Archives for March 2018

Dick Foreman: Getting back to basics in public education

By Dick Foreman

When it comes to education basics, the seas are not just getting choppy, they’ve been choppy and seem to be getting worse. One has to wonder, after all these years of research, student data, and models of reform from all 50 states to compare to, what is really working? Have we even addressed our most basic needs?

Have we figured out this “parent choice” thing yet?

ABEC is proud to not only represent business, community and education voices, but also traditional public as well as public charter schools. We realize and support, a system of parent choice that preserves opportunities for school children of every age. Indeed, many education reforms begin with “choice.” But we must also remember that the choice by design or default of the vast majority of Arizona parents remains the traditional public school. Quite simply, Arizona families both want and expect their neighborhood schools to be both excellent choices and safe neighborhood assets. There is no rocket science engaged in this deduction. You can arrive at this conclusion not only by what school parents most often choose for their children to attend but how they buy and sell their families most precious asset, their homes.

But today, education in Arizona suffers for at least three very basic reasons.

Dick Foreman

Dick Foreman

First, the choice parents make should be based on opportunity, not failure. Some policymakers believe that the best accountability for a failing public school is to close it or abandon it. But just on the taxpayer side of things alone, stranding their assets based on the choice of a few parents is a poor calculation. In fact, it permits a catastrophic result for both children and the property values of the entire community. Making matters worse, state policies that enable increasing disparities in state education funding formulas coupled with the increased erosion of public funds through targeted tax credits is a strategy for destabilization, not student achievement or respect for choice.

Making matters worse, responsibility is dodged. When parental concerns for quality are raised, a “buyer beware” approach to selecting schools is suggested. At the accountability zenith of this policy is a traditional public or charter school whose doors are shuttered. We should never accept the failure of a public school, and we should never celebrate this heart-breaking news as an accountability. After all, the reasons for this failure were not molecularly connected to the brick and mortar!

Secondly, we know what best enables student achievement. Simply put, it is the teacher that matters. It has always been the teacher. And it will likely always be the teacher. Here’s how Kata Mihaly, economist for the Rand Corporation who specializes in using econometric modeling to assess educational achievement, puts it:

“When it comes to student performance on reading and math tests, a teacher is estimated to have two to three times the impact of any other school factor, including services, facilities, and even leadership.”

Getting bogged down in school leadership models, lawsuits over capital facilities, competition or engaged but selective parent choice as the drivers of achievement will not address Arizona student needs. It will, at best, address some student needs. And that’s not good enough for 1.1 million Arizona school children. And it is not good enough for taxpayers.

What is good enough?

Simply stated, it’s keeping a qualified teacher in position for as long a period of time as is possible. The teacher and their skills remain the single greatest barometer of student achievement that can be measured.

Third, the single greatest predictor of student success remains demographics. If a student lives in poverty, their lack of achievement is indeed predictable and unacceptable. But can this be addressed by policy? Of course, it can. In fact, 43 states have added a “poverty weight” to their school funding formulas to do just that, including Arizona. But unfortunately, Arizona has very limited application in this respect (largely, a limited weight for 3rd Grade reading).

Here is an interesting data point on this failure from Diane Ravitch’s Blog of March 1, 2018:
*Students in the South and Southwest face a “double disadvantage” because their states provide low funding with no boost in funding for high poverty districts. States with flat or regressive funding include … Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico in the Southwest.

*Only a few states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wyoming, provide high levels of school funding and distribute more funding to their high poverty districts. Notably, New Jersey and Massachusetts are the top performing states on student outcomes.”

Perhaps there is wisdom in getting back to the basics.

How about we work with policymakers to lay down the swords of philosophical agendas and work together to positively address the real basics? First, let’s respect all public education choices and resist creating winners and losers. Parent involvement and choice should always be encouraged but not confused as a necessary antecedent to student achievement overall. Secondly, let’s encourage maintaining a highly trained, long-term teaching workforce in Arizona’s classrooms. And thirdly, let’s recognize poverty as the single greatest indicator of student achievement and do something about it in the school funding formula.

NOTE: Dick Foreman is president & CEO of ABEC.  To contact, please send him an e-mail.

The Arizona Business and Education Coalition (ABEC) is the coalition of Arizona business and education leaders committed to helping create public education policy essential to a vibrant, growing Arizona economy. The coalition is a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, statewide membership organization focused on K-12 public education while recognizing the importance of early childhood development, post-secondary education and workforce development.

Republican Wendy Rogers Gives Speech at Wall Prototypes Ahead of President Trump Visit

Wendy RogersFlagstaff, AZ – Arizona 1st District Congressional candidate, Wendy Rogers, a conservative entrepreneur and retired Air Force pilot, who supported Donald Trump in the primaries, visited the border wall prototypes near the Mexican border this weekend just days ahead of President Trump’s expected visit. After inspecting the wall prototypes, Wendy Rogers gave a speech detailing her determination to build the wall, end chain migration, and fight for other key conservative immigration initiatives when elected.

President Trump is expected to visit the wall prototypes this week, where he is expected to highlight his immigration initiatives, mainly to fund and build the wall.

A video of the speech Wendy Rogers gave can be found on Rogers’ Facebook page.

The full text of Rogers’ speech is below:

“Good afternoon, I’m Wendy Rogers, Republican candidate for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District.

I’m speaking to you from the prototypes of President Trump’s border wall, which he is fighting hard to get funded and built. Our nation’s sovereignty, security, and the rule of law should be top priority for any elected official in Washington DC.

Unfortunately, however, they are not. We don’t enforce our laws.  We allow immigrants to enter our nation illegally. We allow drugs, crime, and gang activity to run rampant, especially on our southern border.

We lose billions due to fraud, waste, and abuse stemming from our immigration programs and subsidies. Wages of American workers continually decline because of suppressed wages from illegal immigration.

I served as an American Air Force officer. I know what security looks like. What we have now is a complete and utter mess. We are losing our sovereignty and our respect for the rule of law.

It’s time to do something about it.

You see . . . we still have politicians who give double-talk . . . they talk about fences instead of the wall.They talk about amnesty for millions of illegal aliens in order to give us even a fraction of the wall. No! This is not what we the people voted for!

We have serious problems. Our nation will not last unless we fix this, and fix it now. No more double-talk.

Build the wall. No amnesty – immigrants must enter legally or not at all. Crackdown on sanctuary cities. Arrest elected officials who undermine our sovereignty. End chain migration, which is a corrosive policy that endangers innocent Americans. It should’ve have ended long ago.

End the visa lottery, so we don’t have to worry about admitting terrorists. Keep the travel ban in place until countries can demonstrate they are civilized on the world stage. End foreign aid to countries who deplore us. Put E-verify in place to double-check workers who enter, so we can be sure they’re legitimate. Crackdown on MS-13. Enforce our laws! We veterans understand what security looks like. We know you don’t leave a section of your perimeter unprotected. We know there must be solid access control. And we know you need to remove bad actors. This is common sense!

America First. Arizona First. It is time to get this done. Col. Wendy Rogers – out.”

Wendy Rogers is a retired Air Force officer who attained the rank of Lt. Col., became one of the U.S. military’s first female pilots, is an entrepreneur and homeschool mom.

Frosty Taylor: Republicans Who Vote By Proxy Need Not Apply

By Calamity June

Early Monday morning, readers of Frosty Taylor’s Fake News were treated to a yet another truth-deprived rant. Fresh off of her attacks on hard-working PCs and foreign-born Republicans, Frosty has created yet another fake enemy at which to direct her ire: PCs who vote by proxy at Republican statutory meetings.

That’s right…at a time when leftwing billionaire Tom Steyer is pouring tens of millions of dollars into our state, when we are less than two months from a crucial special election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, and when Washington liberals are already plotting to impeach our President, Frosty continues to insist on finding insignificant issues that are only meant to divide Republicans. In the case of proxy voting, the legislation being championed by Frosty is a solution without a problem.

It would be difficult to make a point-by-point refutation of the Fake News contained in Frosty’s rant; on the whole, the entire piece is flawed by half-truths, personal attacks, and outright lies. But there are a few areas that must be addressed:

  • Frosty claims that some PCs carry “40 or 50 proxies” to state and LD meetings. This is not just a lie, it is demonstrably false according to Frosty’s own analysis. Last year, Frosty provided a table of how many proxies were carried in each legislative district, so she of all peoples should know how many proxies could have been carried by one individual PC.  Given the rules governing proxies, it is literally impossible for any one PC to carry 40 proxies, let alone 50. Frosty surely knows this, yet perpetuates this lie, anyway. The definition of Fake News.
  • Next, Frosty may find proxies objectionable, but she certainly isn’t immune to using them herself, nor are her allies. While she was not elected to the State Committee, she did attend a special meeting to replace Steve Montenegro in LD 13.  She carried 7 proxies. Archie Dickinson, the author of the anti-proxy resolution, carried 7 at the Mandatory Meeting. Timothy Schwartz, who testified in favor of the legislation and “begged” the legislature to intervene, carried 5. Marianne Ferrari, the author of the failed “Recall Lines” movement, did not attend the Mandatory Meeting, but sent in a proxy to represent her. So much hypocrisy, but again not surprising.
  • Frosty compares voting by proxy to ballot harvesting, the practice of collecting unlimited ballots from voters. This is a completely false analogy and even a woman as woefully uninformed as Frosty should know this. Ballot harvesting was objectionable because of the potential for abuse and election fraud. Not to mention the fact that Arizona voters have 4 full weeks in which they may cast their ballots. County and State meetings, by contrast, are on Saturdays; practicing Jewish Republicans, families with children, as well as others, may find it impossible to attend a Saturday meeting. Given her past attacks of Mormon and foreign-born Republicans, perhaps it is no surprise that Frosty would object to Jews having a voice within our Party.
  • And finally, Frosty goes on to attack the current AZGOP party leadership, an ongoing pattern of hers after her multiple failed attempts to defeat popular chairman Jonathan Lines. Frosty strongly backed Lines’ opponent, Jim O’Connor, in 2017. She was a fierce proponent of the ill-fated recall effort last summer. And earlier this year, she gave voice to a quixotic and unsuccessful attempt to remove Chairman Lines at the AZGOP Mandatory Meeting. Her lies include accusations of “secrecy…financial questions…controlled elections.” All of these attacks are, of course, baseless and amount to nothing more than so many sour grapes. Frosty lost, and now she’s throwing a fit that she can’t change the outcome of the election. Get over it.

As Frosty’s readership continues to dwindle, Republicans are rallying behind our strong GOP candidates and our successful State Party. True conservatives are standing strong for lower taxes, and fighting back against the far left who are trying to buy our state. As we enter the election season, we once again must tune out the lies of the Fake News media…and that continues to include Fake News Frosty Taylor.

Remembering Carole Joyce

Good Morning,

Earlier this week, we lost a true believer in the Republican cause. Carole Joyce was a strong conservative, a committed Republican, but beyond that, she was a kind, welcoming soul. Carole knew that the best way to grow our party was to be inclusive, welcoming and accepting of everyone who wants to see more Republicans elected. She was a model activist, a natural leader, and a friend to anyone who knew her.

My predecessor, Robert Graham, knew Carole very well, and he wrote a few words as a tribute to this strong, vibrant, kind spirit.

I hope you will take the time to read it, and as we head into the weekend, please keep Carole and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you,

Chairman Lines


Remembering Carole Joyce

Standing 5 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing close to 100 lbs. soaking wet, Carole Joyce is proof that size does not matter.  Carole and her infamous email handle were a combined force not to be taken lightly.

Naturally, Carole was a wife, mother, nurturer and a loyal friend.  She cared deeply about those around her and had an unwavering love for the greatest country in the world – The United States of America.

Her love of people and love of nation motivated Carole to lifelong service as Republican Activist.  By word and deed, Carole would tell anyone interested that the Republican party has the best governing principles and values anywhere.

If someone proved to be a “hard sell” with respect to the Republican Party, Carole would invite them over for a homemade lunch, dinner or surprise them with her tasty baked goods.  On more than one occasion Carole fed the State’s electeds at her home.  Her guests ranged from Governors, Secretaries of State, State Treasures, Congressmen, and Senators – among others.

Over her well-baked meals, she would compliment their service, share her concerns and encourage new paths.  Carole understood the simple principle that serving with love would convert people to the GOP and open meaningful discussions with our representatives at all levels of government.  An approach that has helped shape policy in Arizona by protecting the lives of the unborn, gun rights, traditional marriage, free markets, education and public safety.

Most have little idea about the remarkable history behind Carole Joyce and the influence she has had on this country.  Carole Joyce was a former Board Member of the NRA and always a Life Member, an Olympic Small-bore Rifle Shooting Coach, Nurse working with First Responders, volunteer, Precinct Committeeman, State Committeeman, Corresponding Secretary for Legislative District 24, Member of the 2016 Electoral College and recipient of The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arizona Republican Party.

Carole was the “action” in Activist. She made phone calls, walked neighborhoods, donated to candidates and the GOP.  Not having the ability to drive did not keep her from finding speakers, organizing events and attending state and county meetings. No name-calling, no idleness…she worked.  Her ambition was to win and do whatever it would take to protect the people of Arizona.

She had a mind of her own and would fight for what she believed was right. Some will remember her as a faithful wife, loving mom, best friend, great cook, fearless activist or someone who cared. Carole did not remove humanity from politics she brought them together.  She will be missed.

Robert Graham served as the Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party from January 2013 though January, 2017.