Arizona Teacher Announces Effort to Recall State Chief-Elect Douglas

By Andrew Ujifusa — November 26, 2014 2 min read
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A teacher in the Phoenix area has announced that he is forming a political action committee in order to recall Diane Douglas, the Republican state superintendent-elect, who doesn’t take office until the start of next year.

The Arizona Republic reported that Anthony Espinoza, a 25-year-old teacher, registered the Coalition to Recall Diane Douglas with Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett on Nov. 24. In order for an official recall election to take place, Espinoza and supporters of the recall movement have to get at least 364,000 signatures, or 25 percent of all ballots cast in the general election. They also have to wait at least six months from the time she takes office until officially launching the recall effort and circulating petitions for signatures. If the recall movement gets an approved number of signatures, the governor would then call a special election, although the state laws governing recall elections don’t appear to set a hard-and-fast date for that recall election.

Accompanying the new recall push is a Facebook page, “Recall Diane Douglas,” which had about 9,600 “likes” early on Nov. 26, and a website that says: “Diane Douglas has no experience teaching a classroom of children or enacting public policy. She ran a shadow campaign, only speaking to friendly conservative media and failing to show up to 16 public events.”

After beating Superintendent John Huppenthal in the GOP primary in August, Douglas defeated the Democratic candidate, David Garcia, in a close genral election on Nov. 4. A former school board member, Douglas made her prime campaign issue opposition to the Common Core State Standards. Garcia, a common-core supporter, garnered the support of Arizona business interests, who typically support Republican candidates, but it wasn’t enough to propel him to victory.

Douglas can’t get rid of the standards by herself, but she could make a public push for the state to ditch them. And she may have an important ally—the state’s GOP Gov.-elect Doug Ducey, currently the state treasurer, who said during his campaign that the standards might have been a good idea at some point, but have now become “unworkable” because of their ties to Washington. He also wants a “vetting” of the standards, although what that will mean remains to be seen. (The state board of education adopted the common core in 2010.)

In oppositon to the recall movement, a Facebook page has been created by chief-elect’s supporters called “Standing Strong for Superintendent Diane Douglas,” which featured about 870 likes early on Nov. 26.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.