Monday, January 27, 2014

Goldwater Institute Butchers The Facts On Empowerment Scholarship Accounts

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 5:00 PM

bucher_gi_alec.jpg

The Goldwater Institute has an op-ed pushing Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) — aka Educational Savings Accounts, aka (according to me) Vouchers on Steroids — in Friday’s Arizona Republic and another in Saturday’s Sierra Vista Herald. It’s no wonder G.I. loves the vouchers-on-steroids program. The Institute created it and babied it through the Arizona legislature. And it’s no wonder G.I. is making a big ESA push right now. Republicans, under G.I.’s watchful eye, are pushing a bill to expand the program.

Whenever you read something from the Goldwater Institute — an op ed, one of its emails if you’re on the mailing list, a quote from one of its six-figure-salary spokespeople — remember: G.I. is a conservative lobbying organization, lawsuit mill and propaganda factory, not a think tank as it likes to bill itself. No think tank worthy of the name begins with the conclusion it wants to reach, then thinks back to figure out how to “prove” it. That’s G.I.’s M.O. That’s how G.I. works.

Both op-eds are penned by Jonathan Butcher, the Institute’s education point man. Do you know ALEC, the corporate funded conservative organization that brings business leaders and Republican legislators together in fancy hotels, creates conservative model bills on all kinds of issues, then sends the legislators home to pass them in their home states? Butcher is co-chair of ALEC’s Education Task Force. That’s pretty much tells you what you need to know about him.

Before Butcher sings the praises of ESAs in his op ed in the Sierra Vista Herald, he trashes Arizona’s public schools for spending too much money on administrative expenses. With your ESA, he says, you’ll pay for education, not overhead. The problem with that assertion is, Arizona is among the states spending the lowest percentage of its education funding on administration. Depending on who’s doing the counting, it’s somewhere between 4.5% and 9% of the ed budget, a few percentage points lower than the national average. And of course, private schools have administrative overhead too. Ask some private school what it spends on administration and see if you come up with a number that low.

Butcher says Arizona’s public schools spend 54% of their funding in the classroom, about 7% lower than the national average. He’s right about that, and there’s a good reason. The Republican legislature keeps cutting school funding, so every year schools have to make do with less. You can’t cut buses carrying kids to school. You can’t save much on building electricity, heat, cleaning and maintenance. But you sure can cut back on teachers and cram more kids in every classroom, as Arizona has done, and that cuts a whole lot from classroom funding. Not surprisingly, other states near the bottom of the nation in what they spend per student also spend a lower percentage in the classroom than most states that are more generous with their education dollars.

Anyone who followed my "Fool's Gold" posts on Blog for Arizona knows I love to go after the Goldwater Institute, and I expect I'll be posting about the Institute here as well. G.I. doesn't get nearly the negative attention it deserves. And expect more about ESAs soon. There's lots to learn about the costly and destructive vouchers-on-steroids program.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

Previously in the Range

More by David Safier

Staff Pick

The Fine Art of Printmaking

A group show of 15 artist, showing intaglio, relief, and monotype prints. The artists reception is July… More

@ Contreras Gallery Sat., July 2, 6-9 p.m. and Wednesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through July 30 110 E. Sixth St.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. Zona Politics: Meet the Democrats Running for State House in District 9 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Cosplay Confidential: Check Out These Outfits from Phoenix Comicon (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Take 10 Minutes to Enjoy Jon Stewart's Visit to the Late Show (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Sounds From Day One of the Republican National Convention (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. American Babylon: Interview with Michael Nelson, President of NAACP Cleveland (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation