Tag Archives: vouchers

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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Citizen Initiatives filed – now comes the challenges to keep them off the ballot

Thursday was the filing deadline for citizens initiatives. Several hot-button initiatives were filed. If they survive signature verification and the inevitable lawsuits from well-funded special interest opponents, this year’s fall campaign will be dominated by a flood of “dark money” negative advertisements from corporate special interests and the Chambers of Commerce. Their privileged plutocrat attitude is that “We own this state! Who are the unwashed masses to tell us what we can do? You will obey!

The AP reports, Arizona ballot initiatives focus on energy, school funding:

Thursday was the deadline for proposed ballot initiatives to file the hundreds of thousands signatures necessary to put a question on the ballot. Three groups of organizers trucked boxes full of petitions to the state Capitol.

The signatures still have to processed and verified. The Arizona Secretary of State’s office has 20 days to complete petition processing. Then counties have 15 days to verify signatures, followed by another three days for the Secretary of State to determine if the initiative qualifies.

Followed by the inevitable lawsuits from well-funded special interest opponents.

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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.

Budget passed by the legislature, signed by the governor

The #RedforEd protestors will return to work now. They only partially succeeded on one of their demands, a 20 percent pay increase for teachers, but that is all they are going to get out of this Tea-Publican legislature and governor.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona Legislature passes state budget, including #RedForEd teacher pay-raise plan (note to the copy editor, this is NOT the “#RedForEd teacher pay-raise plan,” it is the GOP leadership’s plan):

The Arizona Legislature passed a state budget early Thursday that included nearly $273 million aimed at giving teachers pay raises. It came after nearly 13 hours of debate in the House and Senate.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill dealing with education, which had the teacher pay raise plan as part of it, at about 6:10 a.m. Thursday, according to a post on his Twitter feed.

Passage of the pay raises was called the triggering event that organizers said would end the statewide teacher walkout, the largest in recent U.S. history.

The galleries in both chambers remained crowded overnight Wednesday with teachers and education advocates wearing the red shirts indicative of the #RedForEd movement.

The Senate passed all the budget bills just after 5:30 a.m., and the House followed suit more than three hours later.

For the educators, watching the votes wasn’t about a victory. Most of the lawmakers they cheered through the hearings and debates voted against the budget bills.

All but one of the Republicans they jeered voted for it. The education portion of the budget bill had four Democratic votes for it in the Senate; in the House, all Democrats voted against it.

More so, for the educators it was about bearing witness, feeling engaged in a process they felt they had spurred on by their threat to walk off the job, followed by the unprecedented action of actually doing so.

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AZ Supreme Court sends Prop. 305 to the ballot (unless the AZ Lege sabotages it)

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.

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