AZ Public Education: Pick a Fight or Stay on the Bench

An op-ed in the Republic today carries the headline, “Diane Douglas picks a fight (with everyone),” over a description of the rapidly escalated fight between new governor, Doug Ducey, and new state superintendent of public instruction, Diane Douglas.

It also carries a byline of, “Editorial Board,” which always irritates me. You won’t find any such body listed in an online staff directory or anyplace else online that I can see. In the hardcopy paper, you’ll see fine print on the masthead of the editorial page that says:

Republic Editorial Board

John Zidich, Joanna Allhands, Steve Benson, Phil Boas, Robert Leger, Randy Lovely, Doug MacEachern, Robert Robb and Linda Valdez.

In alphabetical order, which implies some sort of journalistic democracy.

Below that, Robert Leger is listed as the, “opinions editor.” At the bottom of the page, you’ll find Randy Lovely listed as “senior vice president, news and audience development.” Phil Boas is listed as “editor of the editorial pages.”

What I think all that means is that John Zidich (listed elsewhere as the “president/ publisher/ chief executive officer”), probably has very little input on “Editorial Board” missives, and ditto Lovely. The other titleless names might have a fraction┬ámore influence. So I’m going to pin Robert Leger’s name on this turkey of an op-ed, as this sort of drivel appeared frequently in the Scottsdale Republic under his editorial review.

I did not support either Doug Ducey or Diane Douglas. Now that it’s ‘DD vs. DD,’ I’m mildly enjoying them shining their backsides in public. But I’m also very sad that public education is so poorly regarded in Arizona, and that we couldn’t have done better than either of these morons.

And I blame in large part the so-called “editors” at the titanically (if that’s a word, it surely fits) abysmal Arizona Republic for not doing a better job of journalism in vetting candidates for us.

Not that I disagree with the unattributed assertions in Leger’s op-ed.

“Douglas ran a stealth campaign, appearing virtually nowhere, saying virtually nothing, and that she rode an epic, national GOP wave into office.”

“Douglas critics have characterized her as combative, reclusive and politically tin-eared.”

It’s sheer negligence that the Republic didn’t do a better job of covering these complaints, including Douglas ducking virtually every public opportunity to distinguish herself from her opponent, much as Scottsdale mayor Jim Lane did in 2012…with the Republic’s (and Leger’s) complicity. Otherwise the slim margin pointed out in this editorial may have easily gone the other way.

I think Douglas was an idiot for doing what she did (firing people over whom she arguably may not have authority). However, I also agree wholeheartedly with the Douglas assertion (reprinted in the Republic editorial) that Ducey is a crony capitalist.

From the editorial scribbling and the more journalistic coverage the Republic has given this issue, it isn’t clear to me which DD is right on this issue. It may indeed be a matter that only the courts can resolve, but Robert, if you are going to express an educated opinion on anything, THAT would be better than what you’ve done so far…which amounts to sitting on the bench and griping.

I will, however, take great exception to the editorial assertion:

Totally unprovoked, the Republican superintendent [Douglas] made it clear she is hostile to the profusion of charter schools, which only happens to be the greatest conservative-inspired success story in Arizona public-education history. [emphasis added]

If it’s such a success story, why is it still so controversial?

If it’s such a success story, why is Arizona public education still consistently ranked as among the worst in the United States?

One thing is certain: It HAS been a success…for Ducey’s pals.

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