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June 4, 2014

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Artbeat: Scottsdale Philharmonic

  |   Video
  • Find out about the Scottsdale Philharmonic, an all-volunteer 90-piece orchestra that performs six times a year.
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: the arts, scottsdale, philharmonic, orchestra, performances,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: In tonight's edition of "Arizona Artbeat," we meet a local volunteer orchestra. Eight major cities have shut down their symphonies in recent years because of budget issues, but in Scottsdale a group of volunteers is trying to keep music alive. Producer Shana Fischer and photographer Ed Kishel introduce us to the Scottsdale Philharmonic.

Shana Fischer: By day Joy Partridge crunches numbers as the owner of an accounting business, but at night

Joy Partridge: I'm a ViOLA player. We're the third voice of the orchestra in the string section.

Shana Fischer: Joy is the cofounder of the Scottsdale Philharmonic, an all-volunteer orchestra. The 90-piece group performs six times a year and the tickets are free.

Joy Partridge: We wanted to bring classical music back to anybody, everybody. Children, old people, anybody who wanted to hear the classics, we were going to try to make that available for them.

Shana Fischer: Conductor Martin province says having all volunteers ensures the music is in the spotlight.

Conductor Martin: One thing you're getting people who play just for the love of playing. We don't pay anyone. Everybody volunteers all of their time. And so they're here just because they want to be. No one is here collecting a paycheck.

Shana Fischer: Choosing the music for a concert can be difficult. Province works closely with the Philharmonic's board.

Conductor Martin: The repertoire is so broad and deep and wonderful, that any time you choose a piece, you're eliminating something else. So what we try to do is find a major work we're going to do on a concert and then build a program around that. Maybe a Beethoven symphony, then we would add a vocal selection, an overture, but we go from the major work on the concert and out from there.

Shana Fischer: For the upcoming concert province has gone in a playful direction. He's chosen the William tell overture, the barber of Seville and Beethoven's triple concerto, all featured in Looney Tunes cartoons. While you may recognize these pieces, don't expect to have heard these versions.

Conductor Martin: Just because there's printed notes on the page doesn't mean every orchestra is going to play it the same way. If they did there would be no reason for more than one recording of any piece. It would be like traveling from here to the Montana or something and all of us might take a little bit different route. We would get to the same place, but maybe I want to see a few things in Colorado and you want to see a few things in Utah, so we would go by a different route and music is the same thing. When we all get from one edge to the other, but the route and the path we travel is not always the same. And that's what makes music stay alive.

Shana Fischer: To help it stay alive, the philharmonic relies on donors. As they finish their second season, they're in need of help. The violinist and board member says they're hopeful the community will step up.

Barbara Moss: It's extremely important. It wouldn't be very meaningful or let's put it this way, it would be partially meaningful for musicians if they had no audience. They'd still have enjoyment and love of the music that they were playing, but to be able to give this to an audience, to the community, is such an extraordinary opportunity.

Shana Fischer: Though they come from different backgrounds: music teacher. Tax accountants, business owner, these musicians all share a passion for bringing classical music to the masses.

Joy Partridge: I look at the audience and I look around and see all the faces enjoying the music. And I feel a sense of pride that I'm part of it.

Ted Simons: The philharmonic's final concert of the season is Sunday June 8th. You can learn more by visiting the orchestra’s website Thursday, on Arizona Horizon a visit with the director of the newly formed Arizona department of child safety, and we'll check out a local exhibit of vintage Hollywood costumes. That's Thursday on "Arizona Horizon."

That it is for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

De Facto School Segregation

  |   Video
  • It’s been 60 years since the United States Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education that school segregation was unconstitutional. However, de facto segregation continues. Arizona State University associate education professor Jeanne Powers will discuss her research into the clustering of races in Arizona schools.
  • Jeanne Powers - Associate Education Professor, Arizona State University
Category: Education   |   Keywords: education, school, segregation, races, research,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: It's been years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional. But de facto segregation continues, including here in Arizona. That's according to ASU associate education professor Jeanne Powers: , who is here to discuss her research into the clustering of races in Arizona schools. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Jeanne Powers: Thanks, Ted, for having me.

Ted Simons: What exactly did your research focus on?

Jeanne Powers: What I wanted to do is really look at what's going on in Arizona's public schools, and I think the the 60th anniversary of Brown V Board of Education is a good opportunity for us to really understand what are the patterns, contemporary patterns of segregation in public schools, because segregation has persisted, despite the Supreme Court's decision.

Ted Simons: And we're talking when we say de facto segregation, we mean what?

Jeanne Powers: De facto segregation is segregation that's not mandated by law, and so really the Supreme Court's decision in brown struck down segregation by law. And we had segregation by law in Arizona, state law required the segregation of African-American students until approximately the time of Brown V Board. There were some court decisions that struck it down, actually 12 days before the Brown V Board decision. But in addition to that, I think what's really important for viewers to know is that Latino students were also quite segregated. And this was a form of de facto segregation because it wasn't required by state law.

Ted Simons: So with that in mind, let's go to 1954, let's go pre-1954, what did we see in Arizona regarding segregation, de facto or otherwise, what are we seeing now?

Jeanne Powers: Well, many districts in the around in the 20's, many districts set up separate Mexican schools, and required Mexican-American students to attend those schools. This happened all over the state, and also throughout the southwest. And so Mexican-American parents challenged this segregation and we have a court case in Arizona that was decided three years before the Brown V Board of Education that was actually relatively speaking it was really kind of the most clear and unequivocal court statement against segregation. And that was three years before brown V board of education in 1951.

Ted Simons: So that's 1951, and again, we got up to 1954, let's move to 2014. What are we seeing out there and why are we seeing it?

Jeanne Powers: Well, what we're seeing is continuing segregation in our public schools. And that has a lot to do with housing segregation. So when housing segregation is associated with school segregation, and so when our residential areas are segregated and our schools are also going to be segregated. But I should probably also back up and let you know that Arizona has really undergone a huge demographic shift in the past 20 years. And so in 1990, which is where I started my research, Arizona's public schools were 64% white. And about 27% Latino. And currently they're 41% white and 42% Latino. So we're one of the few majority-minority states in the country.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, as far as school kids are concerned, is it a surprise that we see more predominantly minority schools?

Jeanne Powers: Well, we've had an up creasing number of Latino students in the state, but those students aren't distributed evenly throughout our schools. So what we have are schools that are increasingly segregated, so that, for example, even though whites are a minority of our public school population, the average white student is more likely to go to school with a majority of white students.

Ted Simons: Indeed. I saw some of your research, whites typically attend 60% white schools, this despite 41% as you mentioned, public school enrollment.

Jeanne Powers: Right. So despite these demographic shifts, kids aren't being evenly distributed across schools. That has a lot to do with housing patterns.

Ted Simons: Education in Arizona, there's a lot of talk about choice, and you can go here, you can go there and do all sorts of things. Is that impacting at all de facto segregation? Because you'd think it might ease it a little bit.

Jeanne Powers: It actually hasn't really eased de facto segregation. So in some of my other research I've looked at school choice, and I didn't address school choice in this report, to be honest. That's something I plan to do later as I dig into the data. But school -- Now, what you have to remember about Arizona is we have had school choice for about 25 years now, and so we're pretty much a state with public school choice policies. In general, what we have now is when students are choosing schools now; it's not really altering the underlying demographics of school.

Ted Simons: Is there -- I don't know if you studied this, but the impact on the quality of education received. Is there anything that suggests, you would think that a clustering of low-income kids at one school might make for problems in terms of education levels, you never know. What do we know about that?

Jeanne Powers: What we know is that predominantly poor minority schools also tend to be under resourced. They have less experience teachers, in general those students have access to less academically challenging curricula, and so it's really important that we think about those things when we think about the patterns of segregation in our schools as well. What are the patterns of resources that are associated with segregated schools?

Ted Simons: Low-income students and rationally isolated schools, American Indians, you report, most segregated kids in Arizona?

Jeanne Powers: They're the most segregated group in Arizona.

Ted Simons: That's because -- I would imagine because of location. Correct?

Jeanne Powers: Yes. I believe it's because most -- A lot of American Indians are attending schools in reservations, so they tend to be the most racially isolated group of students in Arizona.

Ted Simons: When you went into this research, what were you looking to find, and what did you find?

Jeanne Powers: Well, I don't know if I was looking to find, I just wanted to document what's out there, because I think if we want to understand educational policy today this, is something we need to think about. And I think it's really important as we move forward, this is an increasingly multicultural global society, so it's really important that kids be exposed to a wide range of students with a wide range of backgrounds in public schools, and as segregation increases or intensifies, that's not going to happen.

Ted Simons: So what do you want people to take from the report?

Jeanne Powers: What I want people to take from the report is that it's really important I think when we think about educational policy to think about encouraging policies that will encourage desegregation. This might not just involved schools, but it might also involve housing, might involve solutions across school districts, and so that's what we need to think about. Because really, public schools are an important institution and that's one of the things the Supreme Court pointed out in the Brown decision, that schools are the cornerstone of our democracy. So it's important we pay attention to these patterns as we move forward 60 years later. And so I really saw the Brown decision -- The 60-year anniversary of the brown decision as an opportunity to kind of look more carefully at what's going on at schools and try to better understand that.

Ted Simons: That's interesting information. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us, we appreciate it.

Jeanne Powers: Thank you.

International School of Biomedical Diagnostics

  |   Video
  • Arizona State University and Dublin City University are joining forces to develop the International School of Biomedical Diagnostics, in collaboration with Ventana Medical Systems Inc. The school will be launched in August 2014 at ASU and September 2014 at DCU. Mara G. Aspinall, president and CEO of Ventana Medical Systems, and Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, will discuss the new school.
  • Mara G. Aspinall - President and CEO, Ventana Medical Systems
  • Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan - Senior Vice President, ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development
Category: Education   |   Keywords: education, asu, biomedical, diagnostics, collaboration, international,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: ASU and Dublin city University are joining forces with Ventana Medical systems to develop an international school of biomedical diagnostics. The school will be launched this fall. Joining us now is Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, senior vice-president of ASU's office of knowledge enterprise development. And Mara Aspinall, president and CEO of Ventana Medical Systems. Good to have you here.

Mara Aspinall:, Nice to be here.

Sethuraman: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Panch we got a new school for biomedical diagnostics. Sounds great. What are biomedical diagnostics?

Sethuraman: I'll let MARA address that.

Ted Simons: Don't you know?

Sethuraman: Of course I know! It's anything that relates to, if you take blood or saliva, whatever it is, and you're able to understand the health condition of a person from the -- To analyzing the samples.

Ted Simons: We're talking diagnostics in what, a new way?

Mara Aspinall: Diagnostics in and of itself is an area that has tremendously progressed over the last few decades. It is no longer as simple as just understanding a blood test, but looking as Panch said, very articulately, a very different biomedical diagnostics and using those in a much more precise and exacting way.

Ted Simons: How critical to personalized medication which seems to be the focus and seems to be the way some much of medicine is going?

Mara Aspinall: It is everything. A patient has nothing if they don't have a timely and accurate diagnosis. Despite the huge influx of great drugs that really can make a difference, if the patient does not understand their clear diagnosis, there is no way that those drugs can truly make a difference to work towards a cure.

Ted Simons: As far as getting a school, an international school, how did ASU hook up with Dublin City University?

Sethuraman: ASU has been looking at partnerships around the globe. We understand that when you look at our students and they're going to be playing in the global arena, it means they need the exposure. They need to be able to immerse themselves in environments other than just only ASU. So this is enabled by the fact we can establish strategic partnerships with certain Universities around the globe. Dublin City University, which is a reasonably young University, is about the kind of University that ASU is. Young, high aspirations, entrepreneurial, and moving forward at rapid speed. So this exemplifies the same qualities. Therefore it's a natural partner for us.

Ted Simons: The global classroom model, what does that mean?

Sethuraman: Which means that students who are enrolled in ASU, are able to get access to courses that are from DCU. They're able to move from here to DCU to be physically present and take classes there being part of that experience. Being able to engage in projects not only at ASU, at the global leader in biomedical diagnostics, Ventana Medical Systems, we're fortunate to have them in Arizona, but also have internships in pharmaceutical firms in Europe. And the same is also for students from DCU to immerse themselves in ASU in courses as well as internships at Ventana Medical Systems.

Ted Simons: Talk about Vantana's situation here, your collaboration. How did that happen?

Mara Aspinall: I had the chance when I moved to Arizona just three years ago to meet president Crow and to meet Panch and I learned a lot about Arizona State University. I saw what ASU had in terms of tremendous assets in the area of diagnostics and life sciences broadly. One of my dreams was to have diagnostics as an independent discipline.

Ted Simons: Why? I read about this, and it seemed like that was a very big focus here. Why is that?

Mara Aspinall: It is critical because diagnostics has always been the asterisk. It’s always been a piece of pharmaceutical science. It's always been a piece of device science. But the industry has moved to a level of sophistication, and importance with personalized medicine that it deserves an independent discipline, and true research and academic study in and of itself.

Ted Simons: And that would separate in the future what's happening now as far as this research, as far as this education?

Mara Aspinall: It will take what's happening now and bring it to a new level of sophistication and we believe at Ventana that there's no better University to do that than with ASU and that was only enhanced by the partnership with DCU, one of the leaders in life sciences in Europe.

Ted Simons: How do you get a partnership between industry leader, a University in Arizona, and a University in Dublin? How do you get everyone on the same page, and keep them on the same page?

Sethuraman: So this is a very good question. What we have done, because of the alignment of our vision and mission, between Dublin City University and ASU, we have been looking at many different areas of collaboration. When we met with Mara, we immediately struck a chord. Clearly there is an intersection of interest and capacities within ASU and DCU that aligns very well with what Ventana is doing and where they're heading into the future. So when Mara talked about biomedical diagnostics and said this is the future that we're moving into, we need more qualified people in this area, we also need to take people who are already in the work force and reorient them, retrain them to be focused into biomedical diagnostics. It became a natural collaboration for us to work together.

Ted Simons: You mentioned people already in the work force. Arizona is a leader in diagnostics, is it not?

Mara Aspinall: It is one of the top cities in the U.S. Certainly with Ventana's leadership, but I'm pleased to say we have more and more companies coming to Arizona to set up their headquarters here and bring that strength with them. And this is critical for what we see as employment opportunities for the students graduating with this Master’s degree.

Ted Simons: So if I'm watching the program right now and I'm saying this, sounds great, how does it affect me? How can this affect anyone here in Arizona, the Phoenix area, in the next five, 10 years?

Mara Aspinall: Two things -- From a literal point of view, we're accepting applications right now. And we would love the strongest possible group of students to start in the fall of 2015. Excuse me, 2014. But in addition, in the long run, we see Arizona as a core place, a center for excellence for diagnostics that allows us to strengthen our health care institutions, and be a place that companies want to come to access the key people and the technologies that we have in Arizona.

Ted Simons: In order to teach something, you have to be ahead of the curve on that something. How fast is the field of diagnostics changing?

Mara Aspinall: Pretty fast. So we have a number of experts, as Mara was saying, if you look at our school of life sciences bio design institute, college of health solutions, engineering, informatics, policy, all of these components are exceedingly important, if you want to have a holistic education and having a real impact on biomedical diagnostics area. We already have faculty members working on this area. We will hire more, and there is a crying need from the perspective of the industry, but there is also interest in the students in wanting to be engaged in this area. So this is really very exciting.

Ted Simons: Again, it sounds from a distance this is a way to push wellness as opposed to fighting illness. Is that fair?

Mara Aspinall: Absolutely. And when we look at diagnostics today, it's not just about diagnosing disease. It's about every part of the health care continuum. So it really starts with screening people for disease to look at risk, diagnosing them, monitoring them, and then in the future, predicting what diseases they're susceptible for and using lifestyle programs as well as potential medications to ensure that we have longer, healthier lives.

Ted Simons: And again, as far as developing pharmaceuticals, big factor there. We referred to that earlier.

Mara Aspinall: Without question. And that is a core to personalize medicine. When you look at personalized medicine the role of diagnostics is to help subsection disease, and with that sub sectioning, we can use medications in a very targeted way to increase cure rates.

Ted Simons: All right. Panch, were you right. She knows her stuff.

Sethuraman: She's fantastic. An amazing collaboration, we're fortunate to have Ventana Medical Systems in Arizona, fortunate to have Mara as a leader of that institution and it's a fantastic partnership.

Ted Simons: It does, it sounds very exciting. It's good to have you both here.

Sethuraman: Thank you.

Mara Aspinall: Thanks for having us here.