Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E in Arizona
May 10, 2019
ANOTHER BLANK CHECK WON'T FIX IT THIS TIME, EITHER
Each year, thousands of Arizona students languish in a public school system that resists change. Each year, high-performing teachers who pour their heart and soul into their classrooms are paid the same as those who do the bare minimum, or worse. Each year, administrators spend outrageous sums of taxpayer dollars on cozy vendors. And each year, administrators from the 600+ public school districts, many paid over $100,000, waste substantial time justifying to each other why taxpayers must pay for so much overhead and administration.
Despite these constants, each year, school districts convince their residents to pass override-after-override because there’s not enough money. And each year, a teachers union threatens a strike or a walkout – always enough to keep the citizenry sensitive to their grievances, and always thrown in taxpayers’ faces by a fawning media.
Parents continue to have a diminished say in required readings and graduation requirements. Parents lack the power to disapprove of creeping political correctness, constrained free speech, and revisions to our country and culture’s historical accomplishments.
There are clearly systemic problems.
History shows that an unconditional increase in revenue would:
Empower the existing broken system with added resources to further mobilize against change and parental-school choice.
Preserve a system that unimaginatively pays teachers based on experience and certificates, not performance and talent.
Be diverted by administrators from the classroom to cozy vendors in the name of “unsafe infrastructure” or “growing administrative requirements.”
Expand the construction of education “Taj Majals” that don’t advance learning.
Affirm the myth that the state government controls school funding.
Endorse having 600+ public school districts.
Reward teachers unions for past strikes and walkouts, and invite more of the same in the future.
Hand Democrats a political victory by confirming the myth that the system works great if only there were more money.
So what is the solution to an inefficient and outdated system? Competition is the force that improves quality, responds to demands, and kills bureaucratic waste. And in the realm of taxpayer-funded schools, it’s the force that empowers parents and spreads opportunity.
Simply put, when schools don’t compete, parents can’t “punish” low-performing schools by withdrawing their children. Without school choice, students, particularly from lower-income and minority families, remain trapped in systems that don’t respond to parents’ and market demands. Parental school-choice also improves traditional schools because they must compete with alternatives.
Arizona voters should stand-tall against an entrenched school-apparatus and a hostile media. Parental school-choice unlocks the potential of teachers and spreads opportunity to those who need it most. The battle will not get easier, but Arizonans should continue supporting the transfer of power from the administrators and unions to the parents, teachers, and students.
B from Scottsdale