By cancel culture, I mean the idea that people have rights and responsibilities and obligations and entitlements based on their skin color or their ethnic origin. A person’s identity is defined by the group they belong to. There are no individual rights. There are only group rights.
The cancel culture rejects the political view encapsulated in the Declaration of Independence. In particular, it rejects the idea that people have a right to pursue their own happiness. It also rejects the idea of basic rights guaranteed in the Constitution, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.
Offensive speech can be seen as a “micro aggression”—and thus a form of force. There are no limits to what constitutes such aggression. For example, if you say you voted for Donald Trump, or you like capitalism, or you think free markets have lifted people out of poverty all over the world, you might be accused of offensive speech.
After a year of remote learning, there are differences in the learning system that are noticeable today. Firstly, is my new role being the position a hybrid teacher is now a social worker and academic teacher. It is my job to teach and take care of my students social charges/needs. Secondly, there is difficulty conducting parent-teacher communication as it requires flexibility of schedule from both parties, which has proven exhausting. Thirdly, there is a job redundancy since the teacher or records must fill in the social worker invention form to have it returned. The teacher is then required to supply the same answers from the student. That is avoidable by a simple phone call from the counselor to the student’s family to fill the form.
After identifying the problem, I took it upon myself to build a parent academy with the school principal’s approval. The academy is yet in the planning stages, but we plan on launching it in August 2021. The project has been instrumental in bringing parents together to solve some of the problems we face. Notably, there is a lack of counselors in the planning group. Therefore, it is of interest because counselors do not see the project as one that should be of interest towards fulfilling their roles. After following up on this, the most common answers I received were that they were too busy and their commitment to teaching or being called upon to provide substitute coverage and counseling students they could not spare time for the academy. That has raised the question of if bureaucracy in public schools is affecting the delivery of services. That is concerning because the public requires results from the education system.
Nevertheless, the academy is still in the planning stage, and we have engaged the public and business sectors to provide for a mentorship program. The parents and students must work together to ensure the all-round growth of our students.
By Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction 2015-2018 |
In the words of the famed NY Yankee catcher, Yogi Berra, “it’s like déjà vu all over again!”
In 2019, during the very last, wee hours of the legislative session the legislators passed SB1558 attempting to TRIPLE their per diem compensation.
This year’s attempt, by virtue of an eleventh hour “strike everything” amendment to HB2053, is to give themselves a very significant increase in their per diem because a salary increase must be passed by the voters. It’s probably safe to assume that such shenanigans would have been attempted last year as well had the session not been prematurely preempted thanks to the Covid “crisis.”
This session the legislators propose to increase Maricopa County legislators per diem from $35 to $56 for meals each day of the session. Legislators outside Maricopa County per diem increases from $60 to $207 – $56 for meals and $151 for lodging for every day in session.
Legislators are paid a salary of $24,000. This may not seem like a lot however consider that this is for a 100 day session (which includes in that count Saturdays, Sundays and Fridays when committee meetings or floor sessions are virtually never conducted and most have already left for home). Prorate that 100 days to the 260 days full time Arizonans work it equates to $62,400 per annum. Not bad, especially when considering that for many the legislature is a second job. Many of them have another career or are collecting at least one if not more, oft times government, retirements or own very successful businesses or charter schools for which they write the laws or all of the above.
But I digress, back to the per diem.
If nothing else, legislators should treat themselves by the same rules and standards which they impose on state employees.
But wait, state employees are not entitled to meal allowances unless they are traveling on state business and then, if I’m not mistaken, must be outside a 50 miles radius to qualify for meal or travel allowances. They are not given a meal allowance to buy their daily lunch at their assigned work site (nor are they frequently, if ever, the guests of lobbyists) so neither should Maricopa legislators.
For those legislators outside Maricopa County, in addition to the meal allowance, they will all receive the same travel per diem, $151, regardless of how close or far they are from the Capitol. Whether they travel the 190 or so miles from Kingman in Mohave County or Sierra Vista in Cochise County and stay in Phoenix Monday through Thursday; or travel the 40 miles home nightly to Apache Junction in Pinal County or Black Canyon City in Yavapai County the per diem is the same.
A benefit, by the way, that is not provided to a Maricopa County legislator should he/she live in Gila Bend almost 70 miles from the Capitol. In my opinion the same 50 mile radius that applies to state employees should likewise apply to legislators regardless of their county of residence.
Finally, the per diem will be tied to the annual federal per diem rate for Maricopa County as determined by the United States General Services Administration and adjusted annuallywithout future legislative action.
But let’s put all that aside. The real issue not just the “how much” – some will argue too much, others not enough. It is the “how” that matters most.
In 2019 it was a bill slammed through at the last moments before the legislators voted to Sine Die at 12:58am. This session it is done through a “strike everything” amendment to HB2053. If that were not bad enough, allegedly part of the “deal”, to get Maricopa legislators to support this strike everything amendment, is to raise the Maricopa legislators’ lunch money as well. 30 pieces of silver this Easter Week, well, okay 21.
HB2053 originally entitled “superior court clerk; salary”, now titled “salary; superior court clerk” but nothing to indicate the true legislative intent of the amendment. – giving themselves an extra $2,100 for those in Maricopa and $14,700 for those outside.
(I’ve written about this legislative game of strike-all shenanigans in the past here.)
Legislators’ salary increases are supposed to be referred to the voters for approval however their “per diem” is defined in statute which takes no more than a majority and signature to increase. Effectively giving themselves what the voters will not – increased compensation.
If per diem is really just a backdoor way for legislators to do an end run around the taxpayers and give themselves a substantial increase in their compensation that the voters have not or are not otherwise willing to approve then, at the very least, legislators should be transparent and honest about it. Drop an appropriately titled bill at the beginning of the session. Do not do it through late night bills on the way out the door or late session “strike everything” amendments.
Especially after a year when untold numbers of Arizonans have lost their jobs and countless small business have had to close their doors Arizonans deserve better from their elected officials than the same old games. Deja vu Yogi, deja vu.
Moody’s Investor Service periodically assesses the financial health of America’s universities, and recently they issued a more optimistic report, rescinding their overall “negative” outlook for schools and replacing it with a “stable” one. Universities are improving financially for multiple reasons. First, growing Covid-19 vaccinations are contributing to a decline in the health threat from the novel coronavirus. Second, this means schools are moving cautiously away from remote instruction toward traditional in-person learning. College kids are happier because, in addition to more and better learning experiences, there will be more drinking and fornication than in the period of Covid-19 austerity. Never underestimate the socialization dimensions of college. Third, all this means enrollments are likely to stop falling and possibly even increase a bit, and that revenue producing dormitories and cafeterias will resume more normal operations. Fourth, colleges have cut their spending substantially.
There’s only one reason to require COVID vaccine passports: to coerce people into getting the vaccine. While vaccination is not required, a passport requirement would say, “Whether you get the vaccine is up to you, but if you want to travel or shop or do anything outside your home, a passport is required.”
For those who are concerned about getting the virus from unvaccinated people, get vaccinated! Unvaccinated people pose a very small threat to those who have been vaccinated. Sure, the threat’s not zero, but any time you are around other people, you could catch a cold, or the flu, or Ebola, from them. You could get hit by their cars or knocked down if they bumped into you on the sidewalk. The risk to the vaccinated from being around the unvaccinated is small compared to other risks of being in places where other people are present.
Somehow, they didn’t see it coming. Last week, Gilbert Public Schools, one of the largest school districts in Arizona, notified 152 certified staff members that they would be without jobs for the 2021-2022 school year. And the announcement sent shockwaves throughout Arizona’s public school districts.
Parents certainly tried to warn them. They pleaded with their school districts to find safe ways to offer in-person learning. And they threatened to leave for charter schools, private schools, or homeschool if they didn’t.