The Arizona legislature, with the Governor’s heavy hand, passed Senate Bill 1431, a bill that expands the school voucher program. This misguided action sets in motion a mechanism that, ”begins the wholesale segregation and eventual annihilation of Arizona’s public-school system,” according to Laurie Roberts, columnist for the AZ Republic.
This bill will force the state’s underfunded public education budget to help pay for private and religious school tuition for an ever-increasing number of students. This conservative idea of privatizing education is deceptive and unfair. Some say it is about improving education when it is actually about destroying public education. They call it school choice, but it is all about private investors profiting from for-profit schools.
Ducey claims to be our education Governor but he led the fight against a sales tax for education in 2012. As governor in 2016, he cut education more than any other state. In 2017, he negotiated a deal for only 70 percent of what the state owed schools. Recently he proposed a laughable raise for teachers.
Now, the senate has adopted Ducey’s proposal and voted to lower teaching standards to attract teachers. Now we can attract the unqualified to teach for low pay in one of the worst funded school systems in the nation.
This deception that we can improve our schools by defunding them, and attract teachers by lowering standards, will only continue the decline in the quality of education in Arizona.