is today’s focus.
This year, the Legislature stepped up attacks on public education, despite overwhelming citizen support for public school funding. The primary sin of the Legislature is its long record of starving the public education system financially, in two ways: 1) by repeatedly, drastically, cutting tax revenues in a state with chronically underfunded public services; and 2) by siphoning off more and more tax funds to pay tuition at private charter and religious schools through tuition vouchers. The Legislature also loves to constrain academic freedom and dictate the content of education in Arizona. Some of these bills may fail. Too many will pass.
Why does this matter?
Arizona ranks near or at the bottom in the U.S. for teacher pay (49th), per-student investment (46th), teacher retention (50th), and classroom overcrowding (49th). 95% of Arizona students use public school. It is the bedrock of our society and economy.
"The Arizona Classroom Crisis” video (under 3 minutes)
the "Quick Guide to AZ Education Funding"
OUT-OF-STATE PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS.
expand private school vouchers in the face of overwhelming public opposition to Prop 305’s expansion. They authorize Arizona tax dollars to be used to pay private and religious schools in neighboring states (CA, NV, UT, NM, CO).
BIG BROTHER IN THE CLASSROOM.
require teachers to get approval from a governing board a year in advance for any supplemental books and materials. They would eliminate individualized assistance to students at all levels.
requires State universities to sponsor, fund, and report “public policy” events; would force false equivalence - “both sides” - when one side lacks sound evidence,
, denial of Holocaust, climate change, evolution.
requires universities and colleges to develop a 6 credit hour course on the U.S./AZ constitutions, required for graduation, with no funding
● CUTTING STATE REVENUES.
Many bills reduce state funds available for public education by hundreds of millions of dollars - usually without an official cost projection.
exempts first $1M of business personal property from tax.
limit future tax increases by hundreds of millions of dollars.
cuts taxes for builders of water and sewer systems.
permanently cuts nearly $162 million in taxes and repeals Highway Safety Fee.
reduces property taxes by $100 million.
greatly increases the standard deduction at unknown cost to treasury..
exempts over $1B in battery usage from taxes over 5 years.
● GUNS IN SCHOOLS.
allows school marshals to carry guns and make arrests, and school employees to keep unloaded guns and ammunition in their cars.
● A FEW GOOD BILLS.
restores part of the District and Charter School assistance for infrastructure (books, buildings, technology) that was cut a decade ago.
asks voters to approve repeal of the English-only instruction law, giving teachers flexibility to give students the best means of achieving English fluency.
allows school districts to apply for grants for ultra high-cost Special Education students.
allows Department of Education to ban re-hire of un-certificated teachers for 5 years. 40% of charter school teachers are un-certificated.
funds pupil screening for dyslexia support and teacher training.