It’s Time To Break Up With Doug Ducey
Alright everyone! As the year is chugging along and as summer is quickly approaching, we’ve seen the political climate seemingly match the temperature degree for degree. With so much happening and so much information being throw at us in every direction, it’s hard to get a grip on what to focus on next. Whether you ingest your news through the paper, TV, Facebook, Twitter, online news sources, or a variation of sorts, the digestion of each source seems to hit you later like a bout of food poisoning. We’ve all been frustrated and probably had a go-round with the neighbor, the co-worker, the once good friend, heck probably even the spouse! We’ve ALL been doing it. We all have so much pent up energy and flat out anger that we probably don’t always know what to do with. Sound familiar? Yeah…me too.
So…what do we do, then? What can or should we focus on? Sometimes the stage seems really big, doesn’t it? Well, maybe I can be of some assistance. How about for a little bit, we focus on this governor seat and some of our other local representatives and state senate seats…ALL up for re-election in 2018!
I’ll start this off where I left last time: talking about how we need to get rid of Gov Doug Ducey.
As most, if not all of you, know by now; the governor has decided to approve the “vouchers program”, which came in the form of a pair of bills (SB 1431 and HB 2394). The proper name for this program is ‘ESA’, or, Empowerment Scholarship Account. This has been a hot issue and for good cause. Without going through too much rigmarole I’ll do my best to sum the two bills up quickly while staying away from the “legal’ jargon (I’ve listed the site below if you want to read the bills’ summary).
The two bills in tandem (SB 1431/HB 2394) seek to “expand eligibility” to public and charter school students. What they both do is in essence ‘‘expand’’ an already existing program (created in 2011 under SB 1553) and they state ‘who’ is eligible and how the expansion will roll out over the next four years. How this works is a little bit tricky. Parents that request a ‘voucher’ are basically telling the state that they are sending their child or children to a private school (charter school). The state, in turn, sends a portion of money from the school district of those children previously attended (where it would normally go) and instead sends it to an “ESA” account that, in turn, sends it to the charter school where the children will be going to. Now, the bills state that approximately “90-100%” of the cost of the tuition will be covered under these ‘vouchers’ depending on the school and/or financial situation of the family. So if you send your child to a private school where the cost is say, $7,000/year, around $6,300 will be covered at the least. Oh, and did I mention the national average for spending per student is around $11,000/year. Want to know what we in AZ spend per student as of 2014 (the last calculated update)? $7,500/year. We rank 3rd…..from the BOTTOM! The only states we beat in education are Idaho and Utah. Think about that for a minute. Now we want to take money from public schools and hand it out to private schools for the ‘select’ population that qualifies for them. Last point I’ll make; charter school are, in fact, regulated…very, very poorly, if at all, and can teach just about whatever they want. But, hey, Gov Ducey thinks this is a good course of action; allowing more private schools to open and pulling funds from the public school system and capping who can go to them. Bravo.
I could harp on charters all day because I feel, like you, that education is important, but that’s only a piece of why I think the governor’s office needs to evict it’s current occupant. Although, while I’m on the subject of education; Doug Ducey hasn’t done very much of anything for the teachers of AZ. If anyone remembers, just back in January, teachers were looking for an increase in salary. Diane Douglass (State Superintendent) wanted 5% across the board for teachers. Doug Ducey had a better idea; he countered with 2%, to be phased in over five years. A little secret; Arizona ranks number 50, as in dead LAST, in the nation when it comes to salaries for teachers. Last. There are some jobs that require NO college degrees where you can earn more of a salary than the teachers of our state earn.
Doug Ducey has made questionable decisions and under this new administration his priorities have seemed to fall right in line with the president’s. Not a good career move Governor. If anyone feels like I do then you’re ready for someone to stand up for Arizona! Are you ready for a different direction? I know I am. Let’s take some steps in a positive direction. Let’s not cater to big business, to money, to greed, and most of all; let’s not be deterred by hate or fear. I’m looking forward to officially hearing who is going to be running for governor against Doug Ducey! I’m still hoping the we will hear if the sitting AZ State Sen Steve Farley will announce that he’s going to run!
Let’s get this done Arizona! Let’s finally get this “purple” state over to the “blue” side!
Here are my sources for the vouchers bills and also, if you have about 20 minutes, watch the video about charter schools explained masterfully by John Oliver. You won’t be sorry! Keep Resisting! It’s working!