Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why does Huppenthal (STILL) vehemently contend he is NOT the Superintendent of Public Schools?

So, John Huppenthal brazenly defended his position offering taxpayer funds to send children to private schools in Arizona.

The long and the short of it is that Hupp has rehearsed his lines, apparently quite a bit, yet still sounds incredibly awkward proclaiming that he is NOT the Super-intendent of Public Schools and that he defines all children as being members of the public.

The azcentral story has additional video from Brahm Resnik's interview with Huppenthal, apparently shot on February 11.

Huppenthal, who previously served in the legislature, seems to be unfamiliar with applicable Arizona law regarding the office he holds.

Arizona Revised Statutes Title 15, Chapter 2, Article 3 specifies the authority and responsibility of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Huppenthal claims the title of Superintendent of Public Instruction, but has specifically said that he is NOT Superintendent of Public Schools. A.R.S. § 15-251 Powers and Duties (of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) says,
     The superintendent of public instruction shall:
1. Superintend the schools of this state.
2. Request the auditor general to investigate when necessary the accounts of school monies kept by any state, county or district officer.
3. Subject to supervision by the state board of education, apportion to the several counties the monies to which each county is entitled for the year. Apportionment shall be made as provided in chapter 9 of this title.
4. Direct the work of all employees of the board who shall be employees of the department of education.
5. Execute, under the direction of the state board of education, the policies which have been decided upon by the state board.
6. Direct the performance of executive, administrative or ministerial functions by the department of education or divisions or employees thereof. 
What does "Superintend the schools of this state" mean? It's a transitive verb, defined as,
1. to oversee and direct (work, processes, etc.).
2. to exercise supervision over (an institution, district, place, etc.). 
I don't mean to be picky, but does ANYONE actually believe that private schools are a subset of "schools of this state?"

Let's just test this, shall we?

How about we call up the Phoenix Country Day School or St. Mary's High School and ask the administration of each what role John Huppenthal has in directing the education at those schools?

Phoenix Country Day School staff reports to a Board of Trustees, not to John Huppenthal. St. Mary's is not accountable to oversight by John Huppenthal, but to the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

By the way, the statute setting forth Huppenthal's authority and responsibility says ONLY what he SHALL do. It does NOT say anything about what he MAY do, with regard to private school oversight. And his lame-ass claim that he defines all students as being part of the Arizona "public" for whom he is responsible to provide quality education is completely irrelevant.

The duties and powers of the Arizona Board of Education, to which Huppenthal is responsible, are spelled out in A.R.S. § 15-203. There is a list of things the Board SHALL do and a separate list of things the Board MAY (is authorized to) do. The first thing on the list of duties of the Board is
1. Exercise general supervision over and regulate the conduct of the public school system and adopt any rules and policies it deems necessary to accomplish this purpose.
On its website, the Board states, "The State Board of Education is created by the Arizona Constitution and charged with the responsibility of regulating the conduct of the public school system."

John Huppenthal was NOT elected to superintend, manage or supervise the public, or to superintend, manage or supervise students. If he had been, then he could make the argument that he has a responsibility to supervise ALL students. His argument is invalid and unsound.

John Huppenthal is DEAD WRONG about his responsibilities and his position.

This appears to not just be a political problem. John Huppenthal may have overstepped his legal authority.

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