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Diane Douglas statement on Gov. Doug Ducey turning over two board of education firings

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PHOENIX — Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas released the following statement Thursday after Gov. Doug Ducey overturned her firing of two state school board members.

It is has not been edited in any way.

“Governor Ducey apparently views himself as both Governor and Superintendent of Schools. For someone who has spent so much time discussing the plain meaning of ‘or vs. and’ as a justification to deprive schools of hundreds of millions of dollars to give to his corporate cronies as tax cuts, I wish he would use the same precision in looking at the plain language of the law with regard to the powers and duties of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.”

Attached to this press release is a fact sheet which clearly shows the plain language of the Constitution and statutes which give the Superintendent the authority to direct and fire employees of the Board of Education. It is also clear that employees cannot be hired unless recommended by the Superintendent.

“Governor Ducey has refused to take calls or meetings with me personally since his swearing in,” Douglas continued. “Clearly he has established a shadow faction of charter school operators and former state Superintendents who support Common Core and moving funds from traditional public schools to charter schools.

“It is no surprise that his office supports retaining two liberal staff who have publicly stated they will block all efforts to repeal or change Common Core and backs the newly elected President of the Board of Education who is a charter school operator and stands to profit from the Governor’s policy of pushing through AzMerit to lower school scores so that more students can be removed to charter schools,” Douglas went on to say. “I swore to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the State of Arizona with my hand upon the Bible. I take that oath very seriously and will continue to do so. I also promised the voters of the state to replace Common Core and will not falter in my best efforts to keep my promise, regardless of whether the Governor honors his campaign rhetoric to do the same.”

“If the Governor thinks I have to justify hiring or firing at will employees who can be terminated without cause and without rights of appeal, then it brings into question the dozens of agency heads and gubernatorial employees who have been removed and replaced for clearly political reasons. Does the Governor also believe he controls all other elected officials created by the state Constitution? If so, the next ballot should only have one office to vote upon,” the Superintendent stated.

“I wish the Governor would focus on his own duty to fill vacant positions on the Board of Education. We have encouraged him to appoint real ‘lay persons’ and to bring back African-American representation to the Board. Unfortunately, he is remiss to address his own education responsibilities. Despite publicly stating that education is the number one issue in the state. If he would spend time selecting Board members it would also reveal whether he is actually for or against Common Core. Perhaps that is the cause for his reticence,” the Superintended stated.

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