Tag Archives: privatization

Oh No She Didn’t!

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

AZ Capitol Times reported today that in response to a Save Our Schools suggestion that voucher expansion should be “sidelined” while the battle for public education funding continues, Kim Martinez, a spokeswoman for the American Federation For Children, said she was “unimpressed”. Martinez also said that, “It is unfortunate that Save Our Schools continues to take a stance against children who need ESAs, a program that helps disadvantaged students who are slipping through the cracks at their neighborhood schools. It is short-sighted to put funding concerns above children whose learning requirements have to be met today.”

Bravo Ms. Martinez, I couldn’t have said it better myself, at least not your words about the urgency of meeting children’s learning requirements. It totally IS short-sighted to put funding concerns above children whose learning requirements have to be met today. It IS totally unacceptable that public school students entering high school next year, have yet to be in an adequately funded classroom. It IS totally unacceptable that the Arizona Legislature continues to favor corporate welfare over ensuring our public schools are adequately funded.

As for your swipe at Save Our Schools for their “stance against…disadvantaged students who are slipping through the cracks at their neighborhood schools”, give me a break! We know that Save Our Schools is fighting for exactly these children and all one million Arizona public school students. We also know that you are fighting for Betsy DeVos and her privatization movement. Neither Save Our Schools, nor our public schools at large, are responsible for “disadvantaged students who are slipping through the cracks. The enemies of these students are 1) poverty and 2) our failure to deal with it.

Our children cannot continue to wait for the adults to understand that education is not an expense, it is an investment. They cannot wait for us to realize that every child matters and deserves the opportunity to succeed. Every day that passes without this as our driving force, is another day of lost opportunity for us all.

So we’re all agreed: No on Prop. 305 (and elect a Democratic legislature and governor)

The Arizona Capitol Times reported Voucher vote creates dilemma for school-choice supporters:

If voters approve the voucher expansion law in November, many believe those changes would be locked in under the Voter Protection Act.

A “yes” on Prop. 305 would keep SB1431, (the “vouchers on steroids” bill), in place as approved by the Legislature in 2017.

That means modifying the statute in the future would be incredibly difficult, and that is where the problem lies for the school-choice crowd.

Indeed, the prospect of locking that law in place has been enough to give even the staunchest supporters of Empower Scholarship Accounts pause.

“If Prop. 305 passes, it could hinder our ability to make crucial improvements to the ESA program,” said Kim Martinez, a spokeswoman for the pro-voucher American Federation for Children.

Laurie Roberts of The Republic expands upon this in Dark money groups’ stand on Prop. 305 shows the public got played on voucher expansion:

Here’s a curious and rather enlightening development.

The “dark money” groups that spent big bucks to get a Legislature willing to vote for a massive expansion of Arizona’s school-voucher program are not going to campaign to try to save their crowning achievement.

The Republic’s Rob O’Dell and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez are reporting that the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity will sit out Proposition 305. Meanwhile, the Betsy DeVos-created American Federation for Children actually will urge people to vote no.

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Arizona Fails Another Test

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Yesterday, the Network for Public Education and the Schott Foundation for Public Education, released a report titled “Grading the States” that serves as a report card on our nation’s commitment to public schools. At the onset, they challenge the belief in privatization as the solution and write,

Although the public school system is not perfect and has continual room for improvement, it is still the cornerstone of community empowerment and advancement in American society.

Therein, I believe, lies the rub. Those driving America’s economic engine, don’t want everyone aboard the train. Instead, those who most “have”, are working very hard to leave the “have nots” at the station. As Stephen Brill writes in his new book “Tailspin”,

Conservatives have always preached self-reliance while liberals favored an activist government that assures the common good. However, [what we are seeing now] is a new, wider, and more dangerous divide – between those at the top, who enjoy unprecendented power, and everyone else. For those at the top, the common good is no longer good for them.

Even though many Americans have become polarized into either the Conservative or Liberal camps, the real fight isn’t there. Increasingly, it is between the MEGA “haves” and the “have-nots”. Truth is, for these MEGA “haves”, political ideology and allegiance to our nation, are likely much less important than maintaining and improving their status. After all, in our global economy, our country’s borders are no barrier to their multi-national interests and in their gilded worlds, not only do they increasingly not care about the common good, they don’t even need it. And nothing, is more all about the “common good” than public education. It provides opportunity to all and is largely responsible for building the strongest middle class in the world, once making the American Dream a possibility for many. Continue reading

School Choice in Arizona talk on June 9

“School Choice in Arizona: Privatization, Charter Schools, and Vouchers”
Saturday, June 9, 2018 (11:00AM – 12:30PM)
Joel D Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Avenue

“Join us for a FRANK Talk about school choice.

Arizona is one of the nation’s most “choice friendly” states regarding educational opportunities at the K-12 level.School choice is a term for K–12 public education options in the U.S. describing a wide array of programs offering students and their families alternatives to public schools, that students are usually assigned to based on where their family lives.

The legislature approved Arizona’s charter school law in 1994 and currently Arizona has over 540 charter schools with more than 180,000 students. Since then the expansion of charter schools and vouchers (often called educational savings accounts) is not without controversy. Does school choice improve school quality? Does school choice increase educational opportunity for all students? Has school choice fostered the privatization of education in the U.S.? Join us for a FRANK talk about the policy and practical implications of school choice.

This community conversation is facilitated by Dr. Angelina Castagno, Northern Arizona University, Educational Foundations.

Additional reading:

FRANK Talks are sponsored by Arizona Humanities.

Happy (sort of) Anniversary

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