Boyer Tries To Dodge Public On SB1313, Education Overhaul

On Wednesday, the Arizona House Education Committee will consider SB1313, a bill intended to strip the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Office of essential duties and assign them to the unelected State Board of Education. Education activists are outraged over the sudden introduction of an omnibus-style bill as a strike everything amendment.

Some of the provisions in SB1313 were previously embodied in SB1416, but that bill ran into stiff opposition this year, after it left the Senate and headed to the House. As a result, Rep. Paul Boyer was called on to offer the strike everything amendment. Strike everything amendments are frequently used by legislators to pass a bill under the public’s radar.

What Boyer and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey hope to pass under the radar is a bill that serves the agenda of the National Governor’s Association to consolidate control of education and its funding under executive branches.

To that end, SB1416, which when introduced contained 526 words related to teacher certification, was turned into and sold in the Senate as a bill to simply clarify a few duties. By the time the Senate approved it, the bill contained 23,927 words. It morphed into SB1313, yesterday, March 14, at 2:33 p.m., and completely overhauls educational governance in Arizona.

Despite having a clear economic interest in the charter industry which will benefit the most from the bill, Boyer not only crafted the legislation, but scheduled it to be heard by the Education Committee. As chair of the Education Committee, Boyer has hastily scheduled it and the public will be given little opportunity to stop it.

A similar situation occurred in Wyoming under Governor Matt Mead. In 2014, Mead worked with key legislators to pass a bill that stripped then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill of her duties. Hill fought the power grab in the courts, and eventually Wyoming’s Supreme Court found in her favor.

Ducey’s actions against Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas prompted Hill to visit the Arizona Legislature earlier this month to discuss the striking similarities between Mead’s actions and Ducey’s. Much like Mead’s moves, Ducey has created the Governor’s Office of Education.

As noted in the Yellow Sheet on March 7:

The Wyoming Supreme Court cited a 1953 Arizona Supreme Court case to support its finding that the Wyoming Legislature couldn’t strip Hill of her powers, which flies in the face of Biggs’ assertion that the Arizona Legislature can legally pass S1416. The State of Wyoming argued in Hill’s case that the state’s Constitution says powers and duties of the elected state officers “shall be prescribed by law.” Biggs said in testimony in Senate educ (Education Committee) that, “whether you like it or not,” Section 11, Article 4 of the Arizona Constitution, which defines the duties and powers of the SPI, states that those powers “‘shall be prescribed by law’ by this body.” Biggs said the debate on the bill is not on the constitutionality of the Legislature’s actions, but whether the bill is good policy. “This is not only our constitutional right, it is our constitutional duty,” Biggs said in his testimony. The Wyoming Supreme Court looked at Hudson v. Kelly, an Arizona Supreme Court decision on a challenge to a statute that required a newly created “commissioner of finance” to approve many of the functions of the constitutionally created state auditor. Arizona’s Supreme Court found that the auditor “held inherent powers,” and stripping the office of them was unconstitutional. The 1953 ruling stated that the Legislature “could not denude the office of its inherent powers and duties, even though they had been prescribed by statute, and leave the office as an empty shell.”

Rep. Paul Boyer did not respond to an inquiry by the ADI has to why he chose to use the strike everything maneuver.

“Arizona is one of just 13 remaining states with an elected Superintendent of Public Instruction. Representative Boyer’s bill guts this office as well as the will of the people. The last thing our lawmakers should be doing is taking away our vote and our voice,” stated Vicki Alger, PhD, author of FAILURE: The Federal “Misedukation” of America’s Children (forthcoming).

4 Comments on "Boyer Tries To Dodge Public On SB1313, Education Overhaul"

  1. Listen to a Mom | March 15, 2016 at 10:24 am |

    AZ is following the footsteps of other states to shift power from the Elected Superintendent of Public Instruction to an Appointed State Board of Ed.

    When you cast your vote for an elected official, you can hold them to account by re-electing them or voting for a new person next election time.

    Appointed Boards are beholden to the person who did the appointing. In the case of the State Board of Ed, most of the Board members were appointed by the previous Gov.

    Taking important day to day duties that the Sup of Public Instruction and Dept of Ed staff do and giving them to an unelected Board with 2 staff people is wrong and inefficient.

    To put something on State Board of Ed agenda takes 21 day notice and they meet 10 times a year. Many of the changes of power will have 2 staff people responsible for employees from a variety of departments. We’re not just talking about pushing paper around. There are fiscal matters that few people are versed in thanks to our complicated funding in AZ. There are also safety concerns where teacher certification needs to be spot on–SBE has demonstrated since 2010 they have not handled 79 teacher misconduct cases appropriately.

    Often schools need assistance or guidance sooner when an important issue comes up.

    State Board of Ed should not be investigating teacher misconduct and also be the one to rule on the investigation. Checks/Balances are vital and this bill takes that away.

    If this bill passes, don’t be surprised when a headline in the near future says “Good News- We’re saving the taxpayers money”
    The story will be how we don’t need an elected Sup of Public Instruction since an appointed board does the important work. Then think about who that appointed board will be accountable
    to? It won’t be you.

    The narrative will be you will pick a Governor who you think shares your vision for public education. The Gov will appoint like minded people. But know this, most of the SBE board we have today was not appointed by our current Governor. The elected Sup of Public Instruction is your voice and diminishing that office dismisses your vote.

    Remember most of the Republican platform ran to stop Common Core in AZ. Appointees have been fighting against removing Common Core. So whom do you vote out? Right now, this bill is in the hands of the House of Ed committee..if it passes there, then the House Representatives need to stop this bill as they did last year. Best to stop this bill in committee.

    This bill goes to committee tomorrow: Call these Representatives and tell them this bill was a bad idea last year and this year’s version is worse.
    Rep. Boyer: Chairman 602-926-4173

    Rep. Lawrence: Vice-Chairman
    602-926-3095

    Rep. Bolding 602-926-3132

    Rep. Coleman 602-926-3160

    Rep. Otondo 602-926-3002

    Rep. Norgaard 602-926-3140

    Rep. Thorpe
    602-926-5219

  2. AZ Truthteller | March 16, 2016 at 3:57 am |

    SB1313 Strike Everything Boyer Amendment is a changeling quietly substituted for SB1416, in the effort to finish eviscerating the Office of the State Superintendent (SPI). The 1953 AZ State Supreme Court decision in Hudson v. Kelly nails the “crisis” to the Capitol Door!

    Just as the state auditor in Kelly “held inherent powers” which could not be denuded, the Office of SPI holds inherent powers and duties that cannot be stripped by the Legislature or the Governor — contrary to claims by Senate President Andy Biggs and President Pro Temporé Sylvia Allen.

    To be clear, the current assault on the SPI is not new; certain unconstitutional statutes already declare the SPI to be subservient to the state board of education (SBE). The ongoing assault is against the remaining statutes that still do acknowledge those inherent powers and duties in-part.

    Just as he did in the SB1416 Hearing on 2/4/16,* Pres. Biggs ignores the entire purpose of a constitution and the laws enacted in furtherance thereof. He refuses to acknowledge that the constitutional structure gives the legislature strict guidelines inherent within the constitutional nature of an entity.

    Before SB1313 was unveiled on 3/14, Pres. Pro Tem Allen issued a document regarding SB1416 and the unlimited power Pres. Biggs wrongly says is vested in our legislature. The following quote is from that document:

    “Constitutional Overview . . . various entities are established including both the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Interestingly, the Arizona Constitution does not give them a single power, duty or responsibility, but rather leaves that discretion and power to the Arizona Legislature. The Legislature has the full vested authority and duty to prescribe, in any manner whatsoever, the powers and duties of both the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Neither of these constitutional entities has any power unless expressly granted by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.” Allen_SB1416 Changes Chart.doc

    The 7-page document is a propaganda piece pretending that a number of unconstitutional legislative actions and statutes are perfectly lawful, in order to justify eviscerating the Office of State Superintendent of its inherent constitutional authority, powers and duties.

    A constitutional entity has an inherent nature; if it did not, there would be no reason for its establishment in a constitution. It is not just words without meaning nor power requiring the legislature’s enactments “in any manner whatsoever.”

    Reiterating, as the AZ State Supreme Court’s Hudson v. Kelly decision found, “. . . the auditor ‘held inherent powers,’ and stripping the office of them was unconstitutional. The 1953 ruling stated that the Legislature ‘could not denude the office of its inherent powers and duties, even though they had been prescribed by statute, and leave the office as an empty shell.’

    The new version of SB1313 is the Third Generation of bills seeking to do exactly what our State Supreme Court held is unconstitutional:

    “The Legislature ‘could not denude the office of its inherent powers and duties.’”

    What can WE do?

    We defeated its predecessor in the whole House last year. Now, let’s defeat SB1313 in the House Education Committee!

    Please contact the House Education Committee Members before 2:00PM TODAY, Wednesday 3/16, and urge them to vote Nay on SB1313.

    Thanks to “Listen to a Mom” for the member information!

    BEFORE 2:00PM TODAY, if you use RTS, please register your opposition, consider writing a comment and signing-on to request to speak in House Ed today! Our legislators do look at the RTS information and they take note of the numbers for and against a bill!

    *To watch the SB1416 Senate Education Committee video, go to: http://azleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=13&clip_id=16631

  3. Wow, Listen to a Mom and AZTruthteller! I just learned a TON about this issue. What I will add is this. Who in their right mind would give the SBE more power? The SBE has a disgraceful performance record, demonstrating their incompetency, wasteful spending, and downright dangerous decision making. “Do as I say, not as I do.” Here are a few examples: 1) The SBE’s reputation for lowering standards. “In 2005 the State Board, over the objections of state Superintendent Tom Horne, reduced the passing grade on the AIMS test from 72 percent to 59 percent for reading, and from 71 percent to 60 percent for math. Even with the reduced passing threshold, and a math test that has gotten progressively easier, just 61 percent of the class has passed after three attempts.” Most State Board of Education members said lowering the scores would look as if they were lowering the bar and backing off high standards for high school graduates, but still they voted 9-1 to do it. And the Legislature, in their vast wisdom then as now, got into the act, allowing grades in class work to add as much as 25 percent to a student’s AIMS results. 2) The SBE spent untold thousands of dollars developing new Math standards in 2008/2009, only to dump them for Common Core Math in 2010. 3) In 2010, the SBE agreed to adopt Common Core Standards, sight unseen. The time and money wasted, and aggravation and agonies their action has caused Arizona families is incalculable. 4) In adopting CCSS, the SBE disregarded ARS15-203(A)(10)(12)(13), which requires them to present a budget to the legislature relating to the accomplishment of its purposes, as well as a fiscal impact statement of any proposed changes to the minimum course of study or competency requirements and, on completion, send a copy to the director of the joint legislative budget committee (JLBC). They didn’t do it. It wasn’t until 2013 that ADE estimated the cost to implement Common Core would be $387 million, far more than Arizona received from the Race to the Top “competition” which netted a paltry $25 million. 5) The SBE has adopted assessment after assessment after assessment, the latest of which (AzMerit) has proven to be expensive, un-validated, worthless, and psychologically harmful to Arizona’s children. First it was AIMS, then it was PARCC. Then, on November 3, 2014, just a few months before testing was to begin, the SBE abandoned PARCC in favor of AzMERIT. It bears emphasizing what happened here. The SBE rolled out the red carpet to federal intrusion into state sovereignty. 6) The SBE has placed children at serious risk of teacher misconduct. State teacher investigators, working under the direction of the board, inaccurately recorded about a third of their teacher investigations. Between 2010 and 2015, 79 cases of teacher misconduct were not properly reported, by investigators under Board supervision, to state and national databases. A teacher, whose certificate was revoked in Oregon managed to get a teaching certificate in Arizona two months before she was charged with 10 felonies in Oregon, for allegedly having sex with a student.

    Most recently, the Arizona Daily Independent cited yet another flagrant misuse of power and the taxpayers’ pocket book. See https://arizonadailyindependent.com/2016/03/07/pricey-sbe-website-reveals-lack-of-care/. The SBE decided to create a “new” website, for public input regarding the Standards. Hardly anybody could figure it out, probably by design, based on SBE’s history.

  4. "Hap" Stone | March 16, 2016 at 3:16 pm |

    It is obvious that the loser was the de facto winner in the last School Superintendent election. It is also very obvious that there would be no way that Dianne Douglas’ clear voter mandate would be implemented.

    This is disturbing at so many levels it has become extremely difficult to articulate.

    The first level is the election itself and the vitriolic rhetoric leveled at Douglas. It was embarrassing or if not capable of it should be. The media engorged itself with it, not the least of which was Capitol Times betraying their readers and subscribers. I won’t even try with the Az. Republic. That should be obvious.

    The second level is the State Constitution itself every legislator pledges to up uphold. Pledges are promises-legislative pledges of this kind are contracts with the electorate.

    The third is legislative appointments, which if their elected pledge means anything, should reflect that same fidelity to the electorate in who the legislature appoints to the various boards and who the Governor, himself uttered the same oath of allegiance to the Constitution, and approves. And whom he supports in the execution of pledge should always be electorate.

    In the case of the Superintendent of Schools, Gov. Ducey broke his pledge not only to the fidelity of the office of SoS but to the that of the electorate as well. One could say he outright lied.

    The fourth is the board itself. This board should never have been seated. Here the whole of the Constitution and fidelity to the electoral process is null and void. And instead sits a body of “unelected” individuals in direct ideological conflict with both the Constitution and the electorate.
    The board that was seated was clearly in direct conflict with the wishes of the new SoS and the electorate and the new Gov.s own campaign statements, reflecting a mindset established for the most part by the previous administration, which surreptitiously signed MOUs (again in direct conflict with the State Constitution and the electorate) and would claim to have the power to do so.

    As far as this board is concerned there was never an election for either the Governor nor the SoS and even if there was it did not and does not involve them nor are they bound by it.

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