Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ducey's choice revisited: 1-2-3, there's no more money for thee

David Safier at TucsonWeekly/The Range exposes the mendacity in politician’s treatment of public education: Ducey ‘Next Step’ Watch: Day 207. Lies My Governor Told Me. Or, Hey Doug, Man Up & Pay Up! Here’s a sample.

Governor Ducey tells deadbeat dads to “Man Up & Pay Up” in his 2016: Year in Review. But when it comes to talking about education funding, Ducey isn’t man enough to tell the truth, and he sure as hell isn’t planning to pay up the money our children need to pull them out of the per-student-funding cellar.

Where to begin? How about the beginning section of the flashy online 2016: Year in Review titled Educational Excellence, which says Prop 123 “is adding $3.5 billion to our K–12 education system over the next 10 years.” Prop 123 gives back a portion of what the deadbeat dads and moms on the Republican side of the aisle at the Arizona legislature stole from the state’s school children in 2009. Yes, stole. Lest we forget, the lege illegally violated the 2000 voter mandate in Prop 301 to use a new sales tax increase to increase K–12 spending. When you renege on child support mandated by law, then pay some of it back, you don’t get to pat yourself on the back for your generosity.

Right under the Prop 123 lie, Ducey says the 2017 budget “injected an additional $142 million into K–12 education and an additional $38 million into universities.” Nope. Most of the K–12 money was to cover inflation and increased enrollment—that’s stay-even money—and to delay planned funding cuts to schools—that’s we’ll-get-you-next-year money. The $38 million for universities includes $8 million to cover increased student population, $5 million to pay for the “economic freedom schools” which were previously funded by the Koch brothers, and $19 million total in one-time money to our three universities. With the amount slashed from university budgets over the past few years, that $19 million is small change and small comfort.

Directly below that comes the next deception: “The governor’s Classrooms First Initiative is making sure new money for our schools remains a top priority for Arizona.” Nope. The Classrooms First initiative isn’t about new money. It’s about redistributing the insufficient funding that’s already there, most likely giving more of it to charter schools and to schools filled with children from affluent homes.

The last sentence in that part of the document says, “Arizona is committed to providing every student with a world-class education.” Whoever wrote that should be grateful there’s not an Education God sitting in a classroom in the sky. If there were, a lightning bolt, or maybe a giant wooden paddle with the words “Board of Education” written on it would have come crashing down on the lying wordsmith’s head.

Check out Safier’s post for more.

This morning in the Daily Star (Arizona task force urges more money for schools and teachers), Republican Rep. Heather Carter claims to have a grand plan for education in Arizona. But she acknowledges that a big tax hike will be necessary. What’s the likelihood of that? But the Education God might smile kindly on her effort.

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