Tag Archives: laurie roberts

We Get What We Deserve

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Wow! I normally think of Laurie Roberts as a fair-minded reporter with a pro-public education bent. I don’t know what happened to her this morning, maybe she ran out of leaded coffee and had to drink decaf. At any rate, I couldn’t let her opinion piece, “Does Arizona really need 236 school districts?”go unanswered.

First of all, the answer is no. But of course, this isn’t the sort of question that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” because there are so many variables that must be factored in. For example, I was recently on the Diné (Navajo) reservation where even relatively close to Tuba City, the students must travel over REALLY bad roads for over an hour each way every day to get to and from school. Could we do more to consolidate district schools on tribal lands? Maybe a little, but I’m guessing opportunities would be very few and far between.

Sure you say, but that’s a really different situation than what they have in downtown Phoenix. Yes, that’s true, but I’m guessing there are other unique circumstances in those schools and the voters elect locally elected governing boards to make decisions about what is best for their students and their communities. Do they always get it right? No – no one ever does. But, they are closest to the action and have the best chance of making the right calls. Continue reading

Differing Plans for Different Philosophies to Solve the Education Funding Crisis in Arizona

Teachers are on Day Four of their walkout

Teachers are on Day Four of their walkout

As the educator walkout continues this week, there are currently five published plans that have been offered to solve the funding crisis our education community faces in this state. Each plan has positive features to one or more groups. All of them have drawbacks to one or more groups. Hopefully, mature public servants on both sides will get together and try to fashion a plan based on aspects of part or all of these proposals that will enable the children and educators to return to school.

Plan One: Invest in Education Act Ballot Initiative

What is the scope of the plan? To place an initiative on the November ballot to raise the state income tax on high earners to raise monies to fully fund schools. People earning from $250,000 to $499,000 would pay an additional 3.46 % in state taxes or $17,265.40 maximum. People earning $500,000 or higher would pay an additional 4.46 percent or $22,300 minimum.

What is the name of the person/groups that support this plan? Superintendent Candidates Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira, Gubernatorial Candidate David Garcia, Arizona Center for Economic Progress.

What is the financial method utilized to solve the education funding crisis in Arizona? Increasing the state income tax for high earners.

What is at least one positive aspect to this plan? It is a steady and consistent revenue stream that would not be susceptible to an economic downtown like a sales tax.

What is at least one negative aspect to this plan? As designed, it only raises close to $700,000,000 of the $1,000,000,000 needed to fully fund schools. Also, as columnist Laurie Roberts points out, it does not ask any of the other income groups to contribute. This initiative puts the added burden solely on high-income earners. This could potentially galvanize the corporate right and create a highly charged partisan fight, waking up the conservative base just as the Blue Wave hits in the November elections.

Plan Two: Governor Ducey’s Plan

What is the scope of the plan? To give teachers a 20 percent raise in stages by 2020.

What is the name of the person/groups that support this plan? Governor Ducey and his allies in the legislature.

What is the financial method utilized to solve the education funding crisis in Arizona? Revenues based on economic performance and possible reallocation from other sensitive budget areas for the needy. This may also include the shifting of property taxes to local communities where they are forced to pay more.

What is at least one positive aspect to this plan?  Most of the teachers would get a raise.

What is at least one negative aspect to this plan? First, it does not fully fund education or even the teacher raises. How are the teacher raises determined in the local districts?  Where are the raises for support staff?  Where are the monies for capital improvements and investments? They are not there.

Second, the funding apparatus, even in its revised form is both unclear and unstable. Updated proposals relayed that the Governor would divert funds from other areas of need like prescription drugs to fund the raises, which would be pitting one group of needy recipients against another. Furthermore, the Governor’s proposals depend on a consistently strong state economy. There are no provisions, other than raiding other budget areas, like prescription drugs, if there is a downturn.

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Great people you want to give $5 mil to, Governor Ducey

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

mises
AKA A Confederacy Of Jagoffs

If you’re following Arizona politics right now you know that a big issue is Prop 123, which will be voted on next month here in a special election. It would significantly increase the annual distributions from the state land trust to schools and is touted as a solution to settling the lawsuit against the state for underfunding education since the recession.

This happens to be going on at the same time as budget negotiations, and as many critics of Governor Doug Ducey and skeptics of Prop 123 have noted, the Governor and GOP majority in the Lege are not exactly acting with anything resembling humility in advance of asking the electorate to forgive them for failing to fund public education. For one thing, they want to give charter schools $100 million out of a bare-bones budget. For another, they are poised to give $5 million to a think tank led by a libertarian crackpot named William J. Boyes, who hates public schools.

No, seriously, he hates public schools! Per Laurie Roberts in the AZ Republic: Continue reading

Didn’t see that coming, but it’s not surprising

dark money
Photo illustrating Laurie Roberts’ column. Dark, so dark!

While I was at the office this afternoon a friend dm’d me on Facebook with the news that the “Open and Honest Coalition”, the campaign spearheading two separate initiatives involving reining in dark money (good!) and changing the election system to one where a “jungle” primary would produce two, and only two, candidates for every spot in the general election (bad!), was suspending its paid signature-gathering operations due to funding drying up.

A possible explanation, per Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic, follows:

The dark money initiative and open primary initiative aren’t dead yet, supporters insist, but if not, they’re clinging to life by a thread. Continue reading

It’s a dry denial

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

I had to interrupt my holiday blogging hiatus to bring you the “Journalist Year in Review” segment from Channel 8 Horizon.

Link in case the video doesn’t work

Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts, AZ Capitol Media Service’s Howie Fischer, and KJZZ host Steve Goldstein were asked for their prognostications for 2016, with the winning scores being tallied at the end of next year. The first questions were about the Presidency: who would win their respective party nominations and then the general elections. The three panelists differed on who would win the GOP nod, with Roberts picking Rubio, Fischer Cruz, and Goldstein going with Jeb Bush. All three believe the GOP nominee will prevail narrowly in the electoral college, though Roberts suggested that a third party run by Trump could derail that. Continue reading

MSM bias toward anti-choicers needs to stop.

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

I blame both for contributing to the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting but SportsGirl101 does make an excellent point about the mainstream media’s complicity in anti-choice violence due to their giving them a mostly uncritical platform to peddle lies about reproductive health and insidiously attack women’s autonomy. Because it’s often done under the banner of “balance”, news people who do this don’t see themselves as playing an aiding and abetting role. But they are. Witness how it’s done in this Reuter’s piece:

Planned Parenthood said on Sunday that news reports that the gunman who attacked its Colorado health clinic had uttered “no more baby parts” during his arrest showed that the suspect was motivated by an anti-abortion agenda.

The remark attributed to suspect Robert Lewis Dear was an apparent reference to Planned Parenthood’s abortion activities and its role in delivering fetal tissue to medical researchers, a hot button issue in the 2016 race for the presidency.

“We now know the man responsible for the tragic shooting at PP’s health center in Colorado was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion,” the organization said on Twitter.

Conservatives have accused Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that provides a range of health services, including abortion, of illegally selling baby parts, an accusation it has strenuously denied.

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