Originally Published: March 7, 2013 9:59 p.m.
A bill that advanced out of the Arizona House on Thursday would allow dozens of public schools to throw out federal education policy regulating academic standards, teacher evaluation requirements and student tracking systems.
The idea is that some schools and districts do not receive federal money. They, in turn, should have to follow only health, safety, civil rights and insurance mandates.
Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth said his bill promotes school sovereignty. "It simply says, 'Yes, we as a state have a right to decide what we are going to do on education,'" he said.
Critics worry that if the measure becomes law, it would result in a significant hit to Arizona's education budget. Federal education funding is generally linked to compliance. "When we exempt these few schools from complying with federal regulations, all of our schools in the state are at risk for losing federal funding," Democratic Rep. Eric Meyer said.
Farnsworth countered, according to the Associated Press, that Arizona lawmakers need to support good policy over federal threats. He said federal education funding and regulations are unconstitutional.
Who do you believe?
While many politicians are lawyers, we wonder how solid Farnsworth's statements are; however, we like the concepts of logic and sovereignty.
In the end, it comes down to a play on words. "It's a bit of a red herring when we ask people whether something is possible or not," Republican Rep. Justin Pierce said. "Anything that is not impossible is possible."
And vice versa. Proceed with caution.