Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Arizona: Cronies in Classrooms

Phoenix-Governor Doug Ducey reportedly got a “hero’s welcome” as the keynote speaker at a national meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - a group with a reputation for brokering behind-closed-doors deals with state legislators to influence local policies. 

The governor’s involvement with this organization could create a dicey future for our state.  He has congratulated himself for begrudgingly returning only about 70 percent of the inflation funding Republicans swiped from public schools over several years (and only after a court ordered the state to pay schools back). And that doesn’t even begin to come close to restoring the billions of dollars in other funding cuts schools have had to weather.  But ALEC has strong ties to the Koch brothers, who also provide funding for several groups that support draining resources from public schools.
The governor brought in the Goldwater Institute and the Reason Foundation as two key consultants to his Classrooms First Initiative Council to work on major education changes.  Both of these organizations support policies that hurt the state’s public schools and both have ties to the Koch brothers (for more info click here and here).

A key objective of the Reason Foundation is to privatize schools. And the Goldwater Institute champions voucher programs, calling them empowerment scholarship accounts and student tuition organizations, which siphon money out of the state’s general fund that could and should be going to support our public schools.

With this level of cronyism and agenda pushing, public schools should brace for what the future holds.  It seems that he is more interested in grabbing headlines and aligning his priorities with the priorities of special interest groups than in the moving the state forward. The governor should not be able to claim credit for returning money illegally swept from public schools. And he should be held accountable for his associations with groups that have a clear agenda designed to undermine public education in Arizona.

#AskDuceyWhy he is surrounding himself with Koch brother cronies.

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