Poll: What Should John Huppenthal Do?

Superintendent Huppenthal Announces $5M Federal Grant Award to Upgrade Statewide Data System

(Phoenix, Ariz.- June 19, 2012) Superintendent John Huppenthal announced today that the Arizona Dept of Education (ADE) was awarded a $5 million federal grant to advance the development of Arizona’s statewide longitudinal data system. This funding will help the state and its school districts improve students’ academic achievement by enhancing Arizona’s ability to make data driven education decisions.

Specifically, this grant will be used for the development of a dashboard for ADE’s longitudinal data system, providing consolidation and visualization of data that now is randomly and chaotically embedded in a variety of current IT configurations.

“Nothing is more important than the success of our students and this grant will help create a holistic picture of student progress,” said John Huppenthal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “This funding will provide one more piece of the puzzle in our ultimate goal of an integrated data system that serves the needs of administrators, teachers, parents and students long into the future.”

Since taking office in 2010, Superintendent Huppenthal has made it a priority to address the failing statewide Student Accountability Information system (SAIS) which has been a significant problem for over a decade. SAIS has caused an enormous burden on our school districts, requiring them to spend countless hours and imposing an enormous human resource burden to reconcile errors generated from ADE’s failing IT system.

Over the last two years, ADE has developed partnerships with the Governor’s office, county superintendents, districts and charter schools , community colleges and the universities to build an efficient technology system that will improve accountability by tracking student academic progress.

Together with funds allocated by the Arizona legislature, this grant will help lay the groundwork for replacing the state’s longitudinal data system and give schools more timely information on student enrollment and academic achievement. Aligning with the Governor’s Arizona Education Reform Plan, it will assist our Arizona’s educators by responding to the increasing demands for timely and actionable data across all K-12 schools and throughout Arizona’s diverse, school choice education landscape.

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SPI John Huppenthal Delivers State of Education Speech to Joint House and Senate Legislative Education Committees

For Immediate Release: February 13, 2012
CONTACT: Andrew LeFevre

Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal Delivers “State of Education” Speech to Joint Meeting of House and Senate Legislative Education Committees 

Phoenix, AZ, February 13, 2012 – Today, Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal Delivered the following “State of Education” speech before a joint meeting of the House and Senate Legislative Education Committees:

“Chairman Crandall, Chairman Goodale, members of the House and Senate Education Committees, dedicated staff, honored guests and fellow Arizonans.

Thank you for inviting me to share my perspective on the state of Arizona’s education system and my vision for transformative improvement. After just one year in office, and on the eve of Arizona’s Centennial, I am pleased to report on the progress we’ve made at the Department of Education and the opportunities we have before us to lead the nation’s education system in the next 100 years to follow.

As I stand here as Superintendent of Public Instruction, my thoughts go to a public school teacher, Jack Segerson. Jack cared about a student who had potential but not direction – a student from a poor but proud family who was never told he could go to college. That high school student was me, 40 years ago.

Coach Segerson, as I called him, literally called the Dean of Engineering at Northern Arizona University to enroll me. He sent me on my way. I’ve had a passion for the transformative power of education ever since.

If Coach Segerson were still with us today, he would be so proud of all of us and the stage we have set for great education progress over the next few years. Because of the education choice environment the legislature has pioneered, Arizona has among the best district and charter schools in the world for parents who know how to find them.

Now, it is our challenge, our duty, to make those schools available to every parent and every child in Arizona.

We are now on the verge of great education reform in Arizona – reform that will accelerate our students’ academic achievement in the coming years.

But, we also face a crossroads. One path allows us to seize upon the enormous potential for academic growth – if we do it right. Other paths lead us simply to maintain an unacceptable status quo or worse – if we do it wrong.

This morning, I will review with you where Arizona’s education system currently stands, and how my Department is partnering with other states, the Governor’s Office, WestEd, our universities, all levels of government, school boards, school administrators, charter and district schools, teachers, parents and many other education stakeholders to move beyond the inflexibility of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

I’ll talk about what ADE has done to improve service levels to the education community, the unique challenges Arizona faces, and how we must pursue reform.

Finally, I’ll discuss redesigning the classroom around blended learning and initiatives my Department is piloting to advance education at an accelerated rate.

Before we can move forward, it is important to understand where Arizona stands relative to other states, because as the famous football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “If you’re not keeping score, you’re only practicing.”

And, in education, if you aren’t keeping score scientifically, there’s even a chance you are moving backwards.

The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) is the gold standard used to compare student achievement across states. The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam is the standard used to compare student achievement across nations. Using these two measures, we can see where Arizona ranks both nationally and internationally.

Let’s make this simple: On the PISA scale, which evaluates student academic achievement across the world, Shanghai, China students rank at the 70th percentile while Arizona students rank at the 42nd percentile…need I say more?

Another way to view Arizona’s academic achievement profile is to look at the trend of our NAEP math and reading scores at the 4th and 8th grade levels. As you can see the reading trend over the last fourteen years has been as flat as a pancake, while the math trend has moved slightly upward.

On an encouraging note, in this year’s NAEP Arizona ranked third in the nation in student academic growth from 2009 to 2011 – when math and reading test scores are aggregated. We can all be proud that in Grade 4 math NAEP scores, Arizona led the nation in growth from 2009 to 2011.

While this small trend is encouraging, while we have many great schools, overall, our education system has failed to meet its potential.

We face enormous economic and cultural challenges as a border state with a rapidly growing high-poverty population. Many of our students come from severe poverty, enduring poverty and dislocated poverty.

But we can ill afford to simply make excuses. We must prevail – for the sake of more than one million children in our K-12 public school system. If Arizona is going to be in the game, we will need nothing short of revolutionary methods to overcome these challenges. At ADE we are developing these transformative methods because tinkering around the edges of slow, mediocre progress will not suffice: our education system requires front on, immediate, substantial improvement.

Over the past decade the Arizona State Legislature and the State Board of Education have set the stage for education reform. These measures have expanded school choice and empowered parents to choose the best educational environment for their children.

There are also many recent education reforms that my Department is focused on implementing, including:

  • The overhaul and stabilization of the Department’s education information technology systems
  • Arizona’s new College- and Career-Ready Standards
  • A brand new assessment that aligns with our new college- and career-ready standards
  • Arizona’s A-F School Accountability Letter Grade System
  • The reforms made possible by Arizona’s $25 million Race to the Top grant
  • Statewide teacher and principal evaluations
  • Seeking flexibility waivers under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

In 2010, The Arizona State Board of Education adopted new and more rigorous math and language arts standards aimed at ensuring our students are college- and career-ready. These new standards were a part of a national state-led effort to create more academic rigor.

Following their adoption, ADE’s team began working intensely to transition our old standards to the new more rigorous standards. We are now working with schools across the state to train and support teachers with implementation in the classroom. Our more rigorous standards will be fully implemented by 2014.

Since our current AIMS assessment is not designed to determine our students’ mastery of the new college-and career-ready standards, Arizona has assumed a leadership role on the Partnership for Assessing Readiness for Career and College (PARCC) consortium. We are also taking independent steps to beef up AIMS’ ability to assess college- and career-readiness.

Several of Arizona’s most significant reforms have been in the area of accountability. We all recognize it is essential Arizona have one comprehensive school accountability system to drive and inform greater academic achievement. Currently, we have three school accountability systems—two state and one federal.

This year, under the leadership of Chairman Crandall and Chairman Goodale, we will streamline our two state accountability systems into one system–the A-F system–which looks at both academic growth and achievement to provide a better and more accurate measure of each schools’ true performance.

We’re already seeing the positive impact of the new A-F district and school labels. For starters, parents are becoming better consumers of education knowledge. Districts can no longer hide behind their highest performing schools. Schools can no longer hide behind their highest performing students.

Schools, districts and charters are now being evaluated on how well they are advancing all of their students, with particular emphasis on the lowest performing students – the students who need our help the most.

Schools with historically low performing students are now in the game, because they are not being judged on their test scores alone, but also by their ability to “academically grow” their students – how much their students’ learning progresses over time. This accountability system allows us, as policy makers, to see which schools, districts and charters are best meeting Arizona’s educational challenges.

Another reform effort we’re focused on is alleviating some of the burdensome regulations from the U.S. Department of Education while reinstating local flexibility and control.

By all indications, it is unlikely that Congress will reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act this year, leaving in place a federal accountability structure that is both burdensome and lacking in scientific foundation.

As a result, Arizona is pursuing the largest possible waiver under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This waiver will allow us to free ourselves from burdensome regulations; streamline duplicative processes and enable Arizona to use the very best science to drive education policy.

Recently, we were awarded $25 million in a Race to the Top grant, with the help of the Governor’s Office and WestEd. This grant will provide additional resources to our schools and to regional centers in partnership with our county school superintendents. This funding will be used to implement Arizona’s new, more rigorous, college- and career-ready standards.

Race to the Top Grant will also improve our data system by supporting development of data linkages with teachers, students and courses, so that we can provide better information to teachers about their students’ academic gains.

In 2011, the legislature passed SB1040: teacher/principal evaluations and the State Board of Education developed and adopted a framework for schools to implement these evaluations. At ADE we are developing a reliable, research-based teacher and principal evaluation model in collaboration with teachers, administrators and national and state research experts. Measuring the link between instructional quality and leadership and how much students learn is critical if Arizona is to move education forward.

In developing our evaluation system, my staff and I are working with the Gates Foundation, Gallup, WestEd, Battelle for Kids along with other state and national research experts. These evaluations should be used to identify our best performing teachers and principals so that their practices can be highlighted, and used to help other teachers and principals improve. Every student deserves quality teachers and a quality principal.

When I think back over the last year, I feel as though my staff and I have run 365 marathons. We have developed a strategic plan that isn’t collecting dust on a shelf. At ADE, we live, eat and breathe implementing our strategic plan every minute of every day. It is a part of our culture.

Arizona Department of Education Improvements:

  • Overhauled and stabilized education information technology systems
  • Reorganized the Arizona Department of Education to provide better support and service
  • Developed a robust, comprehensive and daily executed strategic plan
  • Redesigned and overhauled ADE’s website to better serve our diverse education community
  • Developed internal and external newsletters to better inform education stakeholders about important education initiatives
  • Created and distributed external customer service surveys to identify what ADE is doing right and areas where ADE can improve
  • Expanded ADE’s research capacity to analyze education programs and initiatives in a scientifically sound capacity
  • Organized numerous stakeholder group meetings with key education partners

We have reorganized the entire agency to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency. We are transforming ADE from a compliance bureaucracy into an education customer support center that strives to deliver ‘knock your socks off’ customer service to ALL education stakeholders.

We have transformed the Department at breakneck speed, and our divisions are now organized around service and support function rather than by state and federal program area funding source.

While we celebrate our successes and are optimistic about our direction, one major barrier is keeping us from providing even basic, acceptable levels of service to the education community—the inadequacy of our Information Technology System.

Many of you have heard me speak of the challenges of our Student Accountability Information System (SAIS), and our State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS). At ADE we have over 150 IT systems that provide important services and supports to our schools. Unfortunately, these very IT programs are tremendously burdening our schools because these important IT programs have not been maintained. These IT programs are not user-friendly. These 100 IT programs require duplicative, costly manual entry into systems by thousands of school administrators.

Our education IT system has been in serious neglect for many years.

When it comes to improving our IT system, we have lived up to the trust you placed in us this past year. With your help we have stopped the major bleeding in the body of our IT system. We replaced the hardware, we replaced the operating system and we reprogrammed over 600 sections of code.

But our IT system is still in intensive care. Without continued, focused care our IT system will continue to linger on life support, and it is our teachers, administrators and students who will suffer.

It is a mark of shame for me that I was Chairman of Education and on the Appropriations Committees for so many years and this situation was allowed to deteriorate to this extent. It will be a mark of shame on all of us if we are still in this same situation 8 years from now.

I can only wish someone had honestly outlined how dire the situation was, and grabbed me by the lapels and said, with force, “If you have any pride you will take control of this situation and fix it.” That’s what I am doing right now.

I’m grabbing you all by the lapels, and saying, to anyone who has pride in having a great education culture, “This situation is intolerable.”

Until our IT system is fully fixed, it imposes extraordinary administrative costs on our schools. It denies principals the information they need to lead their schools; It denies teachers the information they need to educate their students; And it denies parents the guidance they need to make informed school choice decisions.

It not only denies them, but it creates chaos in the system, distracting valuable leadership time from the mission of empowering our children to succeed.

I’ve been in this business for a long time, and I’ve been in your shoes. I know how difficult it is to get a dime out of this process, much less fix a problem of this magnitude.

But I also know that, without this, schools won’t be able to reduce their administrative costs, teachers won’t have the information they need, and we cannot even begin to compete on a national or international level. I wouldn’t be fulfilling my responsibilities as the elected leader of our schools if I did not make clear the gravity of this situation.

It is one of my top three priorities to build a high quality IT system to service the needs of our education community. Schools, districts and charters need it for effective budgeting, tracking students, paying schools, and driving both education improvement and cost savings to the state.

We are asking you to continue to partner with us in developing the IT programs needed to improve our state’s education system and to allow us to seek all avenues of funding. Last week, Chairman Crandall heard our bill, SB1455, which would create one possible funding infrastructure to provide additional resources to improve our statewide data systems.

We are equally committed to finding innovative methods that will transform our 200-year-old model and dramatically move student achievement forward.

While the legislative reforms I’ve already talked about hold out the promise of greater accountability, improving the quality of our teachers, and principals, and raising our education standards to increase student achievement, I’m convinced new technologies and better, more effective teaching methods will ultimately provide the breakthrough we need to truly transform our classrooms into world-class learning environments.

We need to move from our archaic one size- fits-all-all classroom model, to a model that differentiates learning; assesses our students on a real time basis, and maximizes their intrinsic motivation.

Now I’d like to share with you an exciting and promising classroom redesign program we are piloting with hundreds of students in several schools, with the promise of over 8,000 students in one school district alone. While still early in the process, our pilot program, Freethrows, is beginning to show enormous promise for significantly improving elementary math achievement, basic math fluency and student engagement.

We also have the opportunity to develop a Freethrows program for language arts and phonics. Our expectation is that Freethrows Language Arts will substantially increase student literacy and help all students excel under “Move on when Reading.”We are committed to having every child reach proficiency in reading by 3rd grade.

Reading proficiency is the cornerstone to future academic success; we cannot leave one child behind. We are asking you to follow our math progress in Yuma elementary District. If we can continue to produce the excellent results in student math growth, that we have initially observed, we expect that you will want us to develop a Freethrows environment to produce the same great results in reading proficiency.

I’d like to conclude my presentation today with a short video that shows what’s possible when we transcend the outdated classroom model.

Again, thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts on education, our need for transformative education reform in Arizona and our many education initiatives at the Department. I look forward to partnering with you in the days, months and years to come as we all endeavor to create a better future for Arizona’s education system and, most importantly, for Arizona’s children.

Thank you and I welcome any questions you may have.”

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Superintendent John Huppenthal to Close Out Arizona School Choice Week Festivities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2012
CONTACT: Andrew LeFevre

Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal to Close Out Arizona School Choice Week Festivities
Arizona’s Groundbreaking Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Ruled Constitutional

Phoenix, AZ, Thursday, January 26, 2012 – On Friday morning, January 27 at 11:00 AM, Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal will close out National School Choice Week activities here in Arizona by addressing thousands of students and parents at Edu-Prize campus located at 4567 West Roberts Road in Queen Creek, Arizona. Along with message on school choice week, Superintendent Huppenthal will be discussing the ruling earlier this week by Arizona Superior Court upholding the constitutionality of Arizona’s innovative Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) for special needs students.

“I am a firm believer that educational decisions should be made at the most local level possible,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. “To me that means parents should be able to make the decision on which school will best meet the unique educational needs of their child.”

Friday, January 28 marks the end of the second annual National School Choice Week. All across the nation, school choice advocates and organizations, grassroots networks, parents and students held hundreds of events to increase awareness of the importance of providing effective educational options for every child. Arizona’s events included rallies and balloon launches at schools all across the state, a screening of the award winning documentary “Waiting for Superman,” and a virtual Congressional Town Hall.

As an added bonus to the School Choice Week activities, on Wednesday a Superior Court Judge found that Arizona’s ESAs which benefit special needs students was constitutional under Arizona law. Under the ESA program, parents are able to take 90 percent of the state education funding that is provided to their child and use it to purchase educational services that they deem best meet their child’s unique needs.

“The judge’s ruling was a great victory for parents and our most vulnerable students,” exclaimed Superintendent Huppenthal. “The ESA program epitomizes what school choice is all about – giving parents direct control over their children’s education.”

“To me one of Arizona’s greatest educational assets is our school choice environment,” continued Superintendent Huppenthal. “I am very excited to be able to be at Edu-Prize and hear firsthand from the students and parents about how being able to choose this school has made a difference in their education.”

Superintendent John Huppenthal has been a champion in the struggle to give parents greater control of their children’s education for over 18 years. In 1994 he led Arizona efforts to bring charter schools to the state. As Senate Education Committee Chairman in 1995, he sponsored and helped pass legislation that took the caps off the number of charter schools allowed under the law. He led the effort in developing some of the strongest home school and public school open enrollment laws in the nation. He was also a leader in the efforts to allow individuals and corporations to claim educational tax credits to fund student scholarships. Due to his efforts, tens of thousands of students have been able attend a school of their parent’s choice.

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Arizona State of Education Elects Leadership for 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 24, 2012
CONTACT: Vince Yanez

PHOENIX – Today, the State Board of Education elected its leaders for 2012. The Board unanimously elected public member Jaime Molera to serve as its president and Tom Tyree, Yuma County Schools Superintendent, to serve as its vice president.

“I commend both President Molera and Vice President Tyree for their ongoing leadership with the State Board of Education,” said Governor Brewer. “Each of these individuals has played a vital role in improving the standard of education in Arizona. I look forward to their continued exceptional service to our schools and to our children.”

The State of Education is responsible for supervising and regulating the conduct of Arizona’s K-12 system. The Board is comprised of 10 gubernatorial appointees and Superintendent of Public Instruction, Hon. John Huppenthal.

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Statement of Superintendent Huppenthal on TUSD Governing Board’s Decision to Immediately Suspend Their Mexican American Studies Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 11, 2012
CONTACT: Andrew LeFevre

Statement of Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal on the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board’s Decision to Immediately Suspend Their Mexican American Studies Program

Phoenix, AZ, January 11, 2012 – Today, Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal released the following statement regarding the action by the Tucson Unified School District’s (TUSD) governing board to immediately suspend their Mexican American Studies Program:

“Last night, by a 4-1 vote, the governing board of the Tucson Unified School District resolved that ‘All Mexican-American Studies (MAS) courses and teaching activities, regardless of funding source, shall be suspended immediately.’

I am very encouraged by the swift and decisive action taken by the members of the governing board last night to address the issues that I raised in my final ruling on January 6, 2012 of the district being in violation of A.R.S. § 15-112.

I am currently reviewing the official resolution that was adopted by the governing board and, upon consultation with TUSD representatives, will make a determination on appropriate method to verify their compliance with A.R.S. § 15-112.

I look forward to working with Superintendent Pedicone and other TUSD leadership to find ways to improve their schools and to provide a quality education for all TUSD.”

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NE Valley Pachyderm Coalition Meeting – New Location – Wed, Jan 11

 

Join us at our new location to hear Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal talk about state education policy. You can expect to hear how he challenged the La Raza curriculum in Tucson schools and get his take on the education bills the legislature will be considering this session.

 

Here is the information as text for easier copying and pasting:

The Northeast (NE) Valley Chapter of the Pachyderm Coalition January 2012 Meeting

Note the NEW LOCATION for our DINNER MEETING!!!

Superintendent of Public Instruction

John Huppenthal

who will be telling us about
Education initiatives in Arizona and education bills in the legislature.

There will be plenty of time for questions and answers.

Location:
Rock Bottom Brewery at Desert Ridge Marketplace
21001 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050
(Near intersection of N Tatum and Hwy 101)
Date: Wed., January 11, 2012.  (2nd Wed. of Month)
Time: Dinner (order from menu) available at 6pm. Meeting from 7-8:30pm

Contact Information:
Howard Levine,
NE Valley Chapter Chairman
Howard_Levine@rocketmail.com , www.pachydermcoalition.com
480-577-4168

 

 

John Huppenthal Statement on Ruling that TUSD’s Mexican American Studies Program Violates Arizona Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 27, 2011

Statement of Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal on Administrative Law Judge’s Decision that the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Program is in Violation of A.R.S. § 15-112 

Phoenix, AZ, December 27, 2011– Today, Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal released the following statement on the decision of Administrative Law Judge Lewis Kowal that affirmed the Tucson Unified School District’s (TUSD’s) Mexican American Studies Program was in violation of A.R.S. § 15-112 as per his ruling from June 15, 2011:

“I was very pleased to receive Judge Kowal’s decision today affirming the ruling that I made on June 15 that TUSD’s Mexican American Studies Program was in violation of A.R.S. § 15-112.

In my role as State Superintendent of Public Instruction I have a legal responsibility to uphold the law and a professional imperative to ensure that every student has access to an excellent education.

Upon taking office on January 3, 2011, I was faced with the immediate circumstance of the Tucson Unified School District being found in violation of A.R.S. §15-112 by the outgoing Superintendent. Instead of making a snap decision on the matter, the Arizona Department of Education, at my direction, conducted an intensive investigation, spanning many months, of TUSD’s Mexican American Studies Department (MASD) and its program.

In the end, I made a decision based on the totality of the information and facts gathered during my investigation – a decision that I felt was best for all students in the Tucson Unified School District. The Judge’s decision confirms that it was the right decision.

I will be issuing my final ruling regarding the matter in the near future after a thorough and deliberate review of the Judge’s decision.”

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NE Valley Pachyderm Coalition: next meeting Jan 11, 2012 at NEW Location

 

Because of our location change, we are cancelling the meeting scheduled for Dec. 14, 2011. Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal has graciously agreed to postpone meeting with us until Jan. 11, 2012.

 

Here is the information as text for easier copying and pasting:

The Northeast (NE) Valley Chapter of the Pachyderm Coalition January 2012 Meeting

Note the NEW LOCATION for our DINNER MEETING!!!

Superintendent of Public Instruction

John Huppenthal

who will be telling us about
Education initiatives in Arizona and education bills in the legislature.

There will be plenty of time for questions and answers.

Location:
Rock Bottom Brewery at Desert Ridge Marketplace
21001 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050
(Near intersection of N Tatum and Hwy 101)
Date: Wed., January 11, 2012.  (2nd Wed. of Month)
Time: Dinner (order from menu) available at 6pm. Meeting from 7-8:30pm

Contact Information:
Howard Levine,
NE Valley Chapter Chairman
Howard_Levine@rocketmail.com , www.pachydermcoalition.com
480-577-4168

 

 

Huppenthal: Determination that MAS violates law rests on far more than audit

By Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Huppenthal

I stand by my decision to hold the Tucson Unified School District in violation of A.R.S. § 15-112.

My finding that TUSD was in violation was drawn after months of careful analysis of substantial information gathered by the state Department of Education’s investigation of TUSD’s Mexican American Studies department (MAS). It should be stressed that due to time and scope limitations of the external audit, it was a limited part of my comprehensive investigation of MAS.

Books, teaching guides, PowerPoint slides, handouts and other classroom and reading materials associated with MAS and its courses were reviewed and held up against the standard: Did the material’s content, in isolation or in aggregate, violate the law?

Books found in MAS classrooms and/or on coursework reading lists were examined. Excerpts from some of these materials on which my determination was based were made readily available in hard copy at the press conference and sent, in digital form, to members of the media.

Much to my frustration the external auditors did not thoroughly analyze the books gathered for evidence. Instead, the auditors chose primarily to focus on their limited classroom observations and on-site interviews as the basis for their overreaching conclusions. Inexplicably, the auditors did not review substantial physical evidence found in the classroom or on coursework syllabi and reading lists made available to them.

Not auditing a substantial portion of information gathered was problematic when trying to reach valid, reasonable, fact-based conclusions. Furthermore, two-thirds of the MAS classes were not even observed, the observations took place during a narrow time window and TUSD was told in advance which week the audit would take place. Most audited classes were observed only once.

TUSD failed to provide any student coursework from the MAS classrooms, 11 MAS teachers were told not to participate in the audit by their lawyers, and administrators from the MAS program refused to be interviewed.

The external audit failed to provide a comprehensive review. Most educational audits are intensive and can last for six months. The auditors only spent one week observing classrooms at TUSD.

Despite the limited usefulness of the external audit, its final report did highlight materials such as textbooks deemed to be questionable, partisan, inflammatory, and age-inappropriate. It also pointed out TUSD’s lack of a comprehensive, transparent and statutorily compliant curriculum development and oversight process in regards to MAS. This lack of oversight of the MAS program ultimately led to its violations of A.R.S. § 15-112.

In my role as state superintendent of public instruction, I have a legal responsibility to uphold the law, a professional imperative to make decisions based on a totality of evidence gathered and an educational obligation to ensure that every student has access to an excellent education.

I made the decision I felt was best for all students in the Tucson Unified School District. For their sake, it is now up to the TUSD governing board to ensure its MAS program comes into compliance.

John Huppenthal is Superintendent of Public Instruction. Email him at adeinbox@azed.gov

Supporting Documentation:

John Huppenthal Official Statement on TUSD MAS Program
Citations from TUSD’s Mexican American Studies Program materials and resources
Kathy Hrabluk Official Statement on TUSD MAS Program
SPI Official Statement of Finding
TUSD Finding Document
TUSD Investigation Citations

Video of State Superintendent Huppenthal’s recent appearance on KAET:

YouTube Preview Image

 

The Arizona Republic Endorses John Huppenthal

The Arizona Republic

October 3, 2010

Editorial

To reform schools, choose Huppenthal

like many races, a lack of qualifications for the job is not an issue with either candidate for Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction.

Republican state Sen. John Huppenthal has focused on public-education issues for 18 years with an intensity few other lawmakers can match. The Democratic candidate for superintendent, Penny Kotterman, has spent more than 30 years in education as a teacher, president of the state teachers union and as the owner of her own education-consulting firm.

What matters in this race, it seems, is education philosophy. Both candidates view themselves, justifiably, as education reformers. Both understand the issues. And, as noted, both are right. But what is the right reform direction? We believe the sort of reform advocated by John Huppenthal is best for improving Arizona’s often dismal comparative standing on the crucial questions of how best to improve schools.

As a GOP lawmaker, Huppenthal was an integral part of Arizona’s school-choice revolution of the 1990s, when this state became a national leader in the expansion of charter schools. He has been a staunch advocate for local control over schools and performance pay for quality teachers. Huppenthal understands how public education works and is committed to finding ways to improve it.

The Arizona Republic recommends John Huppenthal for state superintendent of public instruction.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2010/10/03/20101003supe03.html#ixzz11PpPBSn7

An Open Letter from Senator Russell Pearce to Arizona Conservatives

Dear Friend,

Arizona’s schools need improvement.  We’ve increased per student spending by nearly 30% in recent years.  The result?  According to The Arizona Republic, “The Class of 2009 posted average SAT scores that are among the lowest in at least a decade.” (8/26/2009) Other measures show academic achievement in Arizona schools either flat or on the decline.

Clearly, taxpayers are not getting the value they deserve for their hard earned tax dollars, and many students aren’t getting the education they’ll need to succeed in the workplaces of tomorrow.

I believe State Senator John Huppenthal is the leader we need to bring about improvement in Arizona’s schools, and I’m urging Arizona conservatives to support his candidacy for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

I know John well.  We’ve served side by side in the Arizona legislature for many years, fighting on behalf of taxpayers and the law-abiding citizens of this state.

Improving Arizona schools is John’s life’s work.  He is a respected expert on the topic, having served 17 consecutive years on the State House and State Senate education committees.  Some of John’s legislative accomplishments to improve the quality of education include:

  • Lifting the caps on charter school enrollment, dramatically increasing school choice
  • Passage of Arizona’s Tuition Tax Credit Law, enabling thousands of students attend the school of their choice
  • Supporting English language immersion for students who can’t speak English
  • Passing legislation to stop non-resident illegal aliens from attending Arizona schools, a major problem at schools along the Mexico border and a drain on taxpayer funds
  • Providing the very best computer technology for our students in our schools for the deaf and blind
  • Establishing a model summer school for children with autism; bringing the best research to Arizona for educating these special children
  • Developing best practices in the discipline of special needs students
  • Improving assessment data and the measurement of academic gains of students and districts
  • Increasing vocational education opportunities for students
  • Developing and passing the “best home school laws in the nation,” according to Tom Lewis, President of Arizona Families for Home Education

I believe that with John Huppenthal’s leadership as Arizona’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction, Arizona schools will be well positioned for steady improvements in academic achievement.

John is strongly opposed to bi-lingual education and supports English immersion for students who can’t speak English.  He is committed to ending “social promotion” and will demand accountability and higher standards.

In addition to his conservative track record on education issues, John has proven himself to be a leader Arizonans can trust on other issues as well.

John has worked hard to stop illegal immigration, protect life and marriage, secure our Second Amendment rights and fight wasteful spending.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Len Munsil, Congressman Trent Franks and other conservative leaders across Arizona have endorsed John and are helping the campaign.

Now, John needs conservatives like YOU to help spread the word.

Please take the time to tell your friends and neighbors about John Huppenthal’s campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

I’ve been in some tough campaigns myself, facing off against some of the same liberal groups that are sure to come after John.  I know from experience that word of mouth advertising is more powerful than television or piece of mail.

As conservatives, we fight to  preserve Faith, Family, Freedom and Country.  I’m grateful you’ve taken the time to read this letter.  Thank you, and may God bless you and may God continue to bless this great Republic.

Sincerely,

Russell Pearce
State Senator

Jeb Bush Endorses John Huppenthal for Superintendent of Public Instruction

PHOENIX, AZ- Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida from 1999-2007, today endorsed State Senator John Huppenthal for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“John is a proven champion of reform and accountability in education, and I know he’s dedicated to changing the lives of Arizona students for the better,” said Bush. “John’s leadership as Superintendent will be critical to the successful implementation of reforms that can improve the quality of education in Arizona.”

“The results of Florida’s education reforms speak for themselves,” said Huppenthal. “Governor Bush is a leader who delivered on his promise to improve education and I’m honored to have his support.”

John Huppenthal is one of Arizona’s leading authorities on education issues. In addition to being the current Senate Education Chairman, Huppenthal has served for 18 consecutive years on the State House and State Senate education committees.

“Improving Arizona’s schools has been my life’s work,” said Huppenthal. “I’ve worked closely with teachers and parents on education issues for nearly two decades, so I’m very familiar with the challenges and opportunities Arizona schools face.”

For additional information, please visit www.JohnHuppenthal.com.

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For additional information regarding Florida’s education reforms, see the Goldwater Institute’s report “On the Road to Excellence: Next Steps to Match Florida’s Success in Educating Children.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with State Senate Education Chairman John Huppenthal at the Arizona State Capitol on October 1, 2010. Gov. Bush addressed a joint meeting of the House and Senate education committees on the success of Florida’s education reforms in establishing the basis for educational excellence.

Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry Endorses John Huppenthal For Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction

PHOENIX, AZ.  JUNE 28, 2010.  State Senator John Huppenthal’s bid for State Superintendent of Public Instruction has been endorsed by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  Last week, the Chamber named Huppenthal “Senator of the Year”.

“As a legislator, John Huppenthal has a long record of fighting for education reforms that increase choice and empower parents.  We look forward to working with Sen. Huppenthal when he brings his reform agenda to the Arizona Department of Education,” Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Chamber said.

Senator Huppenthal played a key role in helping create school choice for parents. In 1995 his legislation took the caps off charter schools. This legislation moved Arizona to first in the nation in school choice (ALEC rankings). In addition, Congressman Trent Franks named Senator Huppenthal one of three legislators most responsible for creating and expanding tuition tax credits in Arizona.

Huppenthal’s legislative reform efforts resulted in the creation of the Career Ladder program for teachers, improved measures of academic progress, and higher graduation standards. Huppenthal also worked closely with the disabled community to improve opportunities for children with special challenges, including creating a model summer school for children with autism, increasing resources for the blind and deaf, expanding textbook formats to accommodate children with disabilities and reducing mandates on teachers.

In 2010, Senator Huppenthal sponsored and helped pass major education reform legislation. Known as the “Truth in Advertising” bill, SB 1286 improves accountability by requiring the Arizona Department of Education to rate the performance of schools with easily understood letter grades (A, B, C, D or F). The grades will be based upon overall performance and academic gains over time. The “Truth in Advertising” law is modeled after similar reforms in Florida which significantly improved academic achievement.

Huppenthal attended high school in Tucson. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Arizona State University.

John is a devoted husband and father. He and his wife Jennifer have two daughters, Brooke and Morgan. John and Jennifer are active in their children’s education, and participate in community and church groups.

John Huppenthal has been endorsed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, 2006 GOP Nominee for Governor Len Munsil and many other conservative leaders across Arizona.

He is the current Chairman of the Arizona State Senate’s Education Committee.  For more information please go to www.JohnHuppenthal.com.

Obama Law Firm Targets John Huppenthal

Obama Law Firm Targets John Huppenthal

Democrats Appeal To Arizona Supreme Court To Take Conservative Candidate Name Off Arizona Ballot

PHOENIX, ARIZONA. JUNE 23, 2010.  Perkins Coie Brown & Bain, an international law firm that represented the Presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John Kerry, has set its litigation gun sights on stopping the people of Arizona from having the opportunity to vote for John Huppenthal in the Republican Primary Election for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Last week,  Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Oberbillig dismissed a Democratic Party lawsuit that sought to have Huppenthal’s name removed from the ballot based on claims the signatures were collected too early.  Judge Oberbillig stated it would be an “extreme remedy” to throw out signatures that everyone agreed were not collected in a fraudulent or irregular way.

Yesterday, the law firm of Perkins Coie Brown & Bain filed an appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court, again seeking to have Huppenthal’s name removed from the Republican Primary Election Ballot.

According to the Wikipedia article on Perkins Coie:

“Perkins Coie is an international law firm based in Seattle, Washington.   …The firm is counsel of record for the Democratic National Committee, and other political clients include nearly all Democratic members of the United States Congress, as well as several Presidential campaigns, including those of John Kerry and Barack Obama. …With its main office located in Seattle, Perkins Coie is the oldest and largest law firm headquartered in the Pacific Northwest.

…In 2009, President Obama appointed Robert Bauer, the Chair of the firm’s Political Law Group, to become his White House Counsel.  … The firm also represents the Democratic Leadership Council, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”

Democratic party has a long history of unsuccessful attacks on Huppenthal

The attempt by the Democratic Party to have Huppenthal’s name removed from the ballot by litigation is just the latest in a long history of attacks.

Recently, the Democratic Party attempted to smear Huppenthal by promoting a doctored video that purported to show Huppenthal walking out of an interview with a high school student.  The political dirty trick was exposed when the student journalist spoke out to set the record straight.  An editorial in the Arizona Republic condemned the Democrat’s doctored video in strong language, stating “Sometimes, a lie really is just a lie.

In 2008, the Arizona Democratic Party spent tens of thousands of dollars on independent expenditures that made wild claims about Huppenthal and implied he was responsible for child abductions, cancer-causing toxins, internet sex crimes and the release of violent criminals.  The Democrat’s spending on attack ads failed to produce results,  and Huppenthal went on to defeat the Democratic candidate by more than 15%.

About John Huppenthal

John Huppenthal is one of Arizona’s leading authorities on education issues. In addition to being the current Senate Education Chairman, Huppenthal has served for 17 consecutive years on the State House and State Senate education committees.

Huppenthal’s reputation for making policy based on the best research available is well established. A September 2008 editorial in The Arizona Republic stated:

“…Huppenthal is a veteran of the Legislature, having chaired five committees and being as knowledgeable about the bill-making process as any of his colleagues. He’s a pragmatic conservative who bases his positions on exhaustive research and works across party lines to get worthwhile bills passed. Huppenthal insists that legislation be based on best practices from around the country, and he’s prone to arcane dissertations based on stacks of studies he has compiled as he delves into state and district problems. It’s not sexy stuff but it’s necessary to guide a legislative process too often led astray by raw politics and emotion.”

Senator Huppenthal played a key role in helping create school choice for parents. In 1995, as Senate Education Chairman, his legislation took the caps off charter schools. This legislation moved Arizona to first in the nation in school choice (ALEC rankings). In addition, Congressman Trent Franks named Senator Huppenthal one of three legislators most responsible for creating and expanding tuition tax credits in Arizona.

During Huppenthal’s legislative career he successfully developed and passed over 200 bills – the most of any legislator in Arizona history. A substantial number of those bills were education related. Huppenthal’s efforts resulted in the creation of the Career Ladder program for teachers, improved measures of academic progress, and higher graduation standards. Huppenthal also worked closely with the disabled community to improve opportunities for children with special challenges, including creating a model summer school for children with autism, increasing resources for the blind and deaf, expanding textbook formats to accommodate children with disabilities and reducing mandates on teachers.

Huppenthal has been a leader in adopting performance pay in education. After reviewing over 700 studies and creating new concepts in performance pay, Arizona’s career ladder program has become the only performance pay system in the country resulting in statistically-verifiable academic gains. His legislation resulted in enabling Arizona to be the only state nationally where every teacher has a significant portion of pay dependent upon performance measures (Prop 301 Classroom Site Fund).

In 2010, Senator Huppenthal sponsored and helped pass major education reform legislation. Known as the “Truth in Advertising” bill, SB 1286 improves accountability by requiring the Arizona Department of Education to rate the performance of schools with easily understood letter grades (A, B, C, D or F). The grades will be based upon overall performance and academic gains over time. The “Truth in Advertising” law is modeled after similar reforms in Florida which significantly improved academic achievement.

For more information, please visit www.JohnHuppenthal.com or contact Emily Graham.

Is this the largest campaign brochure ever?

Here is a picture from Espresso Pundit of John Huppenthal’s banner at the Maricopa County Republican meeting.

The giant 8 ft. by 24 ft. banner lists six seperate legislative accomplishments — probably enough text to qualify as the world’s largest campaign brochure ever.

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PR: Len Munsil Endorses Senator John Huppenthal for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2010

Munsil endorses Huppenthal

PHOENIX – Republican leader Len Munsil today announced his endorsement of State Senator John Huppenthal for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2010.  Senator Huppenthal, the current Senate Education Chairman, is weighing a potential run for this position.

“Ensuring a quality education for every child has always been an important issue for me, which is why I’m urging Arizona Republicans to support John Huppenthal for Superintendent of Public Instruction,” said Munsil.  “We need change at the Arizona Department of Education, and John Huppenthal is the right conservative leader to deliver that change.”

“Senator Huppenthal has the vision, the experience and the plan to deliver the reforms vital to improving accountability, increasing parental choice in education and boosting academic achievement in Arizona schools,” said Munsil.  “He also has the strength of character, depth of knowledge and intellectual rigor needed to take on the education bureaucracy.”

Munsil is one of Arizona’s most respected conservative leaders.  He was the Republican Party nominee for Governor of Arizona in 2006, winning the Republican primary by a large margin in his first run for public office.

“Len is a conservative leader that Arizona Republicans trust and I’m grateful for his support,” said Huppenthal.  “As a conservative reformer, Len has worked tirelessly for Arizona families and helped pass laws that promote education and improve our quality of life.”

Munsil’s endorsement of Huppenthal follows endorsements from other popular Republican leaders such as Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Huppenthal is one of Arizona’s leading authorities on education issues.  In addition to being the current Senate Education Chairman, Huppenthal has served for 17 consecutive years on the State House and State Senate education committees.

Huppenthal played a key role in helping create school choice for parents. In 1995, as Senate Education Chairman, his legislation took the caps off charter schools.  This legislation moved Arizona to first in the nation in school choice (ALEC rankings).

During Huppenthal’s legislative career he successfully developed and passed over 200 bills – the most of any legislator in Arizona history.

Huppenthal is speaking to audiences statewide to assess public support.  He will make a formal decision about running for Superintendent this coming January.  For additional information, please call Senator John Huppenthal at (480) 330-3215 or visit www.JohnHuppenthal.com.  Senator Huppenthal is on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/huppenthal.

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