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Final Word: Why do we elect a superintendent for Arizona schools?

There is some good news to report on Arizona's public schools.

Nearly a third of Arizona's public schools got an A letter grade this year, which is 16 percent more than last year. Part of that improvement is due to the state's lowest performing students and English learners. Thirty-three percent of schools got a B, which puts a total of 65 percent in the A or B category.

Nice job.

Those scores are mostly based on how students do on the AIMS test. This year is the last for AIMS. The state is currently in the process of evaluating a new test that will measure how students master the new standards, the Arizona College and Career Readiness standards, formerly known as Common Core.

Common Core has been criticized as too rigid and a federal mandate, both of which are untrue and unfair. Teachers have already instituted Common Core, so they may actually be responsible for the higher scores. That was the intent of Common Core.

If our kids actually learn better and master more information, do you still hate them? Don't answer that.

Instead, answer me this: Why do we still elect a State Superintendent of Public Instruction?

We already elect a governor, and we hold them largely responsible for the success of failure of our public schools, but we actually elect someone else to do that job. Why should the person charged with making our schools great also have to be a politician?

Currently, our state superintendent is under fire for being an Internet troll and making racist comments online. Many have suggested he resign, but he is still running for reelection, and has a Republican primary challenger.

So instead of spending his time right now looking at the new possible tests and trying to refine the new standards, John Huppenthal has to campaign. He needs to raise money, distribute yard signs, and participate in debates.

Doesn't the job of educating our children mean more than that? Why should it be a popularity contest?

We should allow our governor to appoint a schools chief, and choose our governor based in part on his or her commitment to public education.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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