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.

Tempe’s Prop 404 – What You Need To Know

Tempe Cash

Tempe’s Prop 404 isn’t an increase by $30,000,000! It’s actually an increase by $156,591,369!

Arizona Auditor General Report dated December 5, 2017.

“Permanent Base Adjustment Summary Analysis:

Pursuant to the Arizona State Constitution, the City of Tempe (City) seeks voter approval to permanently adjust the expenditure base of the City as determined by the Economic Estimates Commission. If approved by the voters, the City’s base expenditure limitation will be increased by $30,000,000, adjusted each future year for population and inflation growth since 1979-80.

With voter approval, in 2018-19, the City’s expenditure limitation will increase by $156,591,369, from $342,305,491 to $498,896,860. The City will utilize the additional expenditure authority for any local budgetary purposes including public safety (police and fire/medical rescue) expenditures; community services, parks and youth programs; community development projects; transit operations and maintenance; and pay-as-you-go capital

If approved, the additional authorized expenditures will be funded from state and local sources.”
Just one more example of the progressive socialist Tempe City Council misleading us so they can continue to increase our outrageous taxes and fees!

About the bill:

Proposition 404: Permanent base expenditure adjustment

A strong economy has grown Tempe’s revenues over the last several years, but a state-imposed ceiling puts a cap on the amount municipalities can spend on their services, facilities and amenities. For the third time since the Arizona Legislature put the ceiling in place in 1980, Tempe must ask voters to raise the limit so the city can spend the revenue it brings in. Base adjustments do not raise sales or property tax rates. All annual expenditures still go through a public process and City Council approval.

The General/Special Election is March 13. This is the first Tempe election that will be Ballot by Mail, which means that every registered voter will get a ballot in the mail. Ballots will be mailed Feb. 14. Voters who need a replacement ballot can request one through the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office until March 5; after March 5, replacement ballots are available at either of the two ballot centers in Tempe or at the Recorder’s Office. Voters can also drop off their voted ballots or vote at a ballot center. Ballots must be received by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office or dropped off at a ballot center by 7 p.m. March 13. Maricopa County recommends that ballots be placed in the mail on or before March 7. Additional information is at http://www.tempe.gov/city- hall/city-clerk-s-office/ election-information/ballot- by-mail-elections

Any information about the election, from voter registration to finding the results, can be found at http://www.tempe.gov/city- hall/city-clerk-s-office/ election-information or by calling 480-350-4311.

By Tempe Republican Women

Speaker JD Mesnard Announces New Committee Assignments

Javan D. Mesnard

Speaker Javan Mesnard

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (R-17) today announced several House committee assignment changes and additions.

Representative Tim Dunn (R-13) will take the place of Representative Mosley (R-5) on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and also serve on the House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee; and the House Land, Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.

Representative Dunn has expertise in agriculture and natural resource issues and represents a rural part of the state, so I know his extensive experience will have a positive impact on his committees,” said Speaker Mesnard.

Also, due to the assignment of Representative David Livingston (R-22) as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Speaker Mesnard announced that Majority Leader John Allen (R-15) will take the place of Representative Jeff Weninger (R-17) on the House Banking & Insurance Committee, and will also serve as chair of the committee for the remainder of the session.

Additionally, Representative Becky Nutt (R-14) and Representative Mark Finchem (R-11) will swap assignments on the House Land, Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee and the House Federalism, Property Rights & Public Policy Committee, with Representative Nutt assuming Representative Finchem’s duties as vice-chair.

Justin Olson, Looking Ahead for Ratepayers

Justin Olson

Justin Olson

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Justin Olson believes Arizona ratepayers should benefit from federal tax reform. For Olson, that means Arizona utility companies should pass their tax savings on to Arizona ratepayers.

Recent federal tax reform has resulted in big savings to corporations here in Arizona. In fact, that reform lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent leading to significantly lower expenses to utility companies. Olson, who serves on the Arizona Corporation Commission and oversees utility rates, wants to make sure those savings get passed on to you.

APS, Arizona’s largest utility provider, is already moving to lower customer bills by $119 million a year. Overall, that means an average saving to ratepayers of $4.68 per month. That’s a good start but it also means Arizona’s other utility companies must do the same. To make that happen, Commissioner Olson has asked that the full commission review and adjust rates downward for Arizona ratepayers.

Other commissioners are in agreement with Olson and taken steps to have other utility companies pass their tax savings on to you.

On Wednesday, January 31st, Commissioner Olson conducted a workshop to discuss the impact of federal tax reform on Arizona utility rates. A link to that workshop video and agenda can be found here. The video of the workshop is below.

Olson who has been an advocate for taxpayers for many years is leading by example. Arizona was the first to call for utility rate reductions and now other state commissions are following. It’s refreshing to watch conservative leadership remember who ultimately foots the bill and deserves to reap the benefits of tax reductions.

Thank you, Justin Olson, for your leadership and looking ahead for ratepayers.


Paul Boyer: Tax reform will help Ariz. small businesses, add jobs

Paul BoyerBy Paul Boyer

2018 is an exciting year for Arizona small businesses, which will be able to take advantage of a new 20 percent tax deduction associated with the recently passed federal tax legislation. These savings will not only benefit state small businesses, but employees, job seekers, and communities as well.

Arizona runs on small business. Our state is home to over 500,000 small businesses (defined by the Small Business Administration as employing 500 or fewer), helping employ nearly one million people. And these numbers are not unique to Arizona. Across the country, small businesses account for over 99 percent of all businesses and a net two-thirds of all new private sector jobs.

But despite the invaluable contribution small businesses had on the economy, for far too long, the structure of the old tax system actively worked against growth, with marginal federal rates reaching 40 percent. This over-taxation put small businesses at an inherent disadvantage.

Under the new tax law, a 20 percent deduction is established for all small business income less than $315,000, and non-professional service business income above that threshold. Roughly 95 percent of small businesses earn less than $315,000, meaning the overwhelming majority will benefit from the full 20 percent deduction.

Consider, for example, how this deduction would help an average Arizona small business earning $200,000 a year. This 20 percent deduction would protect $40,000 from federal taxation, freeing up much-needed resources to create jobs and raise wages. I am already hearing from dozens of businesses around the state about their plans to raise wages, hire employees, and expand with their tax savings.

This excess capital in the private economy will fuel economic growth. Contrary to popular belief, business owners will not simply pocket their tax savings. “They will follow the lead of their big business counterparts, hundreds of which, including AT&T, Comcast, and PNC Bank have used their tax savings to give workers bonuses or raise their wages, creating wealthier and more vibrant communities that touch nearly everyone.

We are even seeing specific examples of these savings here in our home state. Arizona’s largest utility, Arizona Public Service Co, announced its intention to reduce consumer bills, citing the lower corporate tax rate as the driving force behind the decision. These collective cuts could reach nearly $120 million, impacting over 25 million customers.

Arizona Public Service is giving the entirety of their tax cut back to customers. For families on a fixed income, these savings are crucial. They are able to live with a stronger sense of financial security thanks to the recent tax bill.

During my time in the Arizona State Legislature, I’ve encountered businesses longing to share their passions with the world. I witnessed humble business ventures transform into leaders of the Arizona business community. From my experience, a tax cut, like the one recently signed into law, would have done wonders in helping get these businesses off the ground. Now new businesses will finally get the relief they’ve needed for so long.

Tax cuts will give small businesses a lot to look forward to this year, meanwhile all Arizonans will reap the benefits.

Republican Paul Boyer, a high-school literature teacher, is chairman of the Arizona House Education Committee and represents Legislative District 20, based in Phoenix and Glendale. Email him at pboyer@azleg.gov

Michael Lafferty Political Contributions Question Candidacy


Michael Lafferty

Michael Lafferty

Friday, a new candidate announced his entry into the Phoenix mayoral race drawing questions about his political motivations among the politically astute.

Michael Lafferty, a Phoenix businessman and developer, entered the race asserting his affiliation as an independent candidate although he is currently registered as a Republican according to Maricopa County voter records.

The Arizona Republic noted that Lafferty’s company owns a 1,500 unit apartment complex near 12th Street and the light rail station. The Republic also stated that Lafferty has been involved in Phoenix business for 34 years.

In his statement, Lafferty said, “I don’t believe that the mayor’s office is a Democratic or Republican office.”

Sonoran Alliance researched his political contributions specifically related to Phoenix candidates and what we found draws into question his motive for seeking the top seat at the City of Phoenix.

As a Republican, Lafferty gave to Democrat candidates and to 2015’s Proposition 104 – a massive tax hike of $31.5 Billion on Phoenix voters over the next 27 years. According to the City of Phoenix Clerk’s office Lafferty gave the following donations:

  • $1,000 on June 30, 2017 to Kate Gallego in her city council race
  • $2,000 on June 23, 2015 to MovePHX in Support of Prop 104
  • $700 on May 8, 2014 to Greg Stanton in his mayoral race
  • $250 on March 9, 2014 to kate Gallego in her city council race
  • $500 on November 12, 2013 to Greg Stanton in his mayoral race
  • $225 on September 3, 2013 to Kate Gallego in her city council race
  • $450 on August 7, 2013 to Warren Stewart in his city council race

Michael Lafferty Phoenix Donations

At no time over the last few years has Lafferty contributed to the campaigns of Republicans Sal DiCiccio, Jim Waring, Bill Gates (when he was on council) or Thelda Williams.

This blog has to ask the question why would a candidate who acknowledges his political registration as Republican and transitioning to Independent, jump into the mayoral race when he has a history of supporting Phoenix Democrats? Why not run as a Democrat? And, as a Republican, why didn’t Lafferty support any of the Republican candidates running for city council?

Political speculators are already arguing that Lafferty is strategically running to eliminate the only Republican, Moses Sanchez, from winning the seat or a slot in a primary runoff contest. In our opinion, Michael Lafferty should re-register as a Democrat.

We’d like to hear your take on this important race for Phoenix Mayor.

U.S. Rep. McSally Supports Landmark Increase in Defense Spending

Martha McSallyWASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha McSally today released the following statement after voting in support of the Bipartisan Budget Act:

“Today I voted with President Trump and Secretary Mattis to halt sequestration and increase defense spending. My vote is for our men and women in uniform who are relying on this boost in defense resources to carry out their mission and to keep us safe. Eight years’ worth of anemic defense budgets and neglect under President Obama’s defense sequester have thrown our military into a full-blown readiness crisis—and Secretary Mattis has made it very clear that, unless we pass a budget and fund the troops they will not have the resources to maintain their operations and deter war. That’s why, from the outset, I demanded that this bill include $700 billion this year and $716 billion next year for our troops to fulfill our military’s request—and it does.

This bill also dismantles another pillar of Obamacare: The ‘Independent Payment Advisory Board’—also known as the Death Panels and tasked with rationing Medicare.

We cannot hold our military hostage while we tackle other long-term spending and move towards fiscal responsibility. This landmark increase in defense spending will finally start to give our troops what they need to keep us safe.”

Rep. Andy Biggs: When will we act like the Republicans our constituents expect us to be?

Andy BiggsThe budget caps deal produced by Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer is a fiscal disaster parading as a military support bill. They argue that we need to fully fund the military. I agree. That’s why we sent a bill to the Senate earlier this week that fully funded the military – without adding more than $500 billion to our deficit over the next 18 months, as their plan does.

Further, the House fully funded the military in the budget bills sent to the Senate almost six months ago. The Senate has taken no action on those bills, but keeps forcing short-term spending bills, which even Senator Lindsey Graham agrees, is extremely harmful to our military.

This bad deal is an unconditional surrender on Republican principles and our platform.

If Congress approves the spending package, federal spending will grow by more than 10 percent. As a part of the deal, our nation’s debt limit will be suspended. This means that Congress will spend as much as it can borrow – without limits. Plan on even more national debt ahead.

If we are going to spend more than the credit limits, not to mention more than we bring in on the revenue side each month, we should be enacting serious spending cuts. Spending reductions should not be treated as an afterthought on a massive spending package.

After caving in on spending, the bill actually funds our troops for only another six weeks, until we are forced to consider our sixth spending bill of the fiscal year just a few weeks from now. This is absurd – and irresponsible.

Congress’s pattern of relying on short-term spending bills – on average, more than five times a year for the last 20 years – has brought on a plethora of problems. Our military is subjected to uncertainty in planning and execution of its missions. Our agencies incur the waste of preparing for government shutdowns multiple times each year. The dissipation incurred by failure of the Senate to pass the appropriations bills has also heaped an enormous national debt on this and future generations.

This is nothing short of self-immolation through legislative malfeasance. We are putting our grandchildren in an awful bind. If we cannot pass a budget and reduce the size of government now, we must wonder what kind of America they will see when they grow up. Will it be a thriving, free nation where they can fulfill their greatest aspirations, or will it be a broken and bankrupt country?

Almost six months ago, the House passed twelve appropriations bills and sent them over to the Senate. The Senate has had an opportunity for months to consider these bills and give them an up-or-down vote through regular order. This could have solved our problems. Yet, the other chamber has refused to perform its constitutional responsibility, threatening the financial stability of our military personnel.

Our troops are suffering now due to our lack of courage to pass a financially responsible, long-term budget, and our grandchildren will suffer later due to our propensity to kick the can down the road.

When will we act like the Republicans our constituents expect us to be? When will we cut spending, balance the budget, and eliminate our national debt? The time should be now, but sadly, we are too set in our free-spending, big government ways to change.

I strongly oppose this deal. We must drain the swamp and decrease the size of government. I implore my colleagues to vote against this legislation.