Thursday, January 28, 2010

Huppenthal shows arrogance by drilling holes in high school wall.

Last week state Republicans held their meeting at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale.

Senator John Huppenthal, who is running for Superintendent of Schools, decided to hang a banner. Instead of finding out if there was anyone who could help him hang it, he went to work himself, got an electric drill and drilled several holes in the wall for him to hang his banner on.

It's not that he caused much damage; the school administration has said the holes did not affect the building (though what else could they say since he holds their budget in his hands?) and the state Republican Party has offered to pay whatever repair costs there are. Rather it's about his mind set.

Public buildings are owned by all of us. Apparently he feels, as a state legislator that he has the right to damage them for his own purposes. I mean, if I were to visit your home as a guest and take out a power drill and drill holes in your wall, wouldn't you feel a little miffed? What if I pulled out a drill and drilled holes in your local school, police station or other public building? Certainly this would be vandalism, and if I did it I imagine I'd be cited for at least a misdemeanor.

At the very least, don't you think he should have asked permission, or even asked if there was already something there he could use to hang his banner on? Any normal person would, but apparently John Huppenthal believes that he is an unusually privileged person who doesn't have to live by the same rules that he so nonchalantly makes for other people to follow, to say nothing of common decency.

It's the same kind of mindset that Tom DeLay had some years back when he lit up a cigar in a non-smoking building, and when he was told he couldn't smoke there by order of the Federal Government, responded "I am the Federal Government." Apparenly Senator Huppenthal has forgotten that he serves in office at the invitation of the voters, and he no more owns public property than you or I do.


Jamie LaJolla said...

It makes a great metaphor though. If that idiot becomes Superintendent of Education he will certainly destroy the schools, apparently he wants to get an early start on that.

Pink Floyd said...

All in All, it's just another Hole in the Wall.

jacsuza said...

Sigh. While you and I still don't agree very often politically, I just read this guy's website and shudder to think what will happen if he gets Horne's job.

"End social promotion by directing parents towards the most academically productive schools, particularly those doing the most effective jobs in teaching reading and math skills at the k-3 level."

We're busting our butts at my school teaching reading and math skills at my school, but we're probably not one of the "most academically productive schools" since we're a south-side school with a poor, highly-transient, non-English speaking and LARGE population. (At time we have probably been THE largest elementary school in AZ, clocking in at over 900 kids). And he wants to compare us to a school like Fruchtendler, which is in the well-to-do part of town, small, well-educated parents, etc., etc.

And he's a product of Tucson schools. Sigh again.

Eli Blake said...

I love the image, Jamie!

That would make a great ad for the whole GOP legislature:

We are so eager to dismantle public education in Arizona that we're already doing it literally, starting with your local high school gymnasium!

Eli Blake said...


Keep in mind too that our (actually very successful) public school district here is often held up as an example of success. But our graduating classes are only 30 students, and in fact your elementary school if there are 900 students would hold the majority of the population of our entire town (including environs up to several miles out.) Of course in an environment like this classes are small and students get a great deal of individual attention, which in turn leads to high test scores. And that's to say nothing of the difference in communities because around here kids have more time to study just because there are a lot fewer distractions.

So the idea that comparing our school district, to for example, yours is a valid comparison is patently ridiculous.

Only our GOP legislators would try to compare apples to tuna (though some years ago one of them did make a similarly ridiculous comparison, when he was confronted with how low teacher salaries were in Arizona he pointed out that test scores in some Asian countries were good and what their teachers were paid, and said ours were overpaid.) So the standard on teacher pay for at least some members of the legislature is that teachers should live on the street in a cardboard box because that's what they do in Bangladesh.

jacsuza said...


That would explain why AZ teachers are among the most poorly compensated in the entire country. And then, evidently there is the whole credibility issue down here in TUSD, because we are perceived as not being able to handle our finances. (Frankly, after some run-ins with our main office, I tend to agree).

Are there any good candidates to replace Horne?


Eli Blake said...


I've had a chance to talk to Jason Williams, who unfortunately came up short against Mr. Horne the last time around. The Republic, when it endorsed Horne made it sound as though Jason was a young idealist.

However, Jason has some very good ideas and background at improving education (and the fact that he's trying again shows that he also has the persistence needed to keep after problems.) And here is the real difference:

Tom Horne is a lawyer.

John Huppenthal has been a career politician.

Neither of them has ever spent a moment in a classroom with the responsibility of educating children.

Jason Williams taught sixth grade math and science for several years in East Oakland, and in 1999 was a nominee for the California Middle School Teacher of the Year award.

Jason Williams has been there, and knows what schools are like from more than just reading their budgets.

Eli Blake said...

Pink Floyd:

I assume you mean by that, that the Huppenthal theme song should be, "We don't need no education..."

in which case I'd say it's apropos.

Though he's already done an excellent job of taking Arizona education to "the Dark Side of the Moon."

Sorry, that was too juicy, I couldn't resist.