Tag Archives: school funding

Not Fake News, Just Propaganda

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Yesterday, a friend emailed me a copy of a Goldwater document that had been placed in all the “mail” boxes at his “Life Plan Community” (retirement/assisted living). The document was titled, “The Truth about Teacher Pay”, and dated April 12, 2018.

Even without the Goldwater logo at the top, I could have easily identified it as a right-wing propaganda piece. In it, the Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy, Matthew Simon, began by making the point that “though fingers are pointed at state legislatures with calls for higher teacher salaries, the reality is that in many cases, locally elected school district governing boards are responsible for the size of paychecks.” He went on to write that, “independently elected governing boards wield considerable power in their positions by creating policies, crafting school district budgets and setting teacher pay.”

Simon provides a couple of examples of the significant difference in pay between various school districts to make his point. He then writes that, “teachers in Arizona have launched their demands at legislators in a well-coordinated campaign.” Of course, this “well-coordinated campaign”, is just a dog-whistle to infer the big bad “union” is driving the train. Truth is, the #RedForEd effort comes from a grassroots movement. There is no statewide collective bargaining unit in Arizona, because our state is a “Right to Work” state. Which means, employees really have no rights at work. Continue reading

Arizona’s mismanagement of public education

You may have been following this story over the past several weeks. Arizona allocated $85 million to wrong schools for special-education, low-income students:

Financial miscalculations by state education administrators have resulted in hundreds of Arizona schools missing out on tens of millions of federal dollars to serve students with special needs and those from low-income families.

According to an Arizona Republic analysis of data provided by the Arizona Department of Education, the state has misallocated $85 million over the past four years, giving some schools too much and some too little.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas last month publicly announced that the state erroneously allocated $56 million in federal Title I funds for low-income students. Last week, she sent a letter to schools notifying them of another problem: $30 million in federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) grants over the past three years allocated to the wrong schools.

For some underfunded schools, this may have required them to pull general classroom funds to cover expenses for special-needs services, and prevented them from hiring additional teachers or giving raises.

“The superintendent and (Arizona Department of Education Chief of Staff) Michael Bradley are not taking this lightly,” said department spokesman Stefan Swiat. “They are taking an audit found under a previous administration and they are tackling it.”

Swiat said the start of both problems dated back to prior superintendents, although the issue with special-education funds wasn’t fully assessed by federal officials until this September.

The disclosures from the Arizona Department of Education has fueled the argument from education leaders that they need more money to properly educate the state’s K-12 students.

Continue reading

Arizona’s tuition tax credit for private schools debated by US Supreme Court

51st-15-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of the constant, absurd, expensive court battles between our boneheaded state government and the feds.

How many MILLIONS of dollars have Governor Jan Brewer and her clown posse in the Arizona Legislature wasted on Quixotic court battles over right-wing ideology?

This week the US Supreme Court will waste more of its valuable time on an obviously flawed and discriminatory Arizona law that gives rich people tax credits when they donate to private schools– to help rich kids and their rich buddies who own the private schools. (Seriously, the Governor and the Legislature won't be satisfied until all of the guv'mint schools are closed and the buildings sold to their business buddies for pennies.)

From the Arizona Republic

WASHINGTON – The legal challenge to Arizona's private-school tax-credit program went before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, and justices confronted attorneys on both sides about whether it violates separation of church and state.

In hourlong arguments in the nationally watched case, justices focused heavily on the structure of the tax-credit program, which allows taxpayers to donate up to $1,000 to non-profit organizations that distribute the money as private-school scholarships. Taxpayers then can take a dollar-for-dollar credit off their state income taxes.

Justices focused on whether donations are, in effect, directly steering government money to religious schools, as the challengers argue, or are a taxpayer charity that goes to private-school students, as supporters contend. [More here.]

Given this recent finding against school vouchers, it will be interesting to see how the Arizona case shakes out.