Diane Douglas hears concerns, suggestions during listening tour

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(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas headed to the Scottsdale Unified School District Thursday evening to hear concerns from parents, teachers and the community.

Douglas sat quietly and listened to concerns and suggestions about bettering the district.

"Where is the conversation about equity, about cultural competency, about the effects of poverty on children, the need for the arts in our schools, the negative effects of stress and the deprofessionalization of the teaching profession?" one person asked.

Many of those who spoke asked the superintendent to take their concerns to state legislators. Some of the main sticking points were about funding, assessments and perceived overcrowding.

Some also highlighted their perceived belief of inequality on testing scores, and others just said there was overall and unnecessary focus on testing.

Douglas also addressed recent allegations that she interrupted a classroom while the students were taking the AZMerit test. Douglas vehemently denied it and said she was allowed inside by the school's principal.

"I certainly think when I know that we are taking or have taken the people who are getting paid for the test in to see the testing, I certainly think it's only appropriate that the person who represents the parents of this great state also be able to see the testing, too," she said.

She also addressed the controversial AIMS testing probe currently underway.

"I certainly hope that we find nothing but anomalies here in Arizona," she said. "I believe it's our due diligence. ... We want to make sure our children are evaluated fairly."

Douglas added that time will tell, and it's now in the hands of the Attorney General's office.

As for listening tour, she'll be at a public library in Chandler at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning to hear more from the community.

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