Putting the voucher discussion to bed

by David Safier
The State Supreme Court has spoken: vouchers are unconstitutional in Arizona. Yet we continue to argue about them here at BfA. Well, no more. Or not for awhile anyway.

My sense is that vouchers will sit on a back bench in Arizona for awhile. Though voucher advocates have two basic avenues they can pursue, neither of them sound very practical politically at this moment.

They can try to amend the constitution in a way that would allow vouchers. Somehow, I don't see a ballot measure like that going very far. Even in conservative Utah, a whopping 62% of the voters turned against vouchers in 2006. Democrats would probably like nothing more than to be able to say, "Be sure to go to the polls and vote against the Republican's attempts to take taxpayer dollars away from public schools so they can fund religious schools."

The other avenue is to increase the tax credits for private education. Again, at a time when everyone sees the state is in the red, it's a hard sell to push for diverting more money from state revenues.

Both ideas sound like bad moves politically. If I'm right, this issue will sit on the back burner for awhile — years, probably.

And that's where it will sit on this blog.

0 responses to “Putting the voucher discussion to bed

  1. I didn’t know that the superannuated Francine Shacter was on teh interwebz. Interesting.

    Nice old lady–wouldn’t have been a better congresscritter than the almost-classical-liberal Kolbe, but now that he’s gone, who knows? And her campaign provided Tucson with a thousand-year supply of pens!

  2. Come on, “flounder”, and act like a civilized person. I know Ladner–we’re not drinking buddies, or anything, but he’s no stranger–and know that he genuinely desires to improve education. If he has a hidden agenda about Jesus Camp he hides it very well. And I highly doubt his concept of the way things ought to be involves taxpayer transfers to schools; that sort of thing only enters into the picture because government’s participation in this has created a market failure.

    He (and I) happen to disagree with you about how to reform education. Some of us believe that private goods are best provided by markets–and we’ve learned this lesson time and again–and some believe that some of these goods are better provided, for reasons that I’d just love for you to explain, by the State. Some of us are methodological and moral individualists–what is important is the individual kid, does the kid get an instant out from a failing school–and some subordinate that to concerns about “democracy” and “unity”. And some think it important to control what others’ kids learn and don’t like the uncertainty a market would bring in that respect. (This from a poster who attended a private school far more diverse, economically and ethnically, than the public school he’d have been at.) Some of this difference has to do with facts and some of it has to do with values.

    I don’t know whether or not Ladner, were education ordinarily provided in the marketplace, would support residual welfare for the truly needy. But if you ever bother to chat him up about this you won’t hear too much about transfers to upper-middle-class kids, or about Jesus Camp.

  3. Francine Shacter

    Arizonans beat back two bad initiatives during the 2008 election: Payday lending and the meanspirited “gay marriage” initiative. This gave me hope that here, in Arizona, a new breeze is blowing – may it continue and increase in strength!

  4. If there is one thing I have learned about the current Republicans, it is that they totally lack self awareness. Your average Republican actually thinks that people like their hateful agenda. Take that Laddner guy, he thinks that with the right pie chart people will be clamoring for their tax dollars to be spent to send the upper middle class kids from across the tracks to Jesus Camp.
    They don’t think that all the sleight of hand/sneaking their policy around in the shadows/voter disenfranchisement stuff is done because their agenda when scrutinized is deeply unpopular. They think that it is done to somehow stick it to liberals in a ha ha eich bin ein Limbaugh comedy routine.
    Now Arizona Republicans are among the most insular and backward in the country. These people get no outside information except what they hear from Rush and what is written in the local, extremely right-wing paper (which is like Rush but less druggie/sex tourist and more Rushdoony Dominionist-Christianist). The grassroots haters will be screaming for this to be on the ballot, and rather than face a backlash from them, they will put it up for vote with a tricky name (Save Public Schools Amendment), and try to pull out enough dirty tricks to steal the election.