Wednesday, February 19, 2014 4:00 am
How’s this for an idea? Pay parents to keep their kids home from school. And how about this? Encourage parents to skimp on their children’s educations by promising to pay part of the cost of college.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 4:00 am
This is a bit presumptuous, I admit. I’m climbing on my columnist’s soapbox and proclaiming a set of New Year’s resolutions for myself and anyone else who chooses to adopt them. They’re a little late, I admit, but with one column a month, my choice was either to write them way back in December or wait until my first opportunity this year.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 4:00 am
It’s that time of year again when you can bring a little holiday cheer to an underfunded Arizona public school -- and that includes every public school in the state. Funding for K-12 education is down 17 percent from where it was six years ago, so all our schools are hurting financially. You can give $200 to the school of your choice -- $400 from a couple - at absolutely no cost to you thanks to the Arizona School Tax Credit. There’s no need to have a child in school or live in a certain school district. If you pay Arizona income taxes, you qualify.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 4:00 am
Last week the stock price for K12 Inc., a Virginia based, for-profit education corporation, plummeted almost 40 percent in a single day. Why, you may ask, should we care about the fortunes of some Virginia corporation? The reason is, K12 Inc. is the parent company of Arizona Virtual Academy and its 4,200 students scattered around the state, many of whom get very little in the way of education. Some get none at all. Understanding the causes of the stock plunge helps us understand what’s wrong with the Arizona school.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 4:00 am
What if you woke up tomorrow morning with your IQ 13 points lower than it is today? Think what that would mean. You’d still be able to go through your normal, everyday tasks - the ones that don’t take a great deal of thought -- without much problem. In fact, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference until you had some mental stretching to do. If you’re a crossword or sudoku fan, for instance, your daily puzzle would be far more difficult. Those real life tasks and decisions requiring you to draw inferences, synthesize information or go through multiple steps to reach a conclusion would likely set your mind reeling.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 4:00 am
I have to say, I expected this to happen. The only question was when.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:00 am
I rarely find myself agreeing with anything my conservative counterpart here at The Explorer, Richard Brinkley, has to say. The two of us are usually miles apart on the issues – centuries apart sometimes. But every once in awhile, the stars and planets align in strange ways, creating odd alliances, and this is one of those moments. Brinkley and I agree that there’s something very wrong with the latest national educational directive, the Common Core Curriculum.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 4:00 am
The country is having an important debate about how much of our personal information the government should collect. The privacy issue is making for strange political bedfellows, with people on the left and right staking out a wide range of positions. But regardless of political stripe, we all should be able to agree that no one should be gathering private and personal information about our children to put onto one gigantic national database, right?
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 4:00 am
Let’s say you decide to start a school for sixth through 12th graders that gives students a rigorous, world class education: demanding courses, lots of homework, sky-high expectations.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 4:00 am
What if a business planned a move to Arizona that would pour more than a billion dollars into our economy every year while creating 21,000 jobs? Now imagine those jobs would be spread around the state, including areas hardest hit by the economic downturn. And there’s this added bonus: the money would be spent on pollution-free activities, which would actually increase the health and welfare of Arizonans.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 4:00 am
“Clean coal” is a fantasy created by mining and power companies to convince us we can keep burning coal forever without harming ourselves, or the environment. The truth is, coal is dirty, harmful stuff. In the short term, we need to install scrubbers to catch coal’s noxious emissions before they make their way out of the smokestack. In the long term, we need to phase out coal-powered energy sources and replace them with cleaner alternatives.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 4:00 am
From Franklin Delano Roosevelt on, Democrats have created bold, visionary plans to improve the quality of life for Americans. Social Security. Civil Rights legislation. Medicare. The Affordable Care Act. They’ve pushed to clean up the environment and educate our children. For more than half a century, Democrats have done the heavy lifting to help make this country a better place, giving their efforts names like The New Deal, The New Frontier and The Great Society.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 5:37 pm
Maybe you read about the recent international tests in reading, math and science. If so, you might have read that U.S. students didn’t stack up so well next to the rest of the world - another “proof” our schools are failing. If so, you were steered wrong. The truth is, our students did very well in world rankings.
Thursday, December 20, 2012 1:28 pm
I’m ending the year with a nonpartisan column about holiday giving the easy way. I recommend you take advantage of Arizona tax credits that let you give money to public schools and worthy charities and get all of it back at tax time. Doing good for others without making a dent in your wallet: that’s a deal no one should refuse.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 5:13 pm
There were a few surprises for everyone in the November 6 elections, but only one bit of post-election news left me stunned. On election day, Mitt Romney was so sure he was going to win, he didn’t bother to write a concession speech. He had to throw one together in the hour before he went on stage to acknowledge he lost and congratulate the reelected President. Paul Ryan, who is supposed to be a serious number cruncher, also thought the Romney-Ryan team had it pretty much sewn up, as did their campaign staffs and the gaggle of pundits at Fox News. How could they all have been so wrong?
Monday, October 22, 2012 4:00 am
The ballots for the November election have hit voters’ mailboxes, so it’s endorsement time. I don’t have enough space to cover the entire ballot in any detail, so I’m focusing on one race -- Pima County Supervisor, District One -- and one initiative -- Prop 204. Then I’ll do a quick run through other candidates on the ballot.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 4:00 am
Here’s the most important thing you need to know about Proposition 204: It will give our children increased opportunities for success in their educations and their lives. That translates to a brighter future for our children and for Arizona.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 4:00 am
It should come as no surprise to people who read this column, I think our country needs stronger gun regulations and more effective enforcement of the regulations we already have. That’s what you’d expect from a proud, unrepentant liberal like me.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 4:00 am
“Obamacare is taking away our freedoms!” I hear that constantly from people who make “Obamacare” sound like a swear word. And whenever I hear it I find myself asking, which of our sacred freedoms are being taken away?
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 4:00 am
The only reasonable conclusion I can draw from the legislative session that just ended is this: Republican legislators think nothing is more important to Arizona than teaching the Bible in public schools and restricting women’s access to contraception and abortion. Jobs? Education? The economy? Not nearly as important.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 4:00 am
The Obama Derangement Syndrome is as strong today as it was when Obama first became the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008. Examples pop up in my email on a regular basis. I keep them in my “Chock full o’ Crazy” folder.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 4:00 am
“Don’t be evil.” That’s Google’s unofficial motto, adopted when it was young and idealistic. But now Google is all grown up, and it’s willing to do whatever it takes to boost corporate profits. Among its questionable practices: tracking our every move on the web to boost its “targeted ad” revenues, even overriding security measures people set up to protect themselves from unwanted invasion of privacy.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 4:00 am
According to ex-Intel CEO Craig Barrett, 90 percent of our children are “stuck” in terrible schools.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 4:00 am
Note: This column was written before Gabby announced her
decision to step down.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 4:00 am
Most of the rhetoric we’ve heard from Republican Presidential
candidates can be boiled down to one theme. They want to take
government apart, piece by piece, and move its services over to the
private sector, where their rich contributors can make a
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 3:00 am
As I read about the Occupy Wall Street movement gaining strength
in New York and spreading to cities across the country, including
Tucson, my reaction is: What took so long?
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:00 am
How can a political party deny established science with one
breath and complain our children are falling behind the rest of the
world in science education with the next? That simply defies logic.
But apparently, the fact- and logic-challenged Republican Party
thinks it makes perfect sense.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 3:00 am
Here’s a short political quiz. See if you can guess who made all
the following statements:
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 3:00 am
Let’s take a look at the state of education in the country of
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 3:00 am
The world’s most dangerous energy source may be heading into the
nuclear waste dump of history sometime in the next half century. It
can’t happen soon enough for me.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:00 am
The bad old days of the Spoils System could be returning to a
state or local government near you if Governor Brewer and
Republican legislators have their way. Brewer has been making
noises about calling a special session as soon as October to end
Arizona’s merit protection system.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 3:00 am
A year ago, I was a panelist at a forum discussing education in
Arizona. Sitting next to me was Ann-Eve Pedersen, the president of
the Arizona Education Network. When she went to grade school in
Arizona in the 1970s, Pedersen told the audience the state
supported education and funded it adequately. We ranked in the
middle of the country in per-student spending, not dead last like
we are today.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 4:00 am
Secede from Arizona? Create the 51st state? Can these people be
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 6:00 am
Get ready for vouchers to rear their ugly heads in the Arizona
legislature once again. Except this time when they propose the idea
of taking tax dollars away from public schools to pay for private
school tuition, they won’t be calling it “vouchers.” They’ll be
using a market-tested phrase that would make any Madison Avenue ad
exec proud: “School choice.”
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 12:00 am
I always thought the idea of income redistribution was the
exclusive property of tax-and-spend liberals like me. We’re the
ones conservatives accuse of “class warfare” for wanting to have
one group of Americans pay higher tax rates to benefit others.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:00 pm
Those of you who aren't diehard Democrats or Republicans – those
of you who vote on both sides of the aisle — here's something to
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:00 pm
There's an old mob term: "Going to the mattresses." It's when
the mob's "soldiers" hide out in an apartment filled with
mattresses for days or weeks, waiting until they're told it's time
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:00 pm
An oil spill is spreading across the country, and Arizona is
among the areas that will be hard hit. Tucson has already felt the
Monday, August 23, 2010 11:00 pm
Three prisoners broke out of a privately run, for-profit prison
in Kingman on July 30. Two were murderers. The third was convicted
of attempted murder.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 11:00 pm
In 1914, Henry Ford doubled the wages of his workers, hoping to
cut down on turnover. As a result, fewer workers left, people
flocked to Detroit looking for work and productivity went up.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 11:00 pm
The minds and spirits of school children don't
fit neatly onto the rows and columns of an accounting ledger like a
corporation's profits and losses. Try though they might, number
crunchers will never create an Excel spreadsheet that can
accurately tally up teacher inputs and student outputs.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 11:00 pm
Better schools, brought to you by the people
who brought you the housing bubble and the financial meltdown.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 11:00 pm
I can always tell when something I've written
hits a nerve. The opposition rushes to The Explorer website to slam
the column and its writer.
Monday, May 31, 2010 11:00 pm
Which Southwest governor said it's a state
goal to "become the solar capitol of America … and I think we're on
Monday, May 17, 2010 11:00 pm
I wrote my last column when the ink was barely
dry on legislation to revise SB 1070, our recently passed
anti-immigrant law. At the time, I couldn't tell if the revisions
wiped out some of the most vile provisions of the original or if
they just made cosmetic changes so SB 1070 looked less ugly than it
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 11:00 pm
As I write this column, our legislature just adjourned. In the
closing hours of the session, Republicans experienced a rare moment
of sanity and reversed some of their worst, most ideologically
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 11:00 pm
Conservative, anti-public education forces in
the Arizona Legislature hope voters will allow them to create the
mother of all private school voucher bills.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010 11:00 pm
I'm planning to vote for the one-cent sales
tax hike in May. Reluctantly, but I'll vote for it.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 11:00 pm
Take away health care from 350,000 Arizonans.
Cut $832 million from schools. Get rid of the GED program which
gives people a second chance to get their high school diplomas.
Close state parks and highway rest stops.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010 12:00 am
"Look over there!" our Republican state
legislators keep telling us. "Pay no attention to the worst per
capita budget crisis in the country. Save the incandescent light
bulb! Allow guns at state universities! Take away benefits from
anyone who buys a beer!"