Roberts: Sylvia Allen scorched for her voucher vote
    Laurie Roberts , The Republic | Published 3:19 p.m. MT April 19, 2017

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The Payson Roundup has declared war on northern Arizona’s legislators.

The newspaper called out Sen. Sylvia Allen and Reps. Bob Thorpe and Brenda Barton for their votes to expand the state’s voucher program.

“They’ve apparently decided we don’t need free, universal public schools,” the Roundupwrote in an April 11 editorial. “So they all three voted for vouchers — which will probably do even more damage to public schools in Arizona than our indifferent Legislature has done to this point by ensuring we have among worst-funded schools in the nation.”

That’s going to leave a mark come election season. Or at least, it should.

Allen barely won this district in '16

Legislative District 6, which sprawls across parts of Coconino, Gila, Yavapai and Navajo counties, is considered a Republican district yet Allen barely eked out a win in 2016. She defeated former Jerome Mayor Nikki Bagley, a Democrat, with just 50.91 percent of the vote. This, with the help of a nearly $17,000 "dark money" campaign, courtesy of the American Federation for Children -- a driving force behind the voucher legislation.

Thorpe and Barton, meanwhile, held off a respectable challenge from Democrat Alex Martinez, a former school superintendent.

The district has almost as many independents (43,379) as Republicans (49,225). Add in Democrats (37,361) and it’s not difficult to envision a riled electorate holding a throw-the-bums-out party on Election Day 2018. (As a number of districts should do, given this year's legislative assault on our rights and our schools.)

Good for the Roundup for calling its legislators out and passionately laying out the case for why our leaders' justification for universal vouchers – to provide choices to poor parents whose children attend failing schools -- is  “hypocritical, outrageous nonsense.”

Why they should be sweating this one

Given that 95 percent of Arizona's children attend public schools and poll after poll shows that public schools rank as a top concern among Arizona voters, I believe I might start to sweat a bit if one of the newspapers in my district basically accused me of child abuse given my record on public education.

“Our already shamefully underfunded public schools will grow more segregated as they bleed money and students,” the newspaper wrote. “The richest, most pro-active families will move their children to private schools and our educational system will increasingly serve to harden class boundaries, rather than providing equal opportunity to all our children …
“And so neglect degenerates into abuse. But we’ll say one thing for the vote to cannibalize our public schools. This vote strips away all pretense. So just make a note.

“Senator Sylvia Allen. Rep. Bob Thorpe. Rep. Brenda Barton.

“They still represent Rim Country.

“But make no mistake: They’re now the declared enemies of free, universal, public education."

Sylvia Allen is a Republican member of the Arizona State Senate, representing District 6. She was first elected to the chamber in 2014. She previously represented District 5 from June 2008 to 2013. Allen currently serves as President Pro Tempore and previously held the same position from 2011 to 2013.

She served as chair for the Navajo Country Republican Party from 2000 to 2005.

Committee assignments 2017 legislative session

At the beginning of the 2017 legislative session, this legislator served on the following committees:
• Appropriations
• Education, Chair
• Natural Resources, Energy and Water

​​Roberts: Senate education chair to teacher: 'Give me a brake!!!'
      Laurie Roberts , The Republic | Published 10:44 a.m. MT May 9, 2017

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Today’s legislative outbox outburst comes courtesy of Sen. Sylvia Allen, responding to concerns from an elementary school teacher about Allen’s comments on public education.

Alicia Klassen of Tempe emailed Allen late Thursday, while watching online as the Arizona Senate debated the budget. “I just heard that you say that you are tired of receiving negative emails,” Klassen wrote. “I truly understand how you must feel, but there is a way to improve this situation. When we speak to each other in a civil manner we can accomplish much more. When you referred to public school teachers as educrats tonight, I was quite dismayed. I have devoted 35 years of my life to public education, so your comment was quite hurtful.”

Allen's quick, thin-skinned response 

One minute and 32 seconds later, the Snowflake Republican responded.

“Oh give me a brake!!! I wasn't talking about teachers I was talking about administrators and the UNION,” Allen wrote.
I could actually give the chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee -- a high school graduate who went on to co-found a charter school in Snowflake -- a “brake.” Perhaps she was referring to administrators when she disparaged the people who are struggling to educate our kids with 31 percent less money than that which is invested in the average American public school student, according to the Morrison Institute.

Attacking unions for education ills

Perhaps Allen doesn’t know that Arizona actually spends less than the national average on administrative expenses, according to the state auditor general.

But the “UNION”? Spare me the GOP narrative that the all-powerful teacher’s union is the source of all things that plague public education in Arizona.

Elementary schools teachers in this state rank dead last among all states in median pay, according to the Morrison Institute. High School teachers are right behind them, at 49th.

I talked last week with a rural teacher who has been in the classroom for 25 years and is just now hitting $40,000 a year.

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Arizona Gov. Ducey signs bills on teacher certification
    Mary Jo Pitzl , The Republic | 5:01 p.m. MT May 2, 2017

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Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday signed a bill that will create an alternative-teaching credential for Arizona schools, arguably the second-most controversial education measure approved by the Legislature after the voucher bill that was OK'd last month.

He also gave his approval to a bill that will allow 16- and 17-year-olds in foster care to buy auto insurance, a move that advocates say will help normalize the teenage experience.

The signings were among a flurry of bills the governor is moving off his desk as the Legislature heads toward possible adjournment this week.

The certification bill is one of the planks in Ducey's education agenda: to get more teachers into Arizona classrooms, especially with an ongoing teacher shortage. Senate Bill 1042 allows school districts, not the state Board of Education, to decide whether an applicant is eligible to teach.

Candidates must have a bachelor's degree, pass a background check and have at least five years of work experience that relates to the subject matter they would teach.

Democrats and teacher allies bitterly fought the bill, fearing it would lead to lesser teaching standards and devalue the training and extra education teachers receive before taking over a classroom.

But the governor touted it as a fresh way to get new blood into schools.

"By reforming this outdated certification system, the legislation encourages highly-qualified individuals in Arizona who are dedicated to shaping our children’s futures to enter the field of education — without jumping through bureaucratic hoops," Ducey wrote on his gubernatorial website.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake. It had unanimous Republican support, and just one Democrat voted for it: Rep. Daniel Hernandez of Tucson.

Senate votes to lower teaching standards
    Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services   Originally Published: April 26, 2017 6 a.m.

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PHOENIX — Over the derision of Democrats, Republican state senators voted Tuesday to expand the ability of people without specific education training to become teachers as a method of dealing with a shortage of people in the classroom.

SB1042 requires the state Board of Education to adopt regulations for certifying alternative teacher and administrator preparation programs that are “substantially different” than those for traditional training programs. It also allows local school districts to decide to certify teachers through a “classroom-based preparation program.”

The legislation also eases requirements for people from other states to be able to teach in Arizona classrooms.

Arizona has been plagued with a shortage of teachers for years. Diane Douglas, the state school superintendent, said more than 40 percent of teachers quit in the first two years.

The solution proposed by Gov. Doug Ducey in his State of the State speech was to repeal “outdated rules” he said keep qualified people out of the classroom.

As proof, he said that Sandra Day O’Connor, the now retired justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, is not considered qualified to teach civics in high school.

“That’s crazy,” the governor said, saying lawmakers should let local school boards, superintendents and principals make hiring decisions.

Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, said there’s only one problem with Ducey’s example: It’s “a feel-good story,” and a false one at that. He said existing rules already allow for someone with credentials in a professional field to go into the classroom while they pursue a teaching certificate.

SB1042, he said, is not only unnecessary but “dumbs down the requirement for teachers.”

“It’s because we don’t pay them enough,” said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson. “And you don’t solve the teacher retention crisis by lowering standards.”

Sen. Lisa Otondo, D-Yuma, told colleagues she did not go through normal teacher training but entered the profession through a non-traditional method.

“There are plenty of ways to become a teacher,” she said. Otondo said easing the standards won’t deal with why many leave.

“It’s because of pay,” she said.

“And you do work all weekend and you do work hours,” Otondo continued. “I don’t know how many of you have graded 8th grade language reports but I can tell you it doesn’t take an hour.”

And Rep. Juan Mendez, D-Tucson, said the message of the legislation is that special skills are not needed to help students learn, something he said only adds insult to the low salary.

Not all the complaints about SB1042 came from Democrats.

“Lowering the standards or affirming lower standards doesn’t get us where I think we need to go,” said Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix. But she voted for the measure because she was able to make some changes to the final product to make it, in her mind, a little bit better.

But Sen. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, said the measure shows lawmakers “are thinking outside the box” to find new ways to get teachers in the classroom.

And Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said the experience of her grandmother, who was allowed to teach in the one-room schoolhouse in her community despite never having gone to high school herself, shows that there are many acceptable paths to being in front of a class. And Allen said regulations are not the answer.

“Those regulations don’t tell us whether we’re a good teacher or not,” she said.The measure still needs final House approval before going to the governor.

Sen. Allen would make church mandatory. God help us.
    EJ Montini , The Republic | Published 8:09 a.m. MT March 26, 2015

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Our Father who art in heaven ... could you take a moment out of your busy schedule and come down here, please?

We need You to explain a few things to Arizona state State Sen. Sylvia Allen.

(I know. You're shaking your head, aren't you? This might be too daunting a task even for YOU.)

Allen, as You know, is a Republican from Snowflake, a Tea Party favorite who wants to pretend Arizona is an independent country rather than a state, and who believes government should stay completely out of people lives -- unless she can use her position to help out a son-in-law who got into some hot water over behavior with some of the inmates he was guarding at a women's prison.

But that's another story.

Anyway, Big Guy, they were debating a gun bill at a legislative committee meeting at the State Capitol this week so, naturally, Allen brought up religion.

(In Arizona, complete lack of logic is natural. But, you know that, too)

This was one of those crazy bills in which lawmakers want people to be able to bring concealed weapons into public buildings. Allen got upset because a few people expressed common sense opposition to the idea. Lawmakers here cannot abide common sense.

Allen said, "Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth," adding "that would never be allowed."

She hinted that guns in public buildings might be necessary until there is a moral rebirth.

(I couldn't find anything about that in the New Testament, but I'm no biblical scholar.)

"I believe what's happening to our country is that there's a moral erosion of the soul of America," she said.

Allen later told the Arizona Capitol Times that she wished things were more like they were in the 1950s.

(Again, I know what you're thinking: Civil rights problems. Women's rights problems. Voting rights problems. Segregated schools.)Allen told the Times, "People prayed, people went to church. I remember on Sundays the stores were closed. The biggest thing is religion was kicked out of our public places, out of our schools."

I'm not sure that even a Supreme Being such as yourself could get through to the lesser beings in the Arizona Legislature, but perhaps You could take a moment and explain to them the Constitutional reason for a separation between church and state. And perhaps explain as well that religion and morality are not something that comes from public schools, but from our faiths, our families and, ultimately, ourselves.

Sylvia Allen

State of Arizona 6th District Senator

Sylvia Allen cutting School Funding

New Report on ... Sylvia Allen

Roberts: What's enough for schools? Sylvia Allen doesn't get it

Roberts: Sylvia Allen scorched for her voucher vote

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News Articles

Creationist Sylvia Allen to lead Arizona Senate education panel
    Alia Beard Rau , The Republic | Published 8:24 p.m. MT Dec. 21, 2015

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One of the best-known lightning rods in the Arizona Legislature will now help shape the future of education.

Senate President Andy Biggs named Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. Allen replaces Kelli Ward, who resigned the Senate earlier this month to focus on her congressional run.

Allen is best known for her controversial public comments over the years. During a legislative hearing in 2009, she said the Earth is 6,000 years old, a belief held by "Young Earth" biblical creationists. In 2013, a Facebook post about chem-trailconspiracies gained widespread media attention, as did a March comment suggesting mandatory church attendance.

Last year, Navajo County Sheriff K.C. Clark accused Allen of trying to interfere with a criminal investigation of her son-in-law.

Allen, who graduated from Snowflake High School and did not attend college, is co-founder of George Washington Academy, an EdKey, Inc. charter school in Snowflake.

As chairwoman, she will control which legislative education proposals succeed and which ones die.

Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, who had criticized Allen's church comment, said he looks forward to working with her on education issues.

"She's made some interesting comments to the public, but it's not like she's going to be teaching," he said. "We have accredited teachers for that."

He said Allen has always had an open door for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

"I think she'll do a pretty good job," he said.

Allen in a statement said she will focus her efforts next session on teachers and parents.

“I want to highlight the incredible teachers who are the reason for our children’s success," she said. "I also want to focus on parents’ responsibility in their children’s education. They are a critical part of their children’s success. We need to encourage that involvement."

A Complete Profile of Senator Sylvia Allen to Educate, Enlighten, and Inform Citizens and Voters in the 6th District of Arizona. (Which Includes the Verde Valley)



Arizona charter school linked to top education lawmaker gets an 'F'

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General Facts:

Next general election: November 6, 2018

Arizona’s sixth state senate district is represented by Republican Representative Sylvia Allen.
Arizona state senators represent an average of 213,067 residents. After the 2000 Census, each member represented 171,021 residents.

About the office: Members of the Arizona State Senate serve two-year terms with term limits, limiting senators to four terms (a total of eight years).  Arizona legislators assume office on the first day of the session after they are elected. Each regular session begins on the second Monday in January.

Arizona State Senate, District 6 General Election, 2016

Republican: Sylvai Allen, Incumbent, 50.91%, 49,318 votes
Democrat: Nickki Bagley, 49.p09%, 47,557 votes

Results of the 2016 Election, by County
Coconinio         Allen: 16,802      Bagley: 25,405
Yavapai           Allen: 14,541      Bagley: 14,570
Gila     Allen: 9,601        Bagley: 4,271
Navaho            Allen: 8,374        Bagley: 3,311
Totals: Allen: 49,318      Bagley: 47,557 

(928) 719-0900

Articles and Links to Informative Websites, stories, stats, etc.

District 6 Reults

AZ State Senator Results

I Spy, Political facts

Sylvia Allen, Wikipedia