Category Archives: Education

Privatization of our public schools is unpatriotic

Diane Ravitch is a Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She is the Founder and President of the Network for Public Education (NPE). She has written 11 books, to include her two latest, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (2014) and
The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010.)  Her blog, dianeravitch.net, has received more than 30 million hits.

Two of her posts today included my comments to a reader on her blog. This reader is obviously a proponent of school privatization.

Linda Lyon responds to a reader about fiscal responsibility and public schools

Linda Lyon responds again to the same reader

The “reader” shows his bias against our public schools when he calls them “government-run” schools. This verbiage is of course, a slur, meant to disparage our public, district schools. You know, the only schools that take all comers, are totally transparent and accountable, and represent their communities with locally elected school board members. If only privatization advocates would spend their energy, time and resources on ensuring EVERY public school in America had the resources to provide their students what they need to succeed. But then, that isn’t really their goal, is it?

Koch-Funded Prof Back Again with Lecture Against Public Schools

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Remember professor Jonny Anomaly? When faced with public outrage last September, he canceled his anti-public school lecture at a Koch-funded University of Arizona class in Tucson.

Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining…he’s back. Anomaly will present “Public Goods and Education” on Thursday, January 25 at 12:30 pm in the Maloney Room, Social Science building 224, on the UofA Campus in Tucson.

The class description reads:

“But public financing of education can produce negative externalities by creating perverse incentives, and a public monopoly on the delivery of education can discourage experimentation and turn schools into an outlet for intellectual fads and political propaganda.”

“I conclude with a note of skepticism about the desirability of direct government involvement in education, even if it plays a limited role in financing it through vouchers, grants, or loans that can be redeemed at accredited schools.”

This talk is directly from the propaganda playbook of the right-wing Koch Brothers, their front group Americans for Prosperity, and their toady — anti-education Governor Doug Ducey.

The dark-money Charles G. Koch foundation donated $1 million to the UofA to create the “Center for the Philosophy of Freedom,” which is a think tank designed to turn students into future lobbyists for the right-wing, anti-education foundation.

Bogus economic analysis

Concerned parents, teachers, and elected representatives should attend to ask why a publicly-funded university is being utilized as an indoctrination tool to sabotage publicly-funded education.
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This Can Be Done

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

For those who may not have seen them, I had two letters to the editor (LOEs) published recently, one on Tucson.com and the other in the Arizona Republic. As you might have guessed, they were about education.

I don’t know that these LOEs moved the needle any, but if enough of us write them, they surely can begin to. Certainly, we are seeing much more in the news about education than ever before.

One such bit of “news” is the op-ed published by the AZ Republic’s Editorial Board this morning titled “The heavy lift is still ahead on education.” I applaud the headline for making it clear there is much more to be done, and for driving home “how far Arizona still has to go to restore our public-education system and make it secure and strong enough to face the challenges of a growing state.” I also appreciate their astute observation that “The recession taught Arizonans the hard lesson that their children and grandchildren will need solid skills to succeed in a fast-changing world. Our schools are trying to deliver on a starvation diet.” Continue reading

Arizona legislature to court: you can’t tell us that we are violating the law by not funding schools

Earlier this week, I pointed out that Governor Doug Ducey, as well as reporters and pundits, were not discussing the lawsuit filed last year by Arizona school districts for being short-changed by our lawless Tea-Publican legislature on capital funding. Arizona schools to sue state over funding – again:

A year after voters passed Prop. 123 to resolve a $1.6 billion lawsuit over school funding, Arizona school districts are again taking the governor and Legislature to court.

And this lawsuit is even larger.

School budget officials have estimated the cuts since 2009 total about $2 billion.

On Tuesday, Governor Ducey offered a weak response: School capital funding case goes to court, Governor Ducey only offers pennies on the dollar of what is actually owed.

On Friday, the state of Arizona was in court arguing that the court does not have jurisdiction to decide that our lawless Tea-Publican legislature and governor are violating the law, and a previous landmark Arizona Supreme Court decision, on capital funding for schools. The state’s position is not supported at law or prior court decisions. State presses for dismissal of Arizona school funds suit:

An attorney for the state told a judge Friday he has no legal right to hear a complaint that the Legislature is not providing enough funds for schools.

“This is a political question,” Brett Johnson told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin.

The courts have previously rejected the “political question” doctrine in prior decisions.

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Pass HB 2158 to permanently extend Prop. 301 education funding

State Rep. Doug Coleman, R-Apache Junction, on Wednesday introduced legislation that would permanently continue the Proposition 301 education sales tax that brings in about $600 million a year to Arizona schools, which is set to expire in mid-2021. Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, is signed onto the bill as a co-sponsor. Republican bill would permanently extend Arizona’s education tax:

The education sales tax, which voters passed in 2000 as Proposition 301, is set to expire in mid-2021.

State Rep. Doug Coleman told The Arizona Republic that House Bill 2158 would essentially “get rid of the cliff” surrounding Prop. 301.

Prop. 301 is a 0.6 cent per dollar education-funding sales tax. Its future has been a point of contention and concern among education and business advocates and state leaders. The money funds things such as teacher salaries and classroom expenses.

The sales tax — and the hundreds of millions of school-funding dollars that come with it — will be gone unless voters approve an extension of the tax in the 2018 or 2020 election or two-thirds of the state’s 90-member Legislature pass legislation to maintain the funding.

Democratic lawmakers last year introduced legislation to extend and expand Prop. 301, but Republican leadership never granted it the required public hearing or votes.

Coleman said his House Bill 2158 would not have additional funding beyond what schools already receive and would not change how the money from the sales is doled out to schools.

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School capital funding case goes to court, Governor Ducey only offers pennies on the dollar of what is actually owed

The other day I pointed out that Governor Doug Ducey, as well as reporters and pundits, were not discussing the lawsuit filed last year by Arizona school districts for being short-changed by our lawless Tea-Publican legislature on capital funding. Arizona schools to sue state over funding – again:

A year after voters passed Prop. 123 to resolve a $1.6 billion lawsuit over school funding, Arizona school districts are again taking the governor and Legislature to court.

And this lawsuit is even larger.

School budget officials have estimated the cuts since 2009 total about $2 billion.

Governor Ducey addressed this oversight on Tuesday and, once again, just like his sham Prop. 123 to settle the inflation adjustment school funding lawsuit by tapping the State Trust Fund and only paying about 70 cents on the dollar of what the courts had already determined that the state owed to Arizona’s school districts,  Governor Ducey is again proposing to pay only pennies on the dollar over five years as a settlement offer in this capital funding case. The plaintiffs in this case should not settle for less than what is owed, again. Governor’s school funding plan would restore capital dollars to pre-recession levels (not really):

Gov. Doug Ducey trotted out a plan Tuesday to eventually restore funding for capital needs for schools to what it was before the Great Recession (2007).

The proposal would put an immediate $100 million this coming school year into an account that is earmarked for “soft capital,” things like computers, books and school buses.

Ducey hopes to boost that to $371 million by the fifth year of the plan. [upwards of $2 billion is owed.] He also wants to give school districts flexibility, allowing local boards to use the dollars for other priorities, ranging from construction to teacher salaries.

The offer comes nearly a year after a coalition of schools and educators filed suit against the state charging it is not living up to its constitutional obligations to provide adequate funding for school buildings, equipment and repairs. It also comes just three days before Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin hears legal arguments in that case.

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