Monday, May 1, 2017

Back When Arizonans Cared About Public Education, and Were Willing to Fight For Their Initiative Rights

Posted By on Mon, May 1, 2017 at 2:07 PM

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It's in an old Arizona guide book published in 1940, 500 pages long with lots of photos. The first chapter, Contemporary Scene, makes this statement about the state's commitment to public education.
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Ah, for those thrilling days of yesteryear, a time Arizonans were "almost extravagant" when it came to spending on their children's educations!

The next paragraph celebrates the state's "liberal spirit" as embodied by its embrace of the initiative, the referendum and the recall.
click to enlarge az-history-initiative.jpg

Back then, folks believed their initiative process was such a treasure that if anyone—the legislature, say, or the governor—even suggested surrendering that right, they "would be smothered under a storm of protest."

Almost 80 years later, it's time we honor our forebearers by renewing our commitment to funding public education and ensuring the viability of our initiative process.

A Historical Racism Reality Check: When talking about the "good ol' days," it's always important to remember those days were a whole lot more good ol' if you were white than if you weren't. Neither "Mexicans"—as Hispanics are referred to in the book, even though they were in Arizona long before the first white settlers found their way here—nor "Indians" would have benefitted as much from the enlightened views toward education and the initiative process as the more recent arrivals, the "Anglo-Americans" (surprisingly, the book uses that term to describe white Arizonans).

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