by David Safier
This is the second in my series, Questions for John Huppenthal.
The question is: Why the emphasis on private and home schooling?
Hupp hopes to be the Superintendent of Public Instruction. That encompasses the 93% of Arizona students who are in public schools. Here's the breakdown:
- Traditional public schools: 84%
- Charter public schools: 9%
- Private schools: 5%
- Home schooling: 2%
(To break this down still further, about 70-80% of private schools are religious, which means about 1.5% of Arizona students are in secular private schools.)
And yet, Hupp is fixated on that 7% in non-public schools, with a secondary emphasis on the 9% in charters. In fact, he thinks private schools are public schools, because -- get ready for it -- all students are members of the public.
No, I'm not kidding. Here's a direct quote:
My belief is that all children are members of the public, and every child, by giving parents more power, you're going to get better outcomes and you'll get the best outcome for all students.
By that definition, everything in the country is "public" because everyone in the country is part of the public. Brilliant!
Huppenthal loves to talk about "school choice," which is a euphemism for backdoor vouchers like private school tuition tax credits as well as straight-up private school vouchers, both of which he supports. If you want to see Hupp get enthusiastic, watch his eyes light up when he talks about private schools and home schooling. His eyes shine when he talks about charter schools as well. Traditional schools? He can take 'em or leave 'em. And if he was given his druthers, he and many other Republicans would leave 'em with minimal funds and minimal support.
Remember the 24 foot banner Hupp hung on a high school wall at a Republican rally during the primary, violating the rules against drilling holes in the wall?
Of the 6 accomplishments he lists, two are about private and home schools, one is about charter schools, one is about deaf and blind kids, and one is about kids with autism. The sixth brags that he helped create the justly maligned English language immersion program for ELL students.
Accomplishments about bringing more funds or better programs to the vast majority of students in traditional public schools? Not a whisper When Hupp was talking to his anti-traditional-public-school base during the primaries, he avoided public schools like the plague. Now that he's trying to broaden his appeal, he's talking more about traditional schools, because he has to.
THE SERIES: This is the second in a series of questions for Huppenthal. The first is Can You Show Us the Research? I followed that with a close look at an instance of how Huppenthal cherry-picks and misrepresents educational research -- Exclusive: Huppenthal's "Arizona in the middle in achievement" distortion unmasked