Arizona University Students Resigned to Pay More

Categories: Education

John M. Quick/Flickr
University Drive, Tempe, Arizona.

Arizona university students aren't exactly happy to pay more tuition, but during a public meeting with the Board of Regents last evening, many said they support proposed price increases in the name of maintaining quality amid deep cuts to state funding.

"It's not students' fault and it's not the administration's fault that the state chose to divest in our education," said Isaac Ortega, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. "But now we have to find a way to share the pain."

Presidents at the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University have proposed about a 4 percent bump in tuition for resident undergraduate students. At U of A, which lost $28.5 million in the state's latest budget deal, that brings charges up $446 to $11,403. Students at NAU will pay $10,358 to offset the loss of $17.3 million in taxpayer support.

Arizona State University President Michael Crow plans to keep in-state tuition flat at $10,157, but charge students a one-time $321 fee to help fill in the $53 million gap the Legislature carved out of the budget. The institution is trying to keep tuition and fees as "low as possible," he said. "Even with these adjustments," in-state tuition prices "are highly value oriented."

All plans increased costs for out-of-state students by between 4 and 15 percent.

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ASU Under Fire From the Right Over a Professor's "The Problem of Whiteness" Class

Categories: Education

Brenda Clarke/Flickr

ASU is taking a hit in the news for offering a senior-level English class next semester called U.S. Race Theory and the Problem of Whiteness.

The controversial 18-student class will be taught by assistant professor Lee Bebout, whose expertise is critical race theory, American studies, and Chicano studies. Critics of the class -- who are calling it racist against white people -- say it will inflame racial tensions in the country, not abate them. Supporters call that claim ridiculous and think the whole situation is a faux-scandal designed to promote a right-wing agenda.

This all began a few weeks ago when the conservative organization Campus Reform broke "the story," and Fox News promptly aired a segment called "Disgrace on Campus."

Fox interviewed ASU's student correspondent Lauren Clarke, who scoffed at the class' required reading list. "All of these books have a disturbing trend, and that's pointing to all white people as the root cause for social injustices for this country," she said. "To have a class that suggests that an entire race is the problem is inappropriate, wrong, and quite frankly, counter-productive."

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Failing Charter Schools: Victims of Unfair Regulation or Blights on Public Education?

Twenty years ago, Arizona became the second state in the nation to allow charter schools to operate in the public education system. In honor of the anniversary, New Times is taking a hard look at charters in Arizona. Earlier stories in this series examined how charter schools often fail kids with special needs and serve a disproportionate number of kids from wealthy white families. Today: how to handle failing charter schools.

Pablo Iglesias
Jeffrey Blay Jr. isn't a typical child. He is socially awkward, obsessive-compulsive, and academically brilliant.

Jeffrey attended elementary school in a California suburb. He couldn't stay in his seat. He would walk around, straighten out books, and sharpen pencils as his teachers explained the day's lesson. Not all teachers understood how Jeffrey's mind worked, and sometimes he was punished for not following classroom rules.

At just under 5 feet tall, the 12-year-old has blond hair and blue eyes -- and a diagnosis of autism.

At the end of fifth grade, his parents, Jeffrey Sr. and Jana Blay, opted out of sending their son to a junior high school in California. Instead, they moved to Arizona, where they home-schooled Jeffrey for a year.

And then they stumbled upon a school that seemed as if it might finally meet their son's needs: Jefferson Academy of Advanced Learning in Show Low, a small community about a three-hour drive northeast of Phoenix.

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Diane Douglas Recall Campaign Gains Momentum

Gage Skidmore
Diane Douglas
A week after David Garcia conceded to Diane Douglas, a campaign to recall the state's new schools chief already is well under way.

The effort is led by Anthony Espinoza, a public school teacher, and Max Goshert, an aquatic safety instructor with the Red Cross. The two had discussed their concerns about Douglas before the election, and they were shocked when she won. So Espinoza started a Facebook page demanding a recall shortly after election night. It had a simple description: "Diane Douglas is not fit to lead as the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Arizona."

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David Garcia Finally Concedes to Diane Douglas in Schools Chief Race

Democrat David Garcia has conceded to Republican Diane Douglas.
Nearly a week after polls closed, Democrat David Garcia has finally conceded to Republican Diane Douglas in the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Garcia spent the week holding tight for a final ballot count, but conceded late yesterday night.

The Associated Press declared Douglas the winner on Sunday. Though thousands of votes have yet to be counted, Douglas has been consistently ahead of Garcia since the polls closed last Tuesday. She currently holds a 1.15 point lead, representing nearly 17,000 votes.

"With the way the numbers have trended, we do not see a path to victory," Garcia said in a press release. "I'm conceding the race and congratulating Diane Douglas on her win."

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With All Precincts Reporting, David Garcia Still Waiting For Early Ballots To Be Counted in Schools Race

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia
Republican Diane Douglas has more votes, but Democrat David Garcia hopes he might still pull ahead.

With the full count from Tuesday's polls finally in, it looks clear: Republican Diane Douglas has more votes than Democrat David Garcia in the race for state Superintendent of Public Instruction. But Garcia's camp isn't ready to give up, holding onto hope that the early ballots dropped at polling places on Tuesday may allow him to make up the difference.

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Garcia Not Ready to Concede in State Superintendent Race

Ashley Cusick
David Garcia and his family at the Democrats' election night headquarters.

With almost 97 percent of precincts reporting, the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction remains tight, and neither camp is ready to give up.

Republican Diane Douglas currently has 51.08 percent of the votes, while Democrat David Garcia holds 48.79 percent.

That 2.29 point margin represents a difference of 25,632 votes, with Douglas outnumbering Garcia in early ballots and at the polls. Of the 1,566 precincts in the state, 49 have yet to report their results.

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Fountain Hills Teacher Claims She Was Fired for Defending Student Against Racist Bullying

Categories: Education, News

Ashley Cusick
Student Malacai Washington, Reverend Jarrett Maupin, fired teacher Pamela Aister, her attorney Benjamin Taylor, and their supporters at yesterday's press conference.

A Fountain Hills teacher is fighting back after she claims she was wrongfully terminated for defending a student against racist bullying.

Pamela Aister, a 70-year-old fourth-grade teacher, was fired this fall because of an incident that allegedly occurred at Four Peaks Elementary School in Fountain Hills in May. Aister had been with the Fountain Hills Unified School District for 25 years.

Aister claims she saw a verbal altercation in the yard that May morning between five boys and Malacai Washington, an African-American student in her homeroom class and one of only three black students in the school.

At a press conference held yesterday outside the state capitol, Aister said Washington began school in another fourth-grade homeroom but was moved to her class in part because of conflict with other students.

Aister said she approached the boys that May morning and said, "He's in my room now. He's not alone anymore. If you're picking on him, you're picking on me."

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David Garcia Endorsed by Three Former AZ Schools Chiefs in Bid for State Superintendent

Three former schools chiefs--including a Republican--have endorsed Democrat David Garcia in his bid for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

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Race for Schools Chief: Huppenthal and Thomas Out, Garcia and Douglas In

Ashley Cusick
Huppenthal and family at last night's Republican primaries gathering.
After a spring marred by his controversial blog posts and accusations of racism, State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal lost his bid for reelection in last night's Republican primary.

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