Vouchers aren’t the solution!

Linda Oyon

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

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Linda Lyon retired as a Colonel (Thomas) from the U.S. Air Force in 2007 at Andrews AFB, Maryland where she served as the Mission Support Group Commander (city manager) for a 20,000 person community with 2,000 people under her command. After retirement from the Air Force, she managed a $28 million logistical service contract at the Department of Energy and served as Deputy Program Manager for the $30 million SBInet contract at L-3 Communications. Since moving to Tucson in 2008, she (and her wife Holly) created and ran four annual Wingspan charity golf tournaments bringing in almost $65,000, and she served as the organization’s Director for 14 months. She also served in key positions for five AZ legislative races. Linda is in her second term as a Governing Board member for the Oracle School District, was named Advocate of the Year for 2013 by the Arizona School Board Association and in 2018, served as the Association's President. She'll be the past president in 2019 and will also be serving as the Federal Legislative Chair for the Arizona PTA.


  1. identity politics cost us the last election. the most well finances lobby pushes its special interest to the detrimate of the democratic party. the voters don’t seem to be impressed with your pleadings for your special interests despite your well financed polling. its what the voters want not what YOU want. do you even know what the voters want?

      • the education lobby. their finances may not compare to the rights money but in the democratic party it dominates as it does at this blog with planned parenthood next. as the last election in arizona showed white working class and latinos who will decide arizonas political future have other priorities.

        • Not sure what education lobby you are referring to. Unlike some other states, Arizona does not really have a teachers “union.” There is no collective bargaining statewide because we are a “right to work” state which of course means that the workers have no rights. Public education advocates in Arizona (Arizona Education Association, Arizona School Boards Association, AZ Schools Now, Support Our Schools Az, Arizona Parents Network, Arizona Parent Teachers Association, etc. are all just focused on getting the resources and support for our district schools that the over one million students who attend them, need. What am I missing?

          • what you are missing is that special interests dominate the democratic party. all legitimate issues ;but identity politics and special interests has gotten us where we are today. in other words nowhere. the perfect example is former gov. nepolitanos bright idea of funding her projects with photo-radar on freeways. the special interests loved the idea of more revenue the voters didn’t and democrats have not won a state wide race since! this is why arizona voters are suspicious of voting for democrats.

  2. woe is us, woe is us, woe is us… the lamentations are infinite.

    Meanwhile, nationally, just 26% percent of teachers rate their school an excellent place to work. We could put this energy to good use by making our schools more satisfying places to work.

    We would do better spending all this energy investigating in more depth just why Latinos and Blacks do so poorly in school and why teachers so unsatisfied with their jobs.

    • We freakin’ know why John and you helped create the problem. Makes me think of one of my very favorite sayings, “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!”

      • What you are doing is morally and ethically reprehensible – maintaining a system in which minorities and students from poverty have no chance of escape.

        There is no future, the future is more bleak than the present. No amount of money, you could double our spending, would do the slightest amount of good. What we need is unlimited innovation to release the inborn talent of every student. Can never happen in the thoroughly oppressive district system.

        Race to the top represented the very best ideas from liberals and authoritarian conservatives (they don’t want to admit it) and productivity collapsed by 4.7% in just 4 years.

        It’s a dead end, and you have a gun to these poor children’s heads- the force of the state.

        You are vampires sucking the substance out of these children.

        You are zombies walking to an ancient tune that you don’t even understand.

        • Hi John,
          I don’t know why you write the crazy things you do, but I do know I’m done engaging with you. Edward is right, support for our most disadvantaged children must start well before the schoolhouse door. You, as the former Superintendent of Public Instruction, should know that. But, you are an idealogue who doesn’t want to accept the truth–that it really does “take a village” and, it takes a REAL FREAKIN’ commitment to our students and their education professionals, not a philosophy that “the beatings will continue until morale improves.”

          At any rate John, I’ve now learned what most of my colleagues on this blog already knew…it is not worth our time to engage with you. None of the passionately pro-district public education advocates I know see only one solution to improving our children’s educational opportunities. But, we care about all the children, regardless of their socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, disability, etc., and we want to ensure that our tax dollars are used in an accountable, transparent way where the return on investment can be determined and improved upon. We also believe in the value of locally elected governing boards where parents, taxpayers and voters still have a say in the education of their children and the expenditure of their tax dollars.

          Yes, there is much to work on. But, throwing the baby out with the bath water (as in the full expansion of vouchers) is not the answer. Trolls like you aren’t going to help provide the answer, so I’m moving on.

          • I don’t accept that it “takes a village” to educate a child – there is more than enough time during the day and more than enough “village” within a school to get the entire job done.

            But, that job can’t get done in the district school system operating with the classical classroom. We have proven the absolute dead end of that model. It doesn’t work for poor kids and minorities.

            Don’t throw up your hands and blame it on the family – think it on through.

            The district school system is not evolving anywhere but in Arizona and here it is screaming every step of the way because it doesn’t want to change, it doesn’t want to be challenged – implicitly it wants to be able to keep victimizing poor kids and minorities.

            The evidence is overwhelming. Terrence Scott in Kentucky has been doing brilliant work showing that the typical classroom across America operates in the failure zone.

            Ask David Garcia about the time on task studies he did in the Chicago School system showing how few minutes of the class period were effectively used.

            Studies of students show that at 5th grade, 10% of students are reading only 2 minutes a day. Really? What happened to the other 358 minutes in a school day? The most valuable activity that a student can do is read. That’s it that’s all this system can squeeze out for these incredibly vulnerable kids? 2 minutes?

            It’s a dead end for minorities. Maybe it worked great for you and you want to preserve it for that reason. Maybe you were an A student. But what about the poor kids? Don’t they deserve a chance?

            There are ways of organizing education to give every student a great education but these innovations will never emerge in a district system with the classical classroom.

            Show your data. Show your evidence. You have none. You just have ideology.

            Perversely, what you accuse me of what you are egregiously guilty of.

            I have evidence, very good studies, logic and the data.

        • Hey Jerk, you have said you have direct knowledge of felony voter fraud on a massive scale.

          Since you cannot show proof for your claims we can only assume you are a chubby little liar.

          You have zero credibility. Go play with your sock puppets little man.

          • I never said that I had direct evidence. The indirect evidence is overwhelming. Gold is worth $1,200 an ounce, cocaine is worth $625 and unsecured ballots are worth $1,000 an ounce.

            We absolutely know what happens to unsecured gold and cocaine – it gets stolen.

            Why should we for a second believe that unsecured ballots are any different? FSNT you are not a moron, quit insisting that you are.

            The democrat party put over 200 operatives out in the field harvesting over 10 ballots a day for the 15 days of early election.

            That’s a minimum of 30,000 unsecured ballots. There has never been an investigation of this corrupt mess.

        • Let’s take the claims you’ve made at face-value. K-12 education is not where I think many of us would like it to be, and perhaps there is room for innovation. However, I suspect the responsibility and better path is to keep students and parents involved with their local school boards, demanding that elected school board members are held accountable, and doing the same with the legislature. I do not think that the solution is to throw government money into the black box of charter schools, where there is no accountability except to shareholders.

          I will also concede the argument that top-down systems of standards written by politicians and handed down from on-high to create one-size-fits-all standardized testing batteries is not a good way to educate our youth. But I would like to see the state superintendent working with our public school districts, the teachers, and students/parents to come up with better ways to help students reach their potential, rather than relying on the illusion of choice and the idea that charter schools and the privatization of education is anything but Jim Crow II by a different name.

          • District schools are Jim Crow, they were designed to be Jim Crow, their roots were Jim Crow.

            They are still Jim Crow.

            Our public education system started as schools open to the public and then evolved into districts to both exclude Catholics and Blacks – in other words to exclude the public.

            The use of the word “public” as an adjective to describe district schools is an abuse of the language.

            Catholics were explicitly excluded, explicitly. Diane Ravitch’s great books chronicles it all. She should read them, she did a great job.

            If you are a member of the public, the only place you can get into a district school is Arizona – Arizona. It has taken 24 years and you still can’t get into all of them here. Last time I checked, all those lily white north Scottsdale schools still weren’t open to public students, just district students.

          • Unfortunately, vouchers and charter schools are no solution to the problem brought up, unless you want to explicitly forbid schools from being able to pick-and-choose their students.

            Whether because of districting or because of privatization, you are going to have problems whenever schools start segregating themselves on the basis of affluence and privilege. Integration of the schools has been proven to improve outcomes for disadvantaged students without worsening outcomes for privileged ones. And that integration means more than racial; it really means socioeconomic. It means that parents who give a damn and who have the means, wherewithal, and time to influence the politicians to force schools to be held accountable, are not able to segregate themselves while other schools flounder due to a lack of political connections.

    • Maybe having decent social services, a functional safety net, and an economy that works for labor instead of just for capital would be a good start.

      Remember, Congressional Republicans in 2012 censored a nonpartisan report from the CRS, forcing its retraction over the objection of the study’s authors, demonstrating that lower marginal tax rates have no statistical effect on growth, but that lowering them does exacerbate income & wealth inequality.

  3. I would like to see this on bill boards, especially in Maricopa county. I would contribute to a fund that made it so.

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