Category Archives: Religion

New study: ‘Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay are at crisis levels’

ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy has a new report coming out in May on education in Arizona that it is previewing this week. Here is the summary I received by email with the highlights from its (corrected) Key Facts brief added in.

Top findings from new report show crisis levels for Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay

PHOENIX – Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay are at crisis levels with more teachers leaving the profession annually than bachelor of education degrees produced by the three universities, compounded by an exodus of instructors for reasons ranging from retirement to poor salaries.

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Those are just some of the data points and facts in the upcoming Morrison Institute for Public Policy report, Finding & Keeping Educators for Arizona’s Classrooms. The study’s top facts are being released today in a two-page brief, with the full report to be released in May.

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The ‘Kochtopus’ Goldwater Institute is plotting to lift the caps in the new ‘vouchers for all’ law

The evil GOP bastards at the”Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, are already plotting the next step in their 50 year strategy to fully privatize public education in Arizona (in violation of the Arizona Constitution). Howard Fischer reports, Lift on voucher cap in the works:

A key architect of the universal voucher plan approved Thursday is already looking to undermine the key provision of the compromise that secured the votes for the program’s expansion.

In a message to financial supporters late Thursday, Darcy Olsen, chief executive officer of the Goldwater Institute, said those who want to give more state money so parents can send their children to private and parochial schools should not be dismayed about the cap of about 30,000 that is in the final version of the bill.

We will get it lifted,” Olsen said.

And Olsen didn’t even wait until Gov. Doug Ducey had penned his approval hours later to the delicately crafted deal, a deal in which the Goldwater Institute participated — and the deal that managed to bring on the bare minimum 31 votes in the House and 16 in the Senate to secure approval.

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(Update) AZ Senate passes ‘vouchers for all’ bill – action moves to the House (approved and signed by the governor)

The Arizona Republic reports that Arizona Senate approves school voucher expansion; House continues debate:

With dozens of parents protesting at the state Capitol, Senate Republicans advanced on Thursday legislation to expand the state’s school voucher program.

The 16-13 Senate vote on SB 1431, largely along party lines, came as the House of Representatives prepared to vote on the proposal to expand the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program and as Gov. Doug Ducey continued meeting with key lawmakers to discuss the program.

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It was unclear whether proponents in the House would muster votes to pass the legislation as amended by the Senate.

 The legislation introduced by Republicans Debbie Lesko, of Peoria, and John Allen, of Scottsdale, would have allowed all of the state’s 1.1 million public students to use the program by 2021. Instead, Senate Republicans changed the legislation to allow within several years all students to apply for the program but limit the number who become eligible.

The limit would be based on the number of students using the program during the 2021-2022 school year, with a maximum enrollment of about 30,000 students. Until 2022, the current enrollment cap — 0.5 percent of the total public school population or about 5,500 addition students a year — would remain in place.

The current cap is set to expire in 2019.

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Governor Ducey is pushing the unconstitutional ‘vouchers for all’ bill

Governor Doug Ducey told Arizona voters last year that Prop. 123, which ended the inflation adjustment funding lawsuit by Arizona school districts, was only the “first step” towards better public education funding. For more than a year, Arizona’s have been waiting to learn what the next step is.

It turns out, everyone was played by the Governor with Prop. 123. The governor’s next step is to support the privatization of public education funded by taxpayer dollars — a direct violation of two provisions of the Arizona Constitution — by supporting the “vouchers for all” bill that was pulled before the Prop. 123 Special Election last year, and is now back again this year.

The Arizona Republic reports, Private-school vouchers appear headed to vote with Gov. Ducey’s backing:

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is conducting a behind-the-scenes lobbying effort, pressing lawmakers to pass legislation that would expand school vouchers to all Arizona students, according to several people involved in or familiar with recent meetings.

The governor, who has avoided taking a public stance on a proposed full expansion of the divisive Empowerment Scholarship Account program, has discussed the plan with lawmakers in his Capitol office in recent days. The meetings are expected to continue Thursday, when the legislation is scheduled for votes in the state Senate and House of Representatives.

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U.S. District Court for Hawaii issues nationwide restraining order against Trump’s revised travel ban

Second verse, same as the first” . . .

Donald Trump’s revised travel ban from earlier this month, issued after he dropped court appeals of his first badly flawed travel ban, faced immediate legal challenges in multiple courts.

Today the U.S. District Court for Hawaii issued a nationwide restraining order against implementation of the revised travel ban hours before it was to go into effect. Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Latest Travel Ban Nationwide:

A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order (.pdf) Wednesday evening blocking President Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world, dealing a political blow to the White House and signaling that proponents of the ban face a long and risky legal battle ahead.

The ruling was the second frustrating defeat for Mr. Trump’s travel ban, after a federal court in Seattle halted an earlier version of the executive order last month. Mr. Trump responded to that setback with fury, lashing out at the judiciary before ultimately abandoning [an appeal from] the order.

He issued a new and narrower travel ban on March 6, with the aim of pre-empting new lawsuits by abandoning some of the most contentious elements of the first version.

But Mr. Trump evidently failed in that goal: Democratic states and nonprofit groups that work with immigrants and refugees raced into court to attack the updated order, alleging that it was a thinly veiled version of the ban on Muslim migration that he had pledged to enact last year, as a presidential candidate.

Administration lawyers argued in multiple courts on Wednesday that the president was merely exercising his national security powers and that no element of the executive order, as written, could be construed as a religious test for travelers.

But in the lawsuit brought by Hawaii’s attorney general, Doug Chin, Judge Derrick K. Watson appeared skeptical of the government’s claim that past comments by Mr. Trump and his allies had no bearing on the case.

“Are you saying we close our eyes to the sequence of statements before this?” Judge Watson, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, asked in a hearing Wednesday before he ruled against the administration.

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(Update) Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: state Supreme Court rules education funding is unconstitutionally low

Following up on an earlier post in which the right-wing Brownbackistan fna Kansas state legislature passed an income tax increase to balance the state budget after the devastating effects of Governor Sam Bownback’s “trickle down” tax cut utopia experiment, Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: pigs do fly!, Governor Brownback made his choice to veto the tax increase.

As I predicted, there were enough Tea-Publican anti-tax “trickle down” true believer zealots in the legislature to sustain the governor’s veto. Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax policies survive — barely — after Kansas Senate vote: “Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax policy was saved by three votes as the Kansas Senate fell short Wednesday of overriding his veto on a bill that would have generated $1 billion over two years.” “[M]any lawmakers in the House remain committed to rolling back Brownback’s 2012 tax cuts, which they blame for the state’s fiscal hole, and it could take months before they achieve a compromise.”

It is easy to imagine our Koch-bot Governor Doug Ducey and the anti-tax zealots in our lawless Tea-Publican legislature doing the same thing. Rather than raise taxes and reject the dogma of their “trickle down” tax faith, they would rather fiddle while Rome Arizona burns.

Now Kansas — as very well Arizona may face  from a future lawsuit — has another budget-busting disaster on its hands. Kansas Supreme Court Says State Education Spending Is Too Low:

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state’s spending on public education was unconstitutionally low, dealing a new blow to Gov. Sam Brownback, who is facing a rebellion from his own Republican Party over his trademark tax-cutting doctrine.

In a unanimous ruling, the court said black, Hispanic and poor students were especially harmed by the lack of funding, pointing to lagging test scores and graduation rates. The justices set a June 30 deadline for lawmakers to pass a new constitutional funding formula, sending them scrambling to find more money to pay for a solution.

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