Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cave Creek Unified and the Drama Teacher Blow up: A View from a Student


In case you had not heard, Cave Creek Unified suspended a high school drama teacher for using instructional materials that some parents found objectionable.  You can read the most balanced story about the suspension here in the Arizona Republic from reporter Mary Beth Faller.

Cactus Shadows student Kyle Kuo wrote a letter to Superintendent Debbi Burdick about the incident.  My. Kuo  is a Cactus Shadows senior who apparently is a student of the suspended teacher. We offered Mr. Kuo the chance to present his letter to the community.

Below is his letter in it entirety with no editing other than removing Mr. Kuo’s address (formatting errors are my fault). You can find Mr. Kuo at @kylepkuo.

[Address Redacted]

October 8th, 2013

Dr. Debbi Burdick
Superintendent, Cave Creek Unified School District
33606 North 60th Street
Scottsdale, Arizona 85266

Dear Dr. Burdick,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cave Creek Unified Test Scores and Student Achievement for 2013 vs. 2012

So at tonight’s governing board meeting, expect the administration to pat itself on the back for getting all “A”s and improving AIMS scores.  Well, the truth is different.  On a whole, test scores in the district declined.

AIMS passing rates is a poor proxy for student achievement. AIMS scores are a rate of students who fall into a category.  A district could work hard on getting marginal students across the AIMS passing bar (despite how low it is set), but overall achievement in the district could drop.

This is the case for Cave Creek Unified for 2013.

See for yourself, here AIMS Mean Scores and Stanford 10 PR\NCE tell the true story. (Note: AIMS Scale Scores did not change 2012 to 2013).


Source: Arizona Department of Education

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Different Look at Cave Creek Unified AIMS 2013 Test Scores

The full set of AIMS scores can be found at the Arizona Department of Education, but we wanted to show a different look at the scores.  Instead of looking at the percent passed, let’s check out the number of failed tests by grade and school for grades three through eight.

By Grade


By School


That is 1087 failed test or around 15%.  Some interesting things stand out like…

  • 111 7th grade students at Sonoran Trails failed the writing test
  • Almost 100 students in grade six in the district failed the math test
  • Almost 22% of the test taken at Desert Sun Academy resulted in a failure, significantly higher than the district result of 15%.

As we have said before, in an area with our demographics, these numbers are way to high, and the district needs to take a serious look at what is happening at Desert Sun. Poor scores like this show why Cave Creek Unified is failing to capture the students in its own boundaries.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cave Creek Unified and the Enrollment Elephant in the Room

With the recent governing board election, the current board members continued to pat themselves on their collective backs about the great job they are doing in such tough economic times.

What they are hiding is the fact that Cave Creek Unified continues to be a district in decline (losing more than 200 students this year alone).

Friday, October 12, 2012

School Districts in Maricopa County asking for almost $2 Billion in November Elections

In addition to Prop 204 which gives a perpetual $1 Billion+ in sales tax revenue to schools and assorted special interests, local school districts in Maricopa County alone are asking for another $2 Billion from the taxpayers in the form of new\continued maintenance overrides, capital overrides, bonds, and interest payments on those bonds.

Below is each district, the type of election, and a link to the voter guide for that election.  The final total, about $2 Billion Dollars in 27 districts.

[If we have any figures incorrect let us know]

School District
 Override   Bond
(Inc. P&I)
Agua Fria Union High School District No. 216 15% Override  $  30,270,000
Alhambra Elementary School District No. 68 15% Override  $  53,862,504
Avondale Elementary School District No. 44 15% Override  $  22,500,000
Balsz Elementary School District No. 31 15% Override  $  11,383,200
Chandler Unified School District No. 80 15% Override  $168,740,532
Deer Valley School District No. 97 Capital Override  $  52,500,000
Gila Bend Unified School District No. 24 10% Override  $    1,855,000
Gilbert School District No. 41 10% Override  $116,375,000
Higley Elementary School District No. 60 10% Override  $  34,300,000
Higley Elementary School District No. 60 Capital Override  $  34,300,000
Laveen Elementary School District No. 59 15% Override  $  24,520,698
Laveen Elementary School District No. 59 Capital Override  $  16,827,930
Litchfield Elementary School District No. 79 15% Override  $  43,200,000
Littleton Elementary School District No. 65 Capital Override  $  13,654,403
Mesa School District No. 4 Bond  $       325,941,099
Murphy Elementary School District No. 21 15% Override  $    8,100,000
Murphy Elementary School District No. 21 Capital Override  $    2,450,000
Nadaburg Unified School District No. 81 10% Override  $    3,220,000
Pendergast Elementary School District No. 92 Bond  $         35,045,000
Peoria School District No. 11 Bond  $       331,994,000
Phoenix Elementary School District No. 1 Capital Override  $  21,000,000
Queen Creek Unified School District No. 95 10% Override  $  17,713,192
Roosevelt Elementary School District No. 66 15% Override  $  43,077,690
Scottsdale Unified School District No. 48 15% Override  $116,913,552
Tempe Elementary School District No. 3 Capital Override  $  35,000,000
Tempe Union School District No. 213 Bond  $    125,692,500
Tempe Union School District No. 213 15% Override  $  58,860,000
Tolleson Elementary School District No. 17 15% Override  $  11,400,000
Tolleson Elementary School District No. 17 Capital Override  $    5,250,000
Washington Elementary School District No. 6 Capital Override  $  54,600,000
West-MEC School District No. 402 Bond
 $       130,513,000
Wilson Elementary School District No. 7 Bond
 $          5,686,000
Total  $ 1,001,873,701  $       954,871,599
Grand Total Maricopa County  $1,956,745,300