly served.
Jeff, like many members of the National Guard and Reserve, had problems with the military’s height/weight standards. I have been one of those myself. Guard and Reserve must train on their own – yet are expected to maintain the same physical standards – including physical agility testing – as the active duty. When an active duty member fails one part of the process, they are given work time every day to “train” to overcome the failure. Guard and Reserve have to steal more time from their civilian life.
Let me clarify – you can pass all the runs, push-ups and other exercises and make the times or better – but if your body fat measurement is too high, you fail the test. On the other hand, you can be in great body fat measurement zone, pass all the test except you are slow on a 1.5 mile run, you fail. The standards have become more rigid coincidental to force reductions. It is hard work for reservists, who are generally older than most of those serving on active duty, to keep pace. It means taking more time away from civilian employer and family.
If a military member is out of standard, they can be barred from reserve duty for medical reasons. And the term “satisfactory participation” varies by service branch, and can be put on a military member for failure to pass the physical standards. I challenge any other American to meet the same standards daily. A Reserve or Guard member must effectively work at it each day – on their own time. Active duty members get to do it on “company time.”
In politics there are winners and losers. I’ve been on the losing side twice. I did not go away – in fact, I continued to work my passion to help others and have many times gone to our Legislature to advocate for veterans, military families, public safety and public education. I work with those who defeated me and work with those who supported me. Sour grapes has not been in my diet.
Jeff Dial has a few political enemies – and those of us in the veterans community know those few – who have sour grapes because they have lost to Jeff in past elections. They have been saying Jeff has lied about his military service and recently got The Arizona Republic to pick apart the issue. They found that Jeff did what he said – that he simply served in the Army Reserve and has an honorable discharge. I’ve known Jeff politically for several years. I have never known him to brag anything about his military service, except to say he served.
Where’s the issue?
Important for veterans, Reserve, National Guard and military families – including those families of Reserve and Guard members – Jeff Dial has been a consistent vote for meaningful, thoughtful legislation that helps veterans and military families. He has had enough service to understand the issues and be thoughtful on bills – and he has voted for bills that some of his Tea Party Republican caucus mates have turned down. Some of those bills that the “Tea Party” folks declined are ones that help veterans.
I am in an unique position – years ago I was a news reporter for The Phoenix Gazette and later a manager in the circulation department of the Republic and Gazette. During my many years of service at the newspaper, I was serving in the Navy Reserve. I came to work one day to learn that our publisher, Darrow “Duke” Tully had falsified an entire career as an Air Force officer. He wore uniforms to military events, he bragged about his service and put out that he had even earned the rank of a senior Air Force officer before retiring form the Air Force Reserve. But a political opponent went digging and found no service at all.
As a loyal employee of the paper, I was hurt. Mr. Tully resigned and left town.
Jeff Dial earned his uniform and has not lied. Yet, The Arizona Republic senses some story that he over-played his role in the Army Reserve, yet offers nothing concrete. They readily state by one of their columnists that Jeff Dial has been a moderate Republican – something the editorial pages of The Republic seem to extol. Yet they ran a story that has a questionable news value. They fail to mention who brought them this “story.” Now a group of Republican party precinct committeemen who say they are veterans are protesting. I’m a Republican, too. I left the ranks of being a “PC” some years back because I find that too many of the PCs are extreme in their views and generally don’t well represent the broader based views held by voters. It is no secret that most GOP precinct meetings are dominated by the Tea Party emotions and don’t seem to want to get along. President Gerald Ford said that we can disagree without being disagreeable. I simply got tired of the many of the latter. Now they are soap-boxing.
When I was reporter, my City Editor wanted me to be forthright in my sources and justify them before the paper ran one drop of ink. I was brought up that the paper had to be beyond politics and reproach. The lives and reputations of people could serious damaged by less than stellar research.
I am no novice to veterans issues. I hold an elected national office, sit on two government commissions/advisory groups, one local and one Federal and have worked hard to get legislation passed and signed by the governor. No easy task. The cannon fodder being pointed at Jeff Dial are barrels of junk information attempting to besmirch the good efforts of State Senator Dial. The slimy part of this is the fact that those firing the cannons could be termed “sore losers.” The perpetrators are in the shadows – and what do they have to say for their military records and why some of them are no longer serving?
I must question two things in this quest by some against Stat Senator Dial – why is the paper chasing this non-story and making attacks an office holder that generally meets the editorial positions the paper has taken? More so, as someone who has been a career journalist and published writer, why didn’t the paper do a more careful due-diligence on who brought them the story and why? The newspaper should not allow itself to be use for the sour grapes soap boxing of others, especially when the man involved had done nothing but tried to serve and did so honorably.
I spent 22 years serving active and reserve in national intelligence. I have been a senior enlisted leader three times. I can’t name all my commanding officers and I can’t recall all the junior enlisted leaders who worked under me. I doubt seriously asking Jeff Dial, who was a private who tried serving diligently, asking Jeff about service 16 years ago is a worthy question. Jeff is not alone in service members, active and reserve, we sent home for failing the rigorous physical standards. We sent each of those folks home with honorable discharges because the military has at least the decorum to say they met the bar in being honorable.
If a hard-working veterans’ community advocate like myself knows the details easily and readily, why didn’t the paper’s news team? Jeff Dial deserves an apology. From me, a retired senior enlisted leader, Jeff Dial gets my thanks for showing up and trying to serve our nation. Only 17% of all us who serve, active or reserve, stay for 20 more years as a career. Jeff Dial was among the 83% who came, gave his country some time – and now as an elected official – continues to help veterans and all Arizonans. We cannot defend America without the 83% that Jeff Dial is part of.
Jeff has done more than 99% of everyone else (because only 1% of Americans today have served) – and he continues to serve, despite bush league shots at this character. This grateful veterans advocate thanks Jeff not only for his service in uniform, but the continued service to veterans he has done as a legislator.
About Jon Altmann
Jon Altmann is a retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer, having served active and reserve service for 22 years. He currently serves as an elected national officer of one veterans organization, along with serving on two public bodies, one national the other local, concerned with veterans and military retirees. He is a former newspaper reporter who went onto working more than two decades in the public safety field, mostly as a top end manager or executive. He is a graduate of Arizona State University and additional course work through the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence. His last four assignments were as a senior enlisted leader in major intelligence community commands. Comments and opinions expressed by Jon C. Altmann are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy, or any of the organizations he volunteers his time in helping others.
Recently, I appeared in an interview by the Legal Broadcast Network in which I discuss the Phoenix light rail fiasco. I’d like to share a portion of that interview so Phoenicians can understand what’s at stake in the August election and the enormity of this boondoggle.
The cost to build one mile of freeway is about $56 Million. Compare that to the cost to build one mile of light rail. As staff revealed, Phoenix taxpayers would spend $161 MILLION per mile for this monstrosity. That is almost three times the cost to move far fewer people than what a freeway moves.
And if you look at the number of users who actually use light rail, it’s about one half of one percent of our population. Putting that in perspective, its equivalent to the amount of people who drive down the street in front of your home.
For this $31.5 BILLION proposal, the City of Phoenix could buy 2.2 Million Smart Cars! That is every man, woman and child who could use one of these eco-friendly cars.
Remember, the same people who brought us the downtown Sheraton Hotel at a total loss of $130 Million, now want us to pay for another massive taxpayer $31.5 BILLION boondoggle.
At a time when we need more money going into our education system this takes money away from that priority. Every dollar going into this $161 Million/mile train system is a dollar not going to our children’s education.
No education standards, however well crafted, can teach a student how to use their minds well. Only a teacher can help accomplish this.
Yet Common Core supporters tell us the new education standards in English, language arts and math will give future generations hope, ensure access to a high-quality education and prepare students for wherever their dreams will take them.
Supporters of Common Core also tell us Arizona can opt out of the standards whenever we want, we will not have to shoulder the cost of implementation and the standards will not impact curriculum since they are separate.
They are wrong on all three counts.
Administrators and teachers tell us how many millions of dollars we have invested in implementing Common Core and training teachers, so how could Arizona possibly consider opting out and adopting our own standards, thereby maintaining our state sovereignty in education policy?
In June of 2010, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted the Common Core standards in exchange for $25 million in Race to the Top money. Normally when Arizona hands over policy control in any given area, we receive a favorable dollar-for-dollar match — two dollars for every one we put in or a three to one match. Instead, Arizona received a one to six match where even supporters of the new standards have estimated a price tag of over $150 million for the initial implementation.
The Arizona School Board Association and Arizona Association of School Business Officials estimate $48 million for teacher training, $96 million for curriculum aligned to the new standards and $13 million for the assessment.
Yet supporters still insist schools will maintain their curricular freedom. If so, then why is Arizona being told we must spend nearly $100 million we don’t have on Common Core-aligned curriculum? Aren’t standards and curriculum separate?
Nor does this include a nearly $25 million estimate in future costs to the state for additional hardware and software necessary to implement the new one-size-fits-all test that every Arizona student must take.
It gets worse.
If Arizona decides to offer our own test or a menu of tests that is more in line with the curriculum we are actually teaching in our classrooms, the federal government will threaten us with the loss of $582 million based on a 50-year-old law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
I support reasonable standards of achievement, but they are not enough on their own. What matters most is the quality of learning that occurs in the classroom: teaching that inspires and fosters student learning.
With an increased emphasis on specialization of education in K-12 along with a heavy emphasis on informational texts, the new assessment will force teachers to teach to the test, since their teacher evaluations and school letters grades are based on it, thus further chipping away at curricular freedom. This means our curricular decisions will be directed by decisions made in Washington, D.C., not Arizona.
Supporters can look very hard for the word “education” in the U.S. Constitution but they’d come up empty. It’s not in there. This means education policy should be reserved to the states.
Instead of having to spend this money on implementing federal standards, Arizona ought to reverse course and instead focus our time, talent and treasure on placing excellent teachers in every classroom.
At a recent town hall, a supporter of the standards told me we sent man to the moon with public education. She is correct. And we managed to do it without Common Core. We did it with excellent teachers.
State Rep. Paul Boyer chairs the House Education Committee. He is also a high school teacher.