Richardson: Arizona education system in downward spiral thanks to poor leadership - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Voices

Richardson: Arizona education system in downward spiral thanks to poor leadership

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Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at

Posted: Monday, June 23, 2014 12:28 pm

It’s no wonder that public education in Arizona is in a downward spiral.

For nearly twelve years, Arizona has had the likes of ex-state legislator and current Arizona Attorney General, Tom Horne, and ex-legislator and current state Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal running our schools and dictating what and how our kids are taught and learn.

Horne has become a legend in Arizona for his political antics, ethics issues and run ins with the county prosecutors, Securities and Exchange Commission and FBI. How he ever got an Arizona license to practice law with his past problems is beyond me.

Then there’s ex-legislator and career politician Huppenthal who took over for Horne in 2010. Huppenthal has also had his name in lights much like Horne over what can only be described as being involved in some really stupid stuff.

It was just three months ago Huppenthal got busted for being “in political bed with the extremists who want to further dismantle the state’s public school system.”

Huppenthal went so far as to make “robocalls” touting the giveaway of tax dollars for tuition for private schools. The calls were reportedly paid for by the Arizona Alliance for School Choice. The group is reportedly spending $250,000 on their campaign to redesign our school system.”

That’s right; the guy in charge of the public schools is doing his best to dismantle the public school system.

Now it’s been reported Huppenthal has been operating online with a couple of aliases. He’s been hanging out as Falcon9 and Thucydides. I guess that’s better than fellow Republican and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu who surfed the net as “Studboi1”

Huppenthal has been blogging anonymously on a state-owned computer from the comfort of the Department of Education where he’s supposed to be running our schools. The Arizona Republic has reported Huppenthal “likened welfare recipients to lazy pigs. He blamed the Great Depression on Franklin D. Roosevelt and said FDR’s economic policies gave rise to Hitler. He said Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was responsible for feeding 16 million African-Americans into abortion mills.”

While what Huppenthal did isn’t criminal, it involves serious ethical lapses, according to experts.

The Arizona Republic reported: “’There is a conflict of interest if an elected official is trying to skew the conversation in a way that supports their views,’” said Fred Solop, Northern Arizona University’s political-science department chairman. “’It’s a violation of the public trust, and (Huppenthal) needs to be held accountable.

“Todd Gitlin, an ethics specialist and chairman of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, said the issue is a simple one. “’Public officials should not post anonymously,’” he said. “’They’re elected to be accountable. They can’t be held accountable if they hide behind pseudonyms.’”

This isn’t the first time Huppenthal’s ethics have been brought up. In 2008, after getting into an altercation with a 78-year-old woman over a campaign sign, the elderly woman he took on was quoted as saying, “You have to laugh, but it isn’t funny to say that a person with such low ethical standards is running for state superintendent of our schools.”

In 2008, the city of Phoenix busted Huppenthal over his illegally posted campaign signs.

Huppenthal, who has been in elected office for 30 years, seems to think he’s at Burger King and he can “have it his way” no matter what the laws, rules or ethics of situation are.

It’s been years since Arizona had a professional educator in charge of education. For too long it’s been recycled legislators and career politicians like Horne and Huppenthal.

With the likes of Horne and Huppenthal running the schools, no wonder public education in Arizona is in a downward spiral.

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