Editorial: Voucher system now law in Arizona at expense of traditional public school system

There once was a school of thought in this country that public schools represented one of the essential foundations of the American concept known as E Pluribus Unum.

Public schools were part of the fabric that gave our country its backbone. They provided the vision and security that America was the undisputed leader of the free world.

Further, public schools were considered just that: public. For those who chose not to attend public schools and go the home-school, private or parochial route, they also sacrificed the privilege of the American taxpayer footing the bill for their children’s education.

Somewhere along the way, we threw that ideal out the window.

In Arizona this past week, the state’s leadership continued this trend of turning its back on the traditional public school system to finance non-traditional education under the guise that it is all public. Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation that funnels equal share public school dollars to those that attend private and parochial schools.

This follows a trend that began in 1994 when the state began its education cost-shift from public schools to the charter system. We reinvented the definition of what a public school was and the loser in this new look at education was the traditional public school system.

With public education dollars now shared between traditional, charter, private and parochial institutions, the financial clout once enjoyed exclusively by traditional public schools has been reduced to pennies on the education dollar.

Not so surprisingly, this so began the decline of the traditional public school system. You see it in annual reports that show declining test scores, low teacher morale, over-crowded classrooms, reduced dollars dedicated for classroom instruction and facility disrepair.

Every year, you see legislative posturing about the need to make our public school system great again. More often than not, such chest-beating is all talk with no action. Further, the very people who make the most noise about the need to make our public school system great again fail to acknowledge that they were the very people who derailed the system.

They gave it away. They created a system that required more taxpayer dollars just to maintain the status quo, and then refused to adequately finance the system. Non-traditional schools began to flourish at the expense of the traditional public school system.

They cheated a system that once was considered a key cornerstone of American greatness.

They gave it away.


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ItsyBitsySpider 1 year, 10 months ago

Excellent point, Mr. Engler. "School Voucher" is a cause that became a revolution, which, having succeeded, is now in the process of devouring its children.

The idea surfaced in the 1940's, when removing one's children from a failing or downright abusive public school was a crime unless one could afford a private school or find space in a parochial school of one's faith. It was limited to fighting incompetence within the public school system by breaking the hold any given public school--good, bad, or indifferent--had on all children living within its geographic boundaries. Of course, educrats fought back tooth and nail, some with good reasons. In Arizona, the real imperative was solved by recognizing home schooling and initiating open public school enrollment.

But like so many necessary bureaucratic reforms, the Voucher concept grew beyond correcting bad laws. Charter public schools, enacted in less enlightened states to simulate open enrollment, were tacked on. And now this. When will we ever learn?


IzzatSo 1 year, 10 months ago

Isn't it curious that of all the present Trump cabinet secretaries, only Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education requires US Marshals' protection?


The_Uppity_Peasant 1 year, 10 months ago

You staunch defenders of our education system obviously did not attend one of our big city schools. I dropped out of high school and am very glad I did, should have . It was, and still is, social darwinism, mostly about popularity and sports, not education.

If it weren't for the charter schools my son would be home schooled. Maybe AZ rural schools provide a better education than ones in Phoenix or St. Louis, but my kid's brain and life are way too important to take that gamble and trust with the normal public schools.

I taught with you public school teachers. Our lead teacher boasted of having never cracked a book during his entire university career and then had the nerve to tell me that I should behave in way that doesn't represent the school badly!!! WTF!!! And don't get me started about the universities. Your Women and Gender Studies people who have no problem slandering innocent individuals to the point of suicide; one professor stabbed himself in the neck with scissors until he was dead. Ask his wife and kids what they think about education!

What's that giant sucking sound? The fraudulent scam we call education in America.