For children who are trapped in failing schools, there are few choices and very few ways out of their bad schools. Parents can pack their belongings, sell their home, and move to a new school district, but in today’s economy only the financially fortunate have that option, and they are usually already living in good school districts. So Republican State Representative Rick Murphy introduced HCR2057, which would give a voucher to parents of kids stuck in failing schools that would allow them to transfer to a better school, even if it is a private or parochial school.
The concept is simple, and one that conservatives have rallied around for years. There is no excuse for forcing children into failing schools. It is, quite simply, morally inexcusable. Defenders of the status quo, or those who put the interests of the education unions and bureaucracy before the needs of the children argue that all school districts need to improve is more time and more money, and that removing the kids hurts the district. Yet after hundreds of billions of dollars, decades of time, and millions of children graduated from public schools who lacked the fundamental skills needed to read their own diplomas, that excuse is no longer credible.
Yet that argument is what the voters of LD6 are being treated to by newly appointed State Senator David Braswell. Braswell was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Pamela Gorman resigned to run for Congress. Gorman would have been a Yes vote on the measure, but Braswell is a longtime school board President who makes his living selling computer software to school districts. So it came as no surprise that Braswell looked after the bureaucracy rather than the students.
Ironically, the bill’s author Rick Murphy, also sits on a school board, but he apparently considers his responsibility to be looking after the best interests of the students. Fortunately for the children of Arizona, Murphy was able to overcome the united opposition of Braswell and the committee Democrats, and the bill passed. While it faces several remaining hurdles before it can reach the ballot, those kids passing the prospect of another long year in a failing school have hope again. No thanks to liberals like Republican David Braswell.