Erik Twist, Charter School Headmaster, Blasts Education Funding Initiative, Prop 204, in E-mail to Parents

Categories: Election 2012

Erik Twist on Prop 204.png
www.cox7.com
Erik Twist represents the anti-Prop 204 interests during a 2012 Ballot Measure Town Hall
Erik Twist, the headmaster of a Phoenix charter school, blasted an e-mail to school parents outlining the reasons to vote against Proposition 204, an initiative estimated to generate about $1 billion a year mostly for education funding -- including for charter schools.

It's causing a stir among some parents.

Arizona law prohibits school officials from using "school district or charter school personnel, equipment, materials, buildings or other resources for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections."

Twist, headmaster of Archway Classical Academy Veritas near 56th Street and Thomas Road, apparently wrote the e-mail at school, around noon on Friday, October 12, and then had Ami Hosack, the school's office manager, send it to everyone in the school's contact list.

Voters will consider on November 6 whether to approve the initiative, which prohibits state lawmakers from further cutting education funding and permanently extends the one-cent sales tax voters overwhelmingly approved in 2010. That tax is set to expire in 2013.

Twist describes in his message to parents how Prop 204 would "throw taxpayer money indiscriminately" into the flawed education system, and fund "everything from education to special interests."

Daniel Scoggin, the chief executive officer for Great Hearts Academies, the non-profit network of public charter schools that includes Archway Veritas, says that Twist was speaking on behalf of himself, not Great Hearts.

But Scoggin also adds that Twist was responding to many questions he had received from parents about the school-funding initiative. And Twist did end his message to parents with this official title -- headmaster.

Some parents are angry that Twist used his position -- and school resources, such as the parents' e-mail list -- in an attempt to persuade them to vote against education-funding measure.

Sources tell New Times that some parents plan to file complaints against Twist with the Attorney General's Office. We've got a call in to the AG's Office to confirm whether that's happened.

In his e-mail, Twist dismisses the at least $800 million for education funding in the proposition, and instead mentions unnamed "special interest" groups that will benefit from the money. And, he complains "poorly performing schools are treated the same as successful schools ... [rewarding] equal dollars to both kinds of schools, regardless of performance."

Ann-Eve Pederson, chair of the pro-Prop 204 campaign, says that 12 percent of money set aside for K-12 education is only released if school performance shows improvement in measure such as graduation rates, third graders reading at appropriate levels and test scores.

In response to Twist's criticism that "poorly performing schools" get "equal dollars," Pederson says it is important to note that many of the "failing schools" are located in challenged parts of the state -- on Native American lands, inner cities and other areas with stark poverty.

"The idea that we would defund education in the areas that need it most doesn't make sense," she says. "Sometimes schools that are struggling need additional support to be successful."

It might seem odd that an official from a charter school system -- which receives 80 percent of its funding from public money and asks parents to help bridge the 20 percent gap by contributing at least $1,200 per student -- would politick against a measure to protect education funding from further cuts at the state legislature and extend a popular education tax.

But Twist isn't just any headmaster.

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14 comments
DisturbedParent
DisturbedParent

 If the guy had any integrity he would resign.  And, if Great Hearts was an institution with integrity they would fire him.  However, since GH did not fire him, it is hard not to believe the GH just might support some of his views.  So the issue in my opinion is not limited to Twist.  Lastly, as for the sincerity of his apology, I don't buy it, not for one second.  He knew he could send this out and then just ask for forgiveness.  He wanted his misinformed, inaccurate, biased, and completely incorrect opinion out there for some to read and believe (because they won't do the research on their own).

 

Lacking integrity all the way around.

kimu
kimu

@JohnHaubenreich doesn't it though. #puzzling

RighteousIndignation
RighteousIndignation

So, are you going to go after the public school boards and the districts for sending out prop 204 messages as well, or do you need to have that story spoon-fed to you as well?  Email blasts have been going out like crazy telling teachers and staff how to vote on 204, including right here in Scottsdale Unified.  I've received two emails this week suggesting how I should vote.

hipbilly
hipbilly

Twist is one sick f**k. I hope they throw the book at him.

JAFisClueless
JAFisClueless

It's amusing to watch CAP and these other organizations come up with wild conspiracy theories.

 

Anti-bullying legislation is really a way to advance the GAY agenda.....

 

Prop 204 will fund abortions....

 

Schools are really Marxist, Socialist, Communist LIBERAL indoctrination camps, and they're just waiting to get their hands on YOUR children....

 

BE AFRAID.... BE VERY AFRAID...  THEY'RE COMING TO GET YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN!!!

 

The funniest has to be about "throwing money at education". They really mean at PUBLIC education. They have no problem with "throwing money" at low-performing, FOR-PROFIT charter schools, but PUBLIC schools, no, we CAN'T have THAT.

 

"Education reform", "School choice" and other cute little buzz words... just another Trojan Horse for the complete dismantling of public education in favor of privatization to for-profit corporations.

robert_graham
robert_graham

If Prop. 204 will fund free handouts for public assistance I will vote NO and advise you to do the same.

opinionator
opinionator

it's a violation of Arizona State Statutes for state employees to use work computers or mailings to engage in political campaigning. Twist should be charged.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows

Twist seems to be a moron.  Is he Cathi Herrod's 1st cousin/brother or something?

 

He has misused his position and should be fired.

SUSDparent
SUSDparent

 @RighteousIndignation 

There are clear laws about a school district's message. I, too, have received email blast, but they have been from our schools' PTO/PTA. Perhaps you are not noticing that distinction? I have also received emails from SUSD, but they only supplied information on the initiative, and did not tell me how to vote. I have been in meetings with district officials, and they have been very careful to put information out there that is within the limits imposed on the districts by the state as to what they can communicate.

 

Why does this state not value education?

MonicaAlonzo
MonicaAlonzo

 @RighteousIndignation let me get this straight -- so, you know that officials are engaging in violations of state law or in questionable political behavior and you don't say anything? hmm. but you want to complain about me posting a blog when a parent does come forward to report something that is blatantly improper.

 

if you don't speak up -- what you call spoon feeding -- how is the public supposed to know? how is the media supposed to know? where do you think we get our story ideas from? we just sit on top of a building and absorb everything going on in Arizona through osmosis?

 

and, fyi, twist apologized for his "misstep". http://bit.ly/WsyTif  

 

--monica.alonzo@newtimes.com

sweetvittles
sweetvittles

@JAFisClueless Lol, you're aware that Great Hearts is a non-profit organization?  And that they consistently outscore almost every other school network in the state except for BASIS?  Keep huffing that paint.  

robert_graham
robert_graham

 @WhoKnows How about Obama using taxpayer money to fund his lavish vacations???  That should be against the law too.

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