Sunday, October 12, 2014

OP-ed: Take it from the parents who know her, Douglas “scarily unqualified” to lead Arizona schools

This was published previously in the Peoria Times and the Arizona Republic's West Valley section.

It is printed here with the permission of the authors (h/t to ProgressNow Arizona) -

To every single voter in Arizona:
 As long-time education advocates in Peoria and Cofounders of Peoria United Parent Council in 2004, we have had long-term first-hand experience with Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Diane Douglas.

We want to make this warning crystal-clear to voters: Diane Douglas does not even remotely have the skills to do the job.

Several years ago, before she ran for the Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) Governing Board, Diane was a member of our parent group. At the time, she seemed to be willing and able to make reasoned decisions and prepared to review all sides of an issue.

However, much to our chagrin and dismay, once she was elected to the PUSD Governing Board, an astonishing Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation took place.  Her dangerous extremism, and overwhelming anti-public-education, anti-teacher agenda came rushing to the forefront. Her micromanaging of educators and overwhelming partisanship — in a non-partisan position — was so volatile and divisive that it became nearly impossible to get even the most mundane day-to-day business of the district done, let alone provide additional support to kids and teachers.

Diane is an anti-everything candidate.  She repeatedly scorns the benefits of higher education.  She opposed every effort to provide adequate funding for our district.  While she was a PUSD Governing Board member, she lead the opposition against Prop. 100, the temporary statewide one cent sales tax initiative intended to provide a modicum of additional support to education. Fortunately, Prop. 100 was overwhelmingly approved by voters and supported by our Republican Governor, Jan Brewer.

Diane’s ONLY "experience" in the classroom is second-guessing thousands of highly educated, hard-working, overwhelmingly competent professional teachers in the district on a daily basis. And, no, teaching people how to make stained glass does not count. Yes folks, this esteemed candidate for the most powerful education position in Arizona most recently worked as an instructor at the local strip mall’s stained glass shop. An honest job, but hardly the background required for providing high-level educational leadership and policy direction for the state.

Please listen to the people who know her best. Don’t put Diane Douglas, who is scarily unqualified for this important state-level position, in charge of the future of our children’s and grandchildren’s education, and hence the future economy of Arizona. By any measure – professionalism, cooperativeness, experience and so much more -- David Garcia is the far more qualified candidate to lead our schools.

The above accurately describes our eight plus year experience with Diane Douglas, however, we are no longer spokespersons for PUPC.

Jan Wilson and Kim Price Olsen, Peoria Parent and Grandparent

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