An "F" for Effort

Sandra Dowling left a huge mess. Now she's trying to stop the cleanup

Last December, every other detention school in the state got its accreditation. But the thousand-plus kids who'll spend time in Maricopa County's lockup this year got shafted. Undoubtedly, a good percentage of them were stuck in classes that they'll never get credit for.

Haas says she believes that Dowling's administration intentionally dropped out of the accreditation process. "I think they were hesitant to have any oversight," she tells me.

That's absolutely appalling. And it's yet another reason why districts like Dowling's need the oversight that comes only with an independent school board.

Shouldn?t this woman be persona non grata?
Martha Strachan
Shouldn?t this woman be persona non grata?
Sandra Dowling and her supporters have campaigned to keep the school for homeless kids open — as evidenced by this sign on campus last summer.
Sandra Dowling and her supporters have campaigned to keep the school for homeless kids open — as evidenced by this sign on campus last summer.

On the other hand, with a real school board, Sandra Dowling wouldn't get away with such arrogance and such complete incompetence. No wonder she rolled out a sleeping bag at the Capitol.

After Representative Anderson's school board bill died in committee, State Senator Jake Flake, the Republican from Snowflake, introduced a bill with the same idea. He won a unanimous verdict in the House, only to lose the vote in the Senate, twice.

Flake believes Dowling's lobbying played a role. "She took it as a personal affront to her," he says. "It's not. I just want our county school superintendents to act as administrators — not the judge, the jury, and the executioner."

Unbelievably, though, Sandra Dowling still has the ear of some of the smartest politicians in town. Just look at the roster of senators who voted against the bill: It includes Democrat Leah Landrum Taylor and Republicans Jack Harper and Carolyn Allen.

Harper tells me that he was concerned that efforts to change the system were part of Maricopa County's vendetta against Dowling — when she may yet be found not guilty of all charges. He says he refused to support the bill after its proponents rejected a delay that would keep changes from going into effect until 2009.

"It really appeared that they want to get her out of there fast," he says.

Harper is right about that. But after reading the receivers' reports, it's hard to blame them.

Dowling's one-woman show has been disastrous for this county's school children. And the faster we scrap the system that allowed her to flourish, the better the chance we'll never have to deal with this level of ineptitude again.

It's too bad the Senate did the wrong thing. Again.

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How come this isn't considered child abuse, theft and fraud . Billions of dollars are spent on education and people still can't function in society.And she was trusted to lead us!! And look where she led days have child pregnancies, drug abuse,racism and gang bangers, in general morale decay. Speaking from experience if you don't fit the schools ideal for a student they ignore you and you get left behind. School system is to conform our children into non American people that the Government can control without much effort.Not teach them how to function in society.(Examples)They won't teach how to deal with insurance companies,landlords,bad police Doctors, dentists, the list is endlessIt's kinda like in the ol'days an Indian not teaching their kids how to fish or hunt or farm. And then wonder "WHY IS HE HOMELESS OR CAN'T GET ALONG"The system is old out dated and needs a major over haul.

The systems old and needs to have a MAJOR over haul.


This just makes me sad; for the kids, the people of Maricopa County, and Sandra Dowling herself. What is gained by any of it? I would rather a good law be adopted for the wrong reason than a bad law adopted for the right one. In the end, the Senate chose to ingore the bigger issue; the proper and effective education of children.

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