Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Huppenthal, our state’s top educator, admitted to posting anonymously on blogs online often using quite harsh language and often times defending his education policies against his critics.
I’m not the biggest fan of Superintendent Huppenthal, so I should feel happy about the revelation that he is a serial deceiver. Instead, I feel a profound sense of sadness for our kids and our state.
Late Tuesday, June 17, Huppenthal issued a statement to The Arizona Republic about the reasons he commented on blog posts under the names “Falcon9” and “Thucydides” instead of his own. He also apologized, saying in the statement, “I sincerely regret if my comments have offended anyone.”
These are some of the excerpts from the Arizona Republic article:
“I have chosen to participate in online blogs as a forum to advocate for and discuss issues related to economics, energy, criminal-justice reform and in recent years, education,”
Huppenthal continues, “I have engaged in these debates under the monikers ‘Falcon9’ and ‘Thucydides.’ I chose this approach because I felt that any other would limit a free and open exchange.”
In one of his postings defending Common Core Huppenthal wrote, “Common Core is selling well in the schools and teachers and it is selling well among people who understand it.” He made this post hiding behind his anonymous name Thucydides and it was posted in September 2013 on Blog for Arizona.
I can’t say that I am surprised to be honest. I have been to candidate forums, where Huppenthal participated in a bid for re-election to be our “top educator” or Superintendent of Public Instruction. With regard to Common Core, Huppenthal would push the boundaries of honesty to their outer limits.
I take Huppenthal’s online deception personally. I penned an op-ed to express my opposition to Common Core as a teacher in the Arizona Daily Independent which was subsequently republished in other Arizona newspapers. Several days later Sarah Gardner, AZ Director of PARCC Assessments at the AZ Dept of Education, called into my classroom to grill me about my understanding and implementation of the Common Core in my teaching.
In my ten years of teaching I have never been called by the Dept of Education, much less in my classroom. I was quite upset and confronted Huppenthal about this incident at a forum he held here in Tucson a few short days later. He denied knowing who Sarah Gardner was and he also said that no one from his office should be trying to intimidate me.
He promised to look into the matter and make it right. I followed up our conversation with an email. I have never heard from Huppenthal or the Dept of Education since. Since then, I have had a suspicion that Huppenthal himself directed that the call of intimidation be made to me in my classroom, though I had no proof.
Now I do have proof that our Superintendent of Public Instruction is a serial deceiver with these anonymous online posts of his in addition to his hazy truths regarding Common Core at the forums in which I’ve seen him participate. Even if he didn’t direct his underlings to try and intimidate me, he obviously has set the tone at the Department of Education where his underlings feel this type of behavior towards those with whom they disagree with is okay.
I have worked on Arizona’s assessments for several weeks every summer for the last five years. I really enjoyed the work and it supplemented my teacher salary. This summer I have not been invited to work on a single assessment. I now feel this was a form of retribution for my anti-Common Core views.
On the other hand, if you are a teacher who supports Common Core in Arizona, your school, district, and your Department of Education will hand you the pom-poms to cheerlead for it. It is now apparent that anonymous retribution against those who disagree with you is now the norm headed by our “top educator” at our Department of Education.
Common Core is the biggest deception ever perpetrated against education in our country and our state, and it has found its perfect stooge in the form of the serial deceiver, John Huppenthal. He has scornfully called good, decent Arizonans who oppose the Common Core “barbarians” from whom he must defend our state.
He did all this while using AZ Department of Education computers to post against his political enemies in online blogs while collecting his taxpayer provided salary. Any teacher in Arizona who pulled stunts comparable to our “top educator” would be asked for their resignation.
I get no satisfaction in the revelation that our Superintendent of Instruction is a serial deceiver, in fact I only feel a profound sense of sadness. The “top educator” in our state should maintain higher standards of behavior and be a role model for our teachers and our kids.
Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time…” We now know who you are Mr. Huppenthal. If you have an ounce of shame you will tender your resignation immediately and/or not seek re-election as our top educator. Our kids deserve so much better.