by David Safier
As an advocate for education reform for the past 35 years, a co-founder of a very successful charter school, a lifelong Republican, and the most recent past president of the Arizona State Board of Education, I have never been more embarrassed, outraged, disappointed, and angry to call myself a Republican. How on earth do the Republicans in the state Legislature who voted for the Empowerment Scholarship Account (voucher) bill, or our governor, who signed it, look in the mirror and in good faith, not understand what they have just done.Miller continues,
Public education has been the equalizer for 150 years of economic growth and assimilation of immigrants into the culture that we enjoy today. This is an insult to the hundreds of thousands of students who do not have the resources to pay the additional thousands of dollars for the tuition these private schools will be charging above the state subsidy, and without the opportunity of a quality education provided in their local schools where due process and common goals of expectation drive the continued development of economic expansion for everyone, not just a privileged few.He ends by saying voters need to kick out the ESA expansion supporters in 2018.
All Republicans that share this view [against voucher expansion] use your vote in next summer’s Republican primary to replace anyone who supported this transfer of economic wealth from our public school system to the private schools of the wealthy.I’ll take exception with Miller here and say we need to kick out the anti-education Republicans and replace them with some pro-education, pro-child Democrats, but hey, we can agree to disagree on that one.
Democrats who opposed the voucher plan passed on April 6 continue to keep the issue in the forefront, reading letters from teachers nearly every day on the House floor. Earlier this week, Mesnard moved those floor speeches to the end of the day from the beginning because they were consuming hours of time. Thursday afternoon, he threatened to change House rules to limit vote explanations because Democrats were using that time to read the letters.Much as they'd like to, the Republican leadership may not be able to put this genie back in the bottle. Even in reliably Republican Arizona, sentiments for public schools and against vouchers run high.