It is no secret that most
universities and colleges across the country are teeming with professors and
adjuncts unafraid to insert their liberal biases into their courses and
teachings. A survey
of 40 leading universities in the country found that Democrat
professors outnumber their Republican colleagues at a ratio of nearly 12 to
are a genuine minority on higher education campuses and
intellectual diversity has become nonexistent.
The result is an ideological
double standard that is destroying our colleges and universities. If you are
liberal college professor lecturing your students on the evils of capitalism or
how America is a cesspit of bigotry, your academic freedom is sacrosanct. Students
that don’t agree with this sentiment are wise to keep quiet and not rock the boat.
What happens when conservative
students and speakers don’t fall in line and decide to stand up for their
beliefs? They are discriminated
against by their professors, or are “shouted
down” and attacked for expressing the minority position on campus.
Conservative professors that refuse
to embrace the liberal Marxist worldview of their peers don’t fare much better.
Case in point: Professor Nick Damask at Scottsdale Community College.
Professor Demask teaches World
Politics at SCC and is considered an expert in the area of international
terrorism. This spring he had his
students take a quiz that included several questions about Islamic
terrorism. One student in the class
claimed that he was offended by the quiz and wrote the professor about his
complaints. Professor Damask provided a clarification of his questions and
offered to discuss the issue further with the student, but before further
discussion could occur, the student posted the quiz on social media.
The professor and the college
were excoriated by liberal pundits and the media for suggesting that there are
terrorists that self-identify with Islam. At that point SCC had a choice—treat
Professor Demask like how they would have treated every other liberal professor
and protected his academic freedom, or throw him under the ideological bus. To
no ones’ surprise, they chose the latter option.
After Professor Damask decided to
fight back the Maricopa County Community College Board opened up an
investigation to determine if SCC handled the situation properly. Nearly a
month later the interim Chancellor of Maricopa Community Colleges published his
findings and determined that administrators
acted inappropriately, and that the school violated the professor’s
Though Professor Damask was vindicated, in many respects it is a hollow victory. His reputation has been permanently damaged, which shows that college leadership can’t be trusted to provide due process or protect individuals with different beliefs than their own.
This freezing of any divergent
speech on campus is a double-edged sword. If serious steps are not taken to address this
issue it won’t take long before conservatives start playing thought police on
campus and engage in their own guerilla tactics to point out every liberally
slanted lesson they deem offensive.
Amid the chaos of the Covid19
pandemic, Arizona lawmakers have proceeded with conducting the state’s
business. Monday March 23rd,
the legislature officially passed an
$11.8 Billion budget as well as a targeted Coronavirus relief
package. They then adjourned until April
13th or until the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House
call them back to reconvene.
The “skinny budget” that passed
was a simple baseline budget with a small amount of growth baked into the
formulas in order to keep agencies operational.
There were no ornaments on this Christmas tree.
In fact, though it seems like everyday
a new bit of disheartening news breaks, the state’s unusually trim budget is
definitely a silver lining. This is
likely the most conservative budget passed by the legislature in a decade. Considering all the big government bills, special
interest tax credit programs, and local pork
projects that were moving through the system and were likely to be
packed into the budget – passing a skinny budget was a win for taxpayers.
In addition to finalizing the
budget, lawmakers also passed two bills to address specific issues with the
Coronavirus – closure of schools and unemployment benefits. The bill related to public
school closures included provisions to not require schools to
make up for normally required days, extending state-wide assessment deadlines
and requiring districts to continue to pay their employees through the crisis. The bill for unemployment
benefits was an emergency measure that allowed the state to establish
alternative unemployment insurance benefits for people specifically impacted by
The budget and these bills now
sit on the Governor’s desk and await his signature.
Meanwhile, the executive branch
has been coordinating with the Department of Health on policies to curb the
impacts of COVID-19. Here are some of the steps their
administration has taken sequentially:
– Governor issued Executive order
declaring a State of Emergency. The order
allowed ADHS to waive licensing requirements for healthcare officials, allowed
the state to access emergency funds and gave the state emergency procurement
authority. It also required insurance
providers to cover out of network providers for tests and treatment of
In conjunction with Kathy Hoffman the Superintendent of Public Instruction,
ordered the closure of all schools.
Issued new guidelines for restaurants, child care providers and nursing homes
for social distancing and recommended gatherings of more than 10 people be
cancelled or delayed.
Activated the National Guard to assist grocery stores and food banks.
Order expanding access to unemployment benefits to individuals
impacted by COVID-19. The Governor’s
office also extended the filing deadline for state income taxes to July 15th,
mirroring the extension at the federal level.
Extended the closure of all schools by another 2 weeks; through April 10th.
Order issued to preempt cities and towns ability to supersede the
Governor’s emergency protocols including closures of businesses. He also defined which entities and businesses
and government services would be considered “essential.”
– Executive Order
delaying evictions for renters specifically impacted by COVID-19.
telemedicine services and prohibited regulatory boards from
requiring in-person examinations prior to the issuance of prescriptions.
Many of the executive orders
issued represent vast deregulatory strides.
Issues that have been highly contested for years such as expansion of
telemedicine, allowing prescriptions to be issued without an in-person
examination, and the waiving of licensure for medical professionals outside of
the state are being swiftly implemented out of necessity. Despite the unfortunate circumstances that
have precipitated these changes, they are a benefit to the state and to
Arizonans. These regulatory roll backs
and a lean state budget are a few silver linings for which we can all be
Over the weekend Republicans and
Democrats in Washington were working toward an agreement on a Coronavirus
relief package to assist businesses and employees being hammered by the
economic shutdown. A bipartisan deal was close until at the last second Democrats
to block the legislation, followed by an announcement by House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi that she would be drafting her own package.
The reason for the opposition?
Democrats are trying to use the bill to pass their wish
list of radical reforms! Some of the demands from democrats include:
Mandated Climate Change Studies
Increased fuel emission standards for airlines
Diversity reporting for corporate boards
Expanded collective bargaining power for unions
Same day voter registration
All mail-in elections
Elimination of all debt at the post office
Retirement plans for community newspaper employees
Study on all climate change mitigation efforts by all businesses benefiting from the legislation
Looking at this absurd list of
demands from Pelosi and Schumer brings clarity to what House Majority Whip Rep.
James Clybern meant when
he said that the Coronavirus crisis, “is a tremendous opportunity to
restructure things to fit our vision.”
They don’t care that none of
these items help patients, hospitals or the regular person currently sitting at
home waiting for this to end. They see an opportunity to exploit the process
and will try to bully Trump and Republicans into accepting their demands.
Make no mistake, every democrat sees this as a political opportunity to implement the Bernie Sanders plan, including Senator Kyrsten Sinema. Earlier this week she joined the democrats in blocking the Coronavirus relief package and then tried to spin it to be about providing enough help to small business and the health care community. How exactly does eliminating the debt at the Post Office and mandated diversity on corporate boards keep small businesses open? How does implementing the Green New Deal help hospitals fight Coronavirus?
It was a shameful display and
exposed every Democrat in Washington. They may talk about the need to fight the
current crisis, but when it came time to act it turns out that expanding
union power clout is more important to them. Even Sen. Sinema was seduced
by this power grab and went along.
Republicans have rightfully excoriated
Democrats over their antics, and so far have not given in to their demands.
They must hold firm—the public will understand why they are rejecting the
liberal wish list and will hold them accountable. Not even the compliant media
will be able to save them—although they will
Since 1994, when Arizona passed
legislation to allow students to “open enroll” in a district school outside
their boundary, families have been taking advantage of the power of school
Open enrollment’s popularity is
evident when you consider approximately half of Arizona kids do not attend
their designated district school. Of
these migrating students almost
half of them are choosing one district school over
Recently, the Arizona
Republic wrote a story about hundreds of parents waiting in line for
up to 36 hours outside Sunnyslope High School with the hope of capturing a slot
for their child. The Glendale Union District operates on a ‘first come, first
register’ basis, and parents were not going to risk missing out on the
opportunity to get their kid into this high-ranking school.
This should be recognized for
what it is: evidence that school choice works.
No longer are children trapped in underperforming schools by virtue of
their zip code, parents are free to exercise their right to vote for their
preferred school with their feet, and schools are getting market feedback on
the quality of their product.
Yet, the AZ Republic gets the
narrative all wrong:
“Educational inequality continues in Arizona despite
a 2018 teacher strike that pushed Gov. Doug Ducey and the Legislature to
give educators a three-step, 20% raise that will conclude this year. Even with
tens of millions more in tax dollars going to Arizona public schools, the state
remains among the bottom five for educational funding.”
The implication being made is that parents are camping outside of Sunny Side high school to flee the Phoenix Union District because of lack of funding and “educational inequality”. This story proves exactly the opposite!
According to the state Auditor
Union High School District (PUSD) received $13,853 per student. If
Phoenix Union was its own state it would be #15 in
the country in per pupil funding. By any metric they do not
qualify as an “underfunded” district.
By contrast, Glendale Union receives $10,385 per student. Think about that: every parent lining at SunnySlope is willing to take $3,500 less to educate their child.
It’s easy see why parents are
willing to forfeit the extra funding after comparing the performance of the two
districts. According to the Arizona Department of Education, only 4 Schools
in Phoenix Union (28%) are rated an A or a B.
Six others are a C and four a D. State assessment scores corroborate
these ratings with only about 20 percent of PUSD students passing math, English
and science. Glendale scores double and
even triple these statistics when it comes to science testing.
You can’t blame demographics
either. Poverty rates are similar in both districts, and Phoenix has much
smaller class sizes (17.7) than Glendale (21.6). The bottom line is the
district that should have a distinct advantage is failing to compete. GUSD
is simply producing better academic results with less money. Families in the area are savvy enough to
As for educational inequality,
the only unfairness that exists in this situation is an
entrenched school financing model that allows under-performing
districts to receive the more funding (and be rewarded for this failure) than
successful ones. Perhaps these parents should be able to take a portion of the
$3,500 they lose when they relocate. That would help address funding inequality
in a hurry. It could also go toward helping expand capacity in Glendale so that
parents don’t have to camp out for days in the hopes of providing their child
with a better education.
But don’t expect the education
establishment or their media enablers to support any real reform. Even when all
of the facts point toward the need to reward success and tying reforms to
funding, they will never abandon their ‘throw money at the problem’ narrative.
Here is an under-reported education fact: K-12 schools in Arizona have received over $1 Billion in new funding from the state over the last two years. This infusion of cash is the largest education spending increase in state history, boosting per pupil funding by 20 percent. Even adjusting for inflation, we are now back to the pre-recession funding levels for education last reached in 2008, which was the previous high water mark for K-12 spending by the state.
would hope that our policymakers are keeping close tabs on this massive
expansion of funding and scrutinizing how our tax dollars are being spent. Instead,
it appears that state lawmakers are preparing to skip this step and commit more
dollars to K-12, no questions asked.
this attitude will change with news that the largest school district in the
state decided to use their K-12 funding boost to go on an administration spending spree:
as teachers were canvassing neighborhoods, fighting to pass a budget override
in the state’s largest school district, new documents reveal Mesa Public
Schools Governing Board members were handing out hefty bonuses and spending
record amounts on administration in the district’s front office.
documents and memoranda obtained by ABC15 show the district’s administrative
spending soared more than 42 percent from 2018 to 2019, exceeding its own
budget by more than three-quarters of a million dollars.
large chunk of the payouts went toward bonuses to employees close to embattled
Superintendent Ember Conley. Twelve members of her executive team received
$22,500 bonuses, while several others had large amounts put into tax sheltered
insult to injury is all of this largesse occurred behind the scenes while the
district actively pushed for more funding through a budget override. Voters in the East Valley are outraged
and one ex-school board member has filed a criminal complaint with the Attorney General’s office to
investigate the matter.
deserve answers, but it’s unclear if they will ever get any. At last week’s district meeting, the Mesa
school board refused to discuss why Superintend Conley was placed on
leave, and provided no explanation as to why the district spending spree was
hidden from the public. They did, however, attempt to defend the payouts and
declared that exceeding the approved administration budget wasn’t really an
lack of candor isn’t surprising given the current political environment
surrounding K-12 funding. There is tremendous hubris among the education establishment,
based on the belief that policymakers are afraid to hold them accountable.
is how you end up with several education groups openly bickering on what tax hikes (sales, property,
income, all of the above?) to send to the ballot in 2020. It appears they have concluded
it is politically unnecessary to explain how the additional $20,000 per
classroom provided by the state has been spent or justify why a tax increase is
required given the news that Arizona has amassed a $500 Million (and growing)
budget surplus for next year.
only way this cycle ends is if Governor Ducey and the State Legislature send a
clear signal that future K-12 appropriations will be tied to results,
accountability and reform. If they don’t, then taxpayers should expect more
demands for additional education spending and higher taxes with no explanations
or expectations that it is being used wisely.
After failing last year to
qualify a measure forcing disclosure of contributions to non-profit
organizations and eliminating donor privacy, Terry Goddard is back peddling a revised
iteration of “Outlaw Dirty Money.” This
time dubbed “The Voters Right to Know Amendment,” the proposal would change the
Arizona Constitution to require the disclosure of the “original source” of all
major contributions used to “influence Arizona elections.”
Major contributions are defined
as $5,000 or more in a single campaign, $20,000 for statewide campaigns or
$10,000 for all other campaigns in an election cycle.
The issue is easy to speak to on
a superficial level – convincing voters they have “a right” to know who is
spending in elections sounds appealing to people on the left and the right of
the political spectrum. However, lying
just below the surface are insidious motivations and consequences.
Encourages Government Corruption
Predating the drumbeat for
private non-profits to publicly out the individuals who support them, there has
existed extensive campaign finance laws aimed to disclose the financial support
candidates receive who are running for public office. Money candidates directly receive is treated
differently than organizations because elected officials who are a part of the
government have a duty to reveal potential financial conflicts of
interest. More importantly, laws already
exist against corruption such as quid pro quos, bribes, and financial
fraud. These are the appropriate laws
that keep politicians honest. These are
the laws that effectively weeded out 7 Arizona lawmakers in the infamous
1991 AZSCAM scandal.
In contrast, individuals freely
and privately associating with organizations that share their common beliefs and
want to share their views with voters is not corruption. It is free
And protecting this right is
important given the track record of harassment and intimidation directed toward
individuals attempting to exercise their 1st amendment rights. This isn’t a theoretical argument; there are several
documented cases of private citizens being targeted for supporting a cause
or organization. One such example
occurred 61 years ago under National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) vs the State of
Alabama. In this case the state
was arguing they had “a right” to the membership list of the NAACP to determine
if the organization was doing business in the state. In the tumultuous throws of segregation, the
true purpose was for the government to create an “enemies list” of financial
contributors by which they could exert their coercive power and intimidate
members into abandoning the cause.
More recently, in 2015 the Wisconsin
Supreme Court ruled in favor of protecting every citizens’ First
Amendment right by determining a three year investigation by the state into
conservative groups was illegal. In the
commonly dubbed “John Doe” investigation, government regulators gnashing for
names of their political enemies actually ambushed non-profit leaders in the
early dawn hours at their homes, crashing into rooms where children slept in an
effort to find donor lists.
This is why transparency is only
a virtue when applied to government and privacy is a virtue when applied to
citizens. That’s why public record
laws only apply to government and not private citizens. Though the proponents of Goddard’s proposal
strive to confuse voters with seedy sounding language like “dark money,” they
cannot point to a single instance where knowing which individuals support what
political speech led to the uncovering of a violation of law or “corruption”.
HOWEVER, there are masses of real-life examples of similar disclosure laws
being used to attack, intimidate, and compel private citizens.
Doesn’t Know What Laundering Means
Lastly, the “Voters Right to Know
Amendment” falsely equivocates laundering with the innocent and lawful act of
individuals giving money to non-profits and organizations with which they
align. As an attorney, Goddard should
know money laundering (which rightfully so is already a crime), involves
concealing money obtained illegally by transferring it through
legitimate businesses. This is an attempt by Goddard to implicate honest
individuals with a constitutional right to spend their money however they like
without the scrutiny of government. Imagining
every private citizen donor as a potential criminal with nefarious intentions
is just wrong. Not to mention
criminalizing anonymous speech is a perversion of justice – there are no
victims in non-disclosure– only victims when the right to privacy is violated.
At the end of the day, initiative’s
like Goddard’s are a dangerous threat to every citizen’s right to privacy, free
speech and association. It concentrates
more power into the hands of the government and erodes some of our most basic
democratic principles. Proponents have
flimsy intellectual arguments and catchy rhetoric – but behind them is
government target list and a loaded gun.
Hopefully, their third attempt to fool voters is equally