The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled Voters can decide whether to keep school-voucher expansion:
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that voters get to have a say on Proposition 305, a ballot initiative that asks if they want to keep or do away with an expansion of the state’s school voucher-style program.
The Empowerment Scholarship Account program currently allows only certain students to apply for the program, including special-needs students and those from poor-performing schools. The program gives parents public money and allows them to spend it on private school tuition, educational materials and therapies.
Last year, Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican lawmakers narrowly passed legislation (the “vouchers on steroids” bill) to expand eligibility to all 1.1 million public students but capping the program at about 30,000.
A mostly grassroots group of parents and public-education advocates called Save Our Schools Arizona collected enough signatures to refer the expansion to the November 2018 ballot.
But supporters of the expansion — the “Kochtopus” and their Tea-Publican lackeys in the legislature — waged a legal battle to try to keep the initiative off the November ballot.
The decision from the high court deals a final court blow to those supporters and upholds a lower court decision.
Posted in Activism, Arizona State Legislature, AZBlueMeanie, Ballot Referendas and Initiatives, Budgets, Campaigns, Constitution, Courts, Economics, Education, Elections, Ethics, GOP War On..., Governor, Legislation, Party Politics, Propositions
Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.
An article titled, “Proposed GI Bill Model For K–12 Schools Would Impact Arizona Education Funding” by Claire Caufield on KZJJ.org recently caught my attention. Ah…coming to a state near us I thought, the latest school privatization effort to be shoved down our throats. Evidently, the conservative Heritage Foundation has written policy that would make all children of active-duty military members eligible to receive education savings accounts (ESAs) to attend private schools. These ESA would provide “from $2,500 to $4,500 annually to help parents send their child to a private or online school or to pay for tutoring and special education services.”
The idea of ESAs for military children is not new, we already have that in Arizona. What is new, is that the proposal calls for the funding to come from Impact Aid, a fund established by Congress in 1950 to assist districts with the cost of educating children who live on federal lands, and therefore don’t pay local taxes that support the districts. “Today, Impact Aid is disbursed to schools connected to tribal lands, military bases, low-rent housing and other federal properties.”
“Because of the state’s high number of students on tribal lands, Arizona districts received $169 million last year in Impact Aid, the highest total in the country. Over $11 million was for children of military and uniformed services families, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.” Continue reading
Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.
Five years ago today, I wrote and published my first-ever blog post. It was titled, “Don’t Believe the Pundits, Traditional Public Education Works.”
Since then, I’ve written over 230 posts which garnered over 16,300 views. I hope I’ve enlightened a few folks about the war against public education, and am grateful for all those who read my words and took time to comment. Our efforts are stronger when we stand together!
What I’m not grateful for, is the fact that nothing much has come out of the AZ Legislature in the last five years to make the situation better for our district schools. I wrote then about how education tax credits siphon funding away from our district schools. The caps for corporate tax credits have grown from about $56.6 million in 2013 to $94 million in 2018, and the President of the AZ Senate, Steven Yarbrough (who has enriched himself through his School Tuition Organization or STO), is proposing legislative changes that will grow the program even more.
I also wrote about Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) or vouchers. I discussed how they redistribute state revenue and that most of the students receiving these vouchers, would have attended private schools without taxpayer help. That is still true today, but instead of 302 students accessing the program five years ago at a cost to the state of $5.2 million, there were 4,102 in 2017 at a cost of $37 million. Moreover, in 2017, more than 75 percent of the money pulled out of public schools for vouchers, came from districts with an A or B rating, not from schools that are failing. Continue reading
Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com. Sources are referenced in original posting.
After I became an Arizona school board member and public education advocate, I was routinely asked, “doesn’t the Legislature understand what they are doing to our public schools?” I would respond with, “of course they do, it is all part of their plan.” That was five years ago and although we are still fighting the same battles, some things have changed.
Today, many more people understand that the privatization of America’s system of public education is actually the end game. The public is more “woke” than ever to the privatizers’ pursuit of profit and power via the $500B+ K-12 education market in the United States. Of course, the privatizers don’t refer to it that way. Rather, as reported in the Washington Post, they couch their war on public education as a benign attempt to improve the system. As Stacy Hock, a major Koch donor and co-founder of Texans for Educational Opportunity, said, “The lowest hanging fruit for policy change in the United States today is K-12, I think this is the area that is most glaringly obvious.” Continue reading