Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs has named Senator Sylvia Allen to lead the education committee. This is not good news for public education.
Allen has had a colorful career. She is a Senator because a man fell off a horse. Twice.
Before she arrived in the capitol, she held down a number of jobs, including county supervisor. It was in that job that she was slapped for interfering with an investigation into her son-in-law's misbehavior as a detention officer with female inmates. After becoming a senator, she filed a bill to make it harder to investigate detention officers.
But her legislative career has featured other highlights. In a hearing about some uranium legislation, Allen made the observation that the earth has only been here for 6,000 years (and has done great without environmental regulation, so why start now). That was 2009. In 2013 she hit facebook with a post saying, "Never mind about global warming. What about those chem trails behind planes dropping mind control drugs on all of us."
More recently, Allen offered support for a concealed carry law because the country needs a moral rebirth. Wouldn't it be great, she mused, if we could make church attendance mandatory? It's an interesting thought from a Mormon who has perhaps forgotten that once upon a time, the US sent soldiers to settle religious differences with Joseph Smith using the barrels of the many guns.
The new head of the education committee never went to college, but she did help found a charter school. George Washington Academy is located in her home town of Snowflake.
Democrat Senator Steve Farley doesn't seem too worried. "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."
Well, perhaps. Although the rules for who gets to be accredited can certainly be rewritten by the legislature. Perhaps to weed out those who don't attend church, or who don't believe in the proper age of the earth. Farley may feel okay. I'm just feeling okay that I don't teach in Arizona.