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.

(3) comments


Huppenthal supports charter schools? Mr. Huppenthal, we're not ignorant.

We know that on average, charter schools do not perform any better than public schools. Look it up. The studies have been around for years.

We know that our tax dollars go to charter schools, and that many of those schools are run for profit.

I'm all for paying my fair share, but my tax money should only be used for its intended purpose, the end. If there's money leftover from educating kids and it doesn't either go back to the taxpayer or back into the schools, that's called SOCIALISM.

Redistribution of wealth is redistribution of wealth, wether you call it profit or welfare.

I'm surprised the Tea Party folks aren't camped outside this guys office 24/7.

Fred B

John Huppenthal, please stop your lies. I've written letters where I criticized your opposition to full day kindergarten calling it "daycare" before you flip-flopped and voted for it in a political deal. I've written letters where I criticized your support of public money for private schools. I've even written letters pointing out that you have never taught a kid, or supervised a school, and the fact that you are Superintendent of Public Instruction is a sham. But I have never written a letter criticizing charter schools, and I challenge you to find one. If you find one I will publicly apologize to you in a letter to the AFN, and if you don't find one, I expect you to do the same. I am a man of my word, are you?
-Fred Barlam


Mr. Huppenthal,
Please disclose your next political move. You and your family have ZERO public school would be great to know why you are using this office for political positioning.

Please stop telling teachers what we need...and ASK.

Teachers need student debt relief for continuing training and education. Plain and simple.

Teachers don't teach for the money, or for fancy systems. But teachers DO need support. You could be a great help by spreading that message to the Republican bureaucrats who run this state.

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