Tag Archives: public education

The Coercive Power of Taxation

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Robert Robb wrote in a recent Op-Ed in the AZ Republic, “The government, through the coercive power of taxation, establishes a central pool of resources for the education of students.” Wow, the “coercive power of taxation.” Now that is some powerful spin. Last time I looked, taxes (that “central pool of resources”) are something we agree to pay. After all, as Jeff Bryant, in his blog OurFuture.org, writes “But in a democratic society, “government” is ultimately up to us, and what it does is an expression of what we want to do for ourselves.So what the critics of government are saying, really, is that they have a problem with democracy. It’s important to know government wasn’t turned into a four-letter word by happenstance. It happened by design.” The government isn’t though, some outside entity over which we have no say. The government is us! We elect those who make the laws we must follow and set the taxes we must pay. We also have the power to un-elect them. To believe those who would tell us otherwise is to abrogate our rights and responsibilities.

I just don’t get it. If taxes are an evil, coersive power, how does Robb expect a civil society to fund the common needs of its citizenry? Is there no responsibility on the part of that citizenry to contribute to provision for the common good? I suppose he would advocate for business to do it. I hate to break it to him, but business can’t or won’t provide for all our needs. There just are some things that are best provided collectively by government and based on my 22 years in the Air Force and time as a government contractor afterwards, I’ll take a sometimes inefficient government team working for our common good over a profit driven contractor any day! Continue reading

We Do Not Fight Alone!

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Arizona enjoys a multitude of great organizations fighting for our public schools and I have written about some in previous posts. Our public education advocates also have a great friend beyond our state borders, (one the CEO of BASIS calls “one of the most virulent anti-school choice institutions in the country”), the Network for Public Education (NPE).

NPE was founded in 2013 by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody. For those who may not know, Diane Ravitch is undoubtedly the leading advocate for K–12 public education in the nation. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds a Ph.D. in the history of American education. She was a U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education under President George H. W. Bush, and is still an education policy analyst and a Research Professor of Education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. She is a prolific writer about education both on-line at her blog DianeRavitch.net, and in print with seminal books such as “The Death and Life of the Great American School System” and more recently, “Reign of Error.” Continue reading

#LD9 Voters – Can’t Decide How to Vote? Watch the Debate (video)

Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley, Ana Henderson

The Arizona Clean Elections Commission recently hosted a debate between the three candidates vying for two seats in the Arizona House: Democrats Rep. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley (me) and Tea Party Republican Ana Henderson.

This debate was the first candidate forum that Henderson participated in with the two Democrats, and it’s likely the last. With 75 or more people from both parties, the debate was well-attended. The audience submitted many great questions. Some questions are asked of all candidates– like education funding, climate change, Prop 205 (marijuana legalization), and Prop 206 (raising the minimum wage).

Below is the video.

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Open Letter to Diane Douglas

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Dear Diane,

It is with great sadness I write you this letter. I say that because I just had my hopes dashed once again that people of different political ideology could actually trust each other to put the mission over self-interest. In my Air Force, career the “mission” was almost always paramount, but I’ve not found it to be quite as prevalent in civilian life, especially when politics are involved. I must admit that after my most recent meeting with you, I was encouraged that you were “mission focused” on behalf of all Arizona students. In my opinion, you said all the “right” things and your “AZ Kids Can’t Afford to Wait” plan outlines 30 proposals that with few exceptions, seem like the way right to go. And, although you support school choice, you also recognize that 85 percent of Arizona’s students attend district schools and that you stated you are committed to getting them the resources they need.

I supported your opponent for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2014 and was incredulous and very disappointed when you won. Your tumultuous beginning as the Superintendent confirmed my belief you were not the right person for the job. Of late though, I’ve begun to feel that you’ve settled down and if not yet “hitting your stride”, at least properly “setting up in the chocks.” Unfortunately, my breath was taken away this morning when I read my public education Google Alerts. The headline that caught my eye was Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas endorses Donald Trump for President. OMG!!! Are you freakin’ kidding me? Continue reading

Tucsonans Take to the Streets to Protest Ducey/GOP Budget

public education

Approximately 100 Tucsonans rallied against massive cuts to education proposed by Governor Doug Ducey and the #AZGOP.

More than 1000 people rallied at the Arizona Capitol to protest cuts to education on Thursday. The Phoenix rally spawned a similar protest in Tucson, where 100 people protested millions of dollars in cuts to K-12 education, $104 million in cuts to universities, and elimination of funding for Pima Community College and other community colleges in Pinal and Maricopa County.

Tucson education rally

Governor Ducey had proposed increasing prison beds and funding, while cutting education. Protesters took issue with that short-sighted idea.

ICYMI, Governor Doug Ducey and Republicans in the Arizona Legislature cooked up a terrible budget deal in secret, announced it on Wednesday, and tried to ram it through both houses before the public knew what hit them (literally). Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and the blogs– Arizonans quickly organized against Ducey’s budget plan.

You’ll remember that Ducey and the Legislature are facing a budget deficit of nearly half a billion dollars this year and over $1 billion next year, AND, thanks to Tooth Fairy Math, they believe that that can balance the budget, give millions of dollars in corporate tax cuts, and do nothing to raise revenue (to pay down the deficit or to make the tax cuts seem less ridiculous affordable.)

Parents, teachers, school board members, public education supporters, and students from 5 to 25 years old showed up in force in the two cities to tell the governor that balancing the state budget– yet again— on the backs of students and families is unacceptable. At this time, Ducey doesn’t have the votes in either chamber of the Legislature to pass his budget. Images from the Tucson rally after the jump.

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Can We Trust #DiceyDucey with Public Education?