15 Jun 2010 05:18 pm
Posted by: Donna

It has come to my attention that Corona del Sol High School student reporter Keith Wagner is displeased that his school project, which included the interview with Sen. John Huppenthal, is being used for political points. Also, it seems that the snippet of the interview I got from youtube was taken out of context and that Huppenthal did return after he’d left the room and completed the interview.

From today’s AZ Capitol Times Yellow Sheet:

“He did come back and he was very polite,” he said.
Wagner also said he was irked that some are using the video, which was a class project, to score political points. “I am a little upset that the focus of that has been changed to ‘high-schooler interviewing a state senator and kind of catching him off guard,’” Wagner said. As for the legislation Wagner asked Huppenthal about – he described it in the story only as a bill that cut $550 million from K-12 and decreased the career and technical education funds from $11 million to about $57,000 – the student said he was referring to H2028 (Laws 2009, Chapter 5), which lawmakers approved May 13 last year. However, the student seems to have misunderstood what the bill did, as it didn’t cut $550 million from K-12 and didn’t wipe out funding for vocational programs. The bill, which was part of a a two-bill package that closed a $650 million deficit in FY09, did three things: roll over $100 million in university funding; roll over $300 million in K-12 funding; and cut $250 million from K-12, but backfill the cuts with an equal amount of federal stimulus money. Additionally, budget documents from JLBC show the career and technical education funding levels are unchanged from FY09 at about $11.5 million.

I blogged in haste and I humbly apologize.


  1. Comment by AZ1Thomas on June 17, 2010 11:51 am

    Kudos for your retraction, Diva. Even though it exposed the soft underbelly of blogging (where emotion often trumps important things like facts), it is excusable.

    It is sometimes difficult to walk a fine line between politics and policy when discussing public education in Arizona– but it IS necessary to walk that line.

    Some saw this video as an opportunity to take a partisan shot at Huppenthal. Others realized it illustrated what a complex beast education funding is in our state. The difference between those two reactions– partisan hackery and true policy knowledge– is important.

    The learning here is that it would be better to have someone with a solid understanding of education policy running the Department of Education rather than a political hack. Students and schools need resources not gamesmanship. Even the most partisan readers of your blog would agree that public schools are there for ALL children, not just blue or red ones.

    When this video broke, one of the people I asked about it pointed me to this document which shows that the funding in question is the same for next year as it was this past year.

    She knew where to look for the facts, and that is why I am supporting her for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

    Her name, of course, is Penny Kotterman.

  2. Comment by Kyle Simonson on June 20, 2010 1:12 am

    What you fail to observe in your correction is that “roll over” means in real terms that the money will NOT get applied to the educational institutions until the next year, effectively still being a cut in education funds. And there is no guarantee that they won’t get cut still. And the purported “backfill” of federal funds? It is a complete distortion of what federal education funds are being spoken of. You cannot “backfill” with funds that are already spoken for and assumed to be part of the education budget.

    Obviously, you still have a lot of homework to do. Spend a year or two in an actual congressional office, working on real legislation and you’ll understand these CYA buzzwords.

  3. Comment by Donna on June 21, 2010 9:36 am

    Okay Kyle, get me a job in a congressional office then. I’m basing my statement on figures published by the JLBC.

  4. Pingback by Sonoran Alliance: Arizona Politics for Conservatives » The Arizona Republic: “Huppenthal video distorted by Dems” on June 21, 2010 9:08 pm

    […] The Village Voice:  Was High School Journalist Keith Wagner Used by Democrats as a Viral Pawn?Arizona Capitol Times Yellow Sheet:  High School Journalist ‘Upset’ At How Video Being UsedDemocratic Diva:  Retraction […]

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