It is clear from Fred Barlam’s recent commentary (“Huppenthal’s money plea off base,” AFN, Feb. 17) that he holds me personally responsible for the international, national and state economic recessions, and their devastating impact on education. He blames me for his problems with Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS), for lack of classroom supplies, and for every other ill suffered by his colleagues as teachers.
Mr. Barlam completely misses the point of my request for $35 million for updated information technology at the Department of Education. A $35 million investment will reduce schools’ and teachers’ administrative burden and redirect more than $110 million annually back into the classroom that is currently spent on duplicative technology in our districts and charters. This savings will do precisely what Barlam wants it to do — fund textbooks, provide supplies, improve programs, and support the needs of the classroom.
Mr. Barlam, think of what you and your teaching colleagues can do with an extra $110 million a year for your students. In addition, think of all the time you can save if you had accurate student data at the push of a button. Think of how valuable it would be on the first day of class to have all your student records digitally available. Unfortunately, Barlam continues to hold a long-time political grudge that is currently clouding his vision. I reflect years back on Barlam’s criticism of my support of parental choice and charter schools. I guess the charter school movement has finally caught up with him since he went to work for one. It’s time to give up your unfounded vicious attacks, Mr. Barlam, and move on. I respect and appreciate your passion for education. I share your passion, and hold no ill will for the misinformed nonsense you perpetuate in your letters to the editor.
• John Huppenthal is the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.