You just passed - or failed - Propaganda 301
How many voters this year based their decisions on nothing more than paid political advertisements, something that sounds like a good idea, and the opinions of others?
Prop 301 failed in Yavapai County by a 60-40 margin, but it passed statewide.
Whether that makes us more astute than the balance of Arizona is moot. The result is that one of the most exploitive propaganda campaigns in recent times has succeeded in implementing the biggest tax hike in state history.
If you believed that Prop 301 was about teacher salaries and student materials, you are a victim of deliberate partial truths, and you didn't do your homework. But even if you had, you may not have understood the language or the implications presented to you.
The Secretary of State informs voters through distribution of the Ballot Propositions and Judicial Review, mailed to voters months before the Nov. 7 elections. The review lists each proposition verbatim, and includes an 'analysis by legislative council,' and arguments "for" and "against" each proposition.
However, nowhere does the Review say in everyday language that the Prop 301 money pie is strictly portioned, with sweet, delicious filling and flaky crust going to state and university gluttons, and starving teachers only licking up the crumbs.
Almost all 301 tax money will pay state bond debts, go to the state general fund as reimbursements for tax credits, to the Department of Education for "accountability purposes," and to universities and colleges for their initiatives and "workforce development accounts."
Just as bad, there is no mention in the Review of Prop 301 empowering its parent bill, SB 1007.
What? You didn't know that your vote for 301 also brought Senate Bill 1007 to life? Those Prop 301 proponents didn't tell you that would happen? Oops!
One of SB 1007s items is the Local Education Accountability Program, LEAP, which appears to be a euphemism for Increased State Control of Public Schools.
LEAP encourages school principals to withdraw their schools from districts to operate independently - apparently directly under state control. LEAP hamstrings the school board you elected into approving loss of at least one of its schools, and it protects those principals from district action, even if a principal does so because the board was going to fire him or her. LEAP says the school district - you - must still financially support the withdrawn school, no matter what curriculum the principal chooses for his or her own school.
Local teachers said neither Arizona Education Association nor Humboldt Education Association told them the full implication of Prop 301. "They gave us selected bits of information," said one. "They didn't give us the total picture," said another.
While teacher associations are expected to narrowly focus on teachers' interests, it is ironic that both associations failed to fully educate their educators. Do you think they did so deliberately, or out of sheer negligence?
If you want to see who gave voters only "selected bits of information," read the names of the people who authored the Review arguments "for" Prop 301. They are the ones who really benefited from presenting teachers and students as grateful waifs with begging bowls overflowing with Prop 301 pie.
The truth is, teachers and children get such a tiny portion of 301 that they will soon be back with pitiful queries of, "Please sir; may I have some more gruel?"
The response from state and university fatcats jealously guarding their own slices of pie is, of course, "Let them eat cake!"