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Arizona school chief cloaked online comments

The education-reform crowd could use a lesson in technology, it seems.

Former state Indiana school chief Tony Bennett lost the top schools post in Florida after a disturbing trail of email correspondence came to light. Now, a fellow reformer in Arizona is scrambling to explain why he posted anonymous and disturbing comments on popular Internet blogs.

John Huppenthal, Arizona’s elected state superintendent, was the subject of frequent and flattering comments on both liberal and conservative blogs. Posted under the pseudonyms of Thucydides, Socrates and Falcon9, the comments sometimes revealed information about Huppenthal’s own childhood.

Bob Lord, an attorney and blogger at the left-leaning Blog for Arizona, became suspicious and, with little effort, tracked the posts to the Arizona Department of Education. The state superintendent admitted he was the author.

“Obama is rewarding the lazy pigs with food stamps (44 million people), air-conditioning, free health care, flat-screen TV’s (typical of ‘poor’ families),” he wrote in one post. In another, he compared Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s work to the actions of the Nazis.

And the top state education official blamed Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Great Depression. (Yes, you’re right – FDR was not in office when the Depression began.)

At a news conference Wednesday, the unabashed charter and voucher supporter broke down in tears and had to leave the room as he apologized for his anonymous posts.

The controversy hasn’t forced him to resign or drop his re-election bid, however. He faces a challenge in the GOP primary from an opponent of the Common Core State Standards, which Huppenthal and other reformers have defended.

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