Parents More Concerned with Money Than Education

Arizona voters took to the polls on Tuesday and not only said “No” but a resounding “Hell No” to bonds on any given range of topic.  Alex Bloom from AZCentral, in this article postulates that the resounding NO on school funding had to do with the state  of the economy.

The economy apparently was on voters’ minds Tuesday when they walked into Valley voting booths to address school-district spending through bonds and budget overrides.

Valley voters supported only 20 of the 36 school-district bonds and budget overrides on the ballot in Maricopa County, according to unofficial results. That was down considerably from last year, when voters supported 28 of 31 budget measures. Voters’ action comes amid a period of deep cuts to state education spending because of the state budget crisis.

Experts say the economic downturn probably made voters think twice about approving many budget overrides, which allow school districts to maintain or increase property-tax levels.

Alex Bloom’s commentary totally ignores the fact that the Arizona school system has failed and continues to fail to educate our children.

Matthew Ladner from the Goldwater Institute:

The news is not good. Arizona has stalled out with bad scores.

With a score nine points below the national average, Arizona 4th graders know almost a grade level less math than the average American student. Florida and Texas–states with similar levels of spending and student demographics–both scored above the national average.

With marked predictability, the state-run media lays the blame at the feet of the people who are most affected by ill-run policy, rather than hold accountable those who are actually responsible for this dismal performance.

Mr Ladner continues:

Public school apologists can recite their litany on spending and learned helplessness, but don’t expect any results, they imply, until Arizona has the combination of old money, hedge fund billionaires and high income tax rates of Connecticut.

Despite a reform push during the 1990s, the fact is that on the whole Arizona is a K-12 backwater and will remain so until it decides to get serious about reform. Since the 1990s, Arizona’s AIMS has been dummied down, and the positive impact of choice programs have been drowned by enrollment growth. Rome continues to burn, we continue to fiddle.

In a recent post, I pointed out that “industry experts” [like Justin Olson, senior research analyst at the Arizona Tax Research Association and the Peoria Unified, Phoenix Union High and Dysart Unified district officials] are always “shocked, stunned and surprised” when things don’t turn out as they see them through their rose-colored glasses.

The voters here in the great state of Arizona are no longer buying the same tired message of “We are not spending enough on education”.  What we are seeing is that the monies we are spending on educating our children is not delivering anything close to acceptable results. See for yourself here how Arizona ranks at the very bottom in national educational ranking.

Mr Bloom’s theory that we are more concerned with the economy than our children’s education affronts all concerned parents sensibilities.  I can easily do without my Starbucks Venti, but you had better be educating my children well enough to be able to compete in the 21st century global economy.

The Arizona school systems, like Alex Bloom, both get an “F


Comments

  1. Capitol Observer says

    Well, some schools and some school districts are not doing a good job of teaching.

    However, I notice that you do not reference your own children’s scores in relationship to the national norm – making me suspect they are better than the state average. After all, the state average includes English Language Learners, Special Ed, illegal immigrants, and children who have lost the parent lottery. Your kids, on the other hand, like mine, probably do well, pulling an otherwise extremely dismal result on national comparaisons up somewhat.

    When public education is attacked without solutions, then I am always questioning the motives of those who insist shutting-off funding is the answer.

    Throw out bad teachers, fire unnecessary administrators, and eliminate the waste and fraud in school spending. Easy statement – hard solutions are evasive.

    But, parents like you and I will be very active in our school and school district affairs to keep some balance between the education of our children and the tax support we are willing to give. Right?

  2. What I find interesting is that several of the districts that voted no have excelling o highly performing schools – Cavecreek, Dysart, Higley and Fountain Hills, for instance.

  3. Capitol Observer says

    Interestingly, three of those four districts have political problems for board members and/or the administration beyond the budget. The budget is how those angry at the board or superintendent pay them back. Seems an odd approach to solving education problems.

  4. True reform will not occur until the legislature gets wise to the tactics of the status-quo education lobby. The AEA,, School Boards Assoc., School Business Administrators Assoc., School Administrators Assoc., (yeah, A LOT of lobbyists for this crowd) all oppose anything that smacks of true reform. OK, that’s their job, but why do any Republican lawmakers listen to them? These groups DO NOT represent your constituency and never will. Opposing them is a GOOD idea politically. Shut up the “alphabet groups” and reform will follow.

  5. How is ‘reform’ going to happen without including the people who are involved in education? Completely ignoring them seems a recipe for disaster if your goal is to ‘reform’ the education system.

    The truth is, and this has been made quite clear to me viewing comments in this forum, that there is a significant number of conservatives who, in their heart of hearts, actually would like to do away entirely with public education. I would like to see this openly debated – who knows perhaps the public could be convinced – but what seems to be happening now is instead a subterfuge to defund education and seek to impose ‘reforms’ without actually engaging all stakeholders and finding a way to make the public system actually better.

  6. To Capital Observer:
    School choice, like vouchers See http://www.papatodd.com/?p=1801
    LA parents took on the school boards and won, but they had to fight for it.
    To Todd: If parents actually had a choice a sto where to send their kids then the public system would, by default, be defunded. The school distrcits get paid for BIS [butts in seats]. So if the parents had some freedom as to which schools were available, again, lik ealways, the free market would let the cream rise to the top.

    And while we are at it, when is the last time you spent a DAY at your kid’s school? Not lunch, but some REAL time in the classroom? I have two grandkids in TUSD and I am there every Friday. And I am horrified by what our children are NOT being taught. So skip bringing the Mcd’s bag to lunch and go get int the classroom, spend some real time there, be a teacher’s helper and see what is really happening i nyour own kids school. THEN and ONLY then can you speak with any authority as to the level of education being taught. forget about the PTA meetings as well, y’all need some classroom time.

  7. Capitol Observer says

    Hmmm. Your school district gets more funding than any other school district in Arizona, including deseg taxes, career ladder taxes, override taxes, bond taxes, federal money, state funding, etc. etc.

    Maybe you should put your energy into cleaning-up TUSD, particularly their racist programs, and then you can help the rest of us clean-up our districts. The recent election on the override is an anomoly and they will go back next Nov. and ask voters again to approve the continuation of taxes to fund programs designed to create hatred against the white people of the state.

  8. MR. CO.
    Back to my point, which you dodged…..
    Got Kids in school? Spent a day there lately?
    I would love to clean up TUSD. That’s why I wrote the article; to let people know that AZ is not doing a very good job. But it will take a LOT of people and a LOT of work to change the union-driven system. Did you look at the LA story? If LA [of all places] can make the change then we can you. When is the last time you sat down with the principle of your school? When it was “Pajama Day” at my grand-daughters school, I walked in and had a long “closed-door” meeting with her. Here I am doing everything I can to make sure that my growing girls do not end up in pajamas with boys and here is this school PROMOTING it. We had a very heated discussion about pajama day. She thought that it was “just fun”. I said it sent the wrong message. Teach ’em the 3R’s and I’ll teach about hanging out with boys in pajamas….

  9. Capitol Observer says

    I volunteer at school on a constant basis. I met with my Principal just two days ago and usually see her every week. I meet with the CFO and Superintendent on a regular basis and am on a first name basis with each of my governing board members. I meet frequently with teachers from various schools, as well. I take training classes on school finance and make frequent public records requests to get more information. Oh, and I check my children’s homework.

    I go back to my statement, get TUSD fixed and I will do anything you suggest for the rest of the state.

  10. Thank you Mr. CO, You might be the other guy in the state of AZ that actually is on the front lines taking the schools systems to task. Well done!
    I am doing that which I can to fix TUSD.[David meet Goliath.] But it is a good and nessessary fight. See you on the battle field. Any other men want to share their story?

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