Thursday, April 28, 2016

Why Scriber is voting NO on Prop 123

As much as I would like to have more money into our public schools, like yesterday (!), I cannot bring myself to vote for Prop 123. Laurie Roberts explains why in her editorial piece at The Republic/azcentral.com and concludes as follows.

In the end, I suppose whether you can launch yourself onto the Prop. 123 bandwagon comes down to one issue: trust.

Do you trust this state’s political leaders when they say it’s OK to use funds that belong to future generations of students to pay the bills that belong to our leaders? Do you trust them enough to weaken protections that voters wrote into the law 16 years ago?

Do you trust our leaders when they say this is the best path forward for public schools?

Leaders who have made some of the deepest cuts to K-12 education in the nation. Leaders who have spent years siphoning money from public schools and giving it to private schools in the form of ever-expanding Empowerment Scholarship Accounts and ever-expanding tax credits for private school tuition.

Leaders who are now considering public funding for an “economic freedom school” at ASU whose founding director has called for eliminating public education.

Do you trust that Prop. 123 is a first step toward improving public education as opposed to the next step in dismantling public education?

I’d like to support Prop. 123. I really would. Yet every time I look at that happy bandwagon, filled with smiling children, it’s appearing more and more like a Trojan horse.

Here is more from Ann-Eve Pedersen writing on her Facebook page.

I've been pretty quiet about Prop. 123, only commenting here or there on others' FB feeds. But I've been asked enough times how I'm voting that I think it's time to offer some thoughts.

I was reading an opinion piece in the NYT this morning where the author quoted philosopher Martin Buber saying "a good and great idea will rise again when idea and fate meet in a creative hour."

Prop. 123 is not a great idea. In fact, it's quite a flawed idea. This is most definitely not a creative hour. The chief architects of Prop. 123 in the Governor's office are not friends of public education; many of its advocates are the very people who have been actively undermining public education in our state for years. Anytime you see Koch-brother backed organizations, like Americans for Prosperity, get behind something, beware. I don't begrudge the education plaintiffs; they have been on the receiving end of a full-on assault against public education for years.

I have been wary to weigh in because I don't want to give foes of public education another big win by creating a wedge issue that creates bad feelings among friends. I'm afraid that has already occurred to some extent.

I think the underlying court case should be allowed to come to its conclusion. The fear that the original 5-0 vote in favor of education on the AZ Supreme Court will be overturned because of one new justice and perhaps a court-backing plan is being given too much weight.

Money will not be immediately released to schools if Prop. 123 wins because the issue will be tied up in the courts for some time. Frankly, I'd rather see the education community move forward with an issue it has already won in the courts rather than try out a new issue that's undecided.

Having led a statewide initiative for education funding in 2012, I understand how fiercely everyone is defending their position, one way or the other.

But I think we all realize this is not the solution and I'm not of the belief it's even the beginning of the solution. I think it's the means to an ugly end.

It is time for the good and great idea and time for the creative hour. Yes, we are desperate for the change that we all know is needed. But this is not it.

Our foes are not our friends. Please, let's not give them that. And to anyone cutting a back-room deal with Gov. Ducey, why would you ever, ever be so unwise? Surely, you should know by now he doesn't keep his promises.

I dealt with Ducey first-hand during the Prop. 204 campaign, when he led the opposition and brought in dark money from the Koch brothers to defeat permanent education funding for K-12, community colleges and universities.

I found him then to be an incredibly dishonest and untrustworthy individual who believes in dismantling public education. My opinion remains unchanged.

I'm going to mark my ballot now with a vote of NO on Prop 123.

Want more? What Il Duce giveth Dicey Ducey taketh away. Education keeps getting shorted by Duce and the GOPlins.

Want still more? David Safier writing in the Tucson Weekly/The Range reaffirms his decision to vote "yes". But with major qualifications like trying to pin down Duce and the GOPlins on what "first step" means.

"First step" is one of those vague, Rorschach-test statements politicians love which allow voters to deduce the meaning based on their own desires. If you're a pro-education-funding voter, you're supposed to imagine it means the next step is to put more money in public education. If you think our "government schools" are wasting money on administration and we're "throwing money" at "failing schools," then you can imagine the next step has nothing to do with increasing funding. It's about firing administrators, defunding "government schools," especially those with lots of poor and minority kids, and increasing funds for "school choice" — meaning plenty of money for charter and private schools.

Ducey and gang are in the second group.

Here's just one more snippet from David about "trust."

But does a Yes vote mean I trust Ducey? Hell No! Let me qualify that Hell No! The only thing I trust about Ducey is that he will continue to be a lying weasel who will do whatever it takes to push through his anti-people, pro-tax-cuts-for-the-rich agenda. My Yes vote is a statement that Prop 123 is a weak first step toward raising Arizona's lowest-in-the-nation per-student funding (or second or third lowest, depending on who's counting) to a higher level, but it's not nearly enough. We need to insist the legislature does more. Much more. Hundreds of millions of dollars more. And we need to do everything we can to throw out the bastards who get in the way of doing what's best for our children by working to defund and dismantle our public education system.

I understand the reasons for a "yes" vote, but, for me, the lack of trust, or more precisely my trust in the GOP leaders in AZ to do the wrong thing for public education, tips the balance to the "no" vote.

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