Education Local Government

“School Choice” Does Not Mean What You Think It Means.

On the outset, funding to send your child to a private school sounds pretty good. I think, as parents, we often want our children to get the “best” – the best schooling, the best experience, the best clothes…etc. So, it’s no surprise that when Arizona offered vouchers for private schools, many families jumped at the chance.

Except…it’s not what you think.

There’s a catch to the new voucher system. In a glaring move of passive aggression the students are only eligible for a voucher IF they are in a school with a mask mandate or quarantine procedures. This allows students to move to a private school that is not regulated the same as public schools, and in a big fuck you to the federal government, the Governor is using Covid Relief Funds to pay for the voucher system. Woof.

Ok…So What?

School choice advocates often use the voucher system as a way of pretending that they care about education. They say “everyone deserves a good education, so let’s give some people some money and send them to private schools!”

That’s a fallacy though, because private schools and vouchers are not equitable at all. It’s a way of defunding the public school system, by taking money reserved for public schools and pulling children out of them. Even now, public schools in wealthy areas receive better funding than those in lower income areas. Why? Schools are funded by property taxes. They are also funded based on the number of booties in seats.

School is not equitable (though it should be) and vouchers aren’t going to fix the problem.

On top of the fact that Arizona is making policy that directly impacts the health of the community, not to mention children, it’s likely that those students who take advantage of this particular voucher will be forced back to their normal public school when the funds run out. So, students are uprooted from their education not once but twice. They may miss important learning blocks that they need to carry with them from grade-to-grade, and for what? So that the Governor of Arizona can point his middle finger at the Federal Government.

So what can you do?

First, anytime there’s a voucher program on the ballot you should vote against it. Vouchers do not create equitable education, and they only assist a small minority of students. Also, the rules that apply to public education don’t apply to private education – so who knows where your money is going.

Second, anytime you can vote to expand funding to public schools – do it. Maybe you don’t have kids, maybe you don’t want kids. That’s fine, but look, whether you like it or not kids grow up and become your neighbors, voters, and people in the community. If you want an educated and well rounded community, invest in public schools.

Third, and here we are again, local voting is important. School boards, Mayors, City Councils, Governors, they all determine your child’s education and thus the fate of your city. Vote like the town depends on it.

Because it quite literally does.

Gaston definitely voted for vouchers. He hates education.

Education Local Government

Spite Post

This post pertains very specifically to local leadership, so unless you’re ready for ultimate pettiness move along now.

Ah, I see you’re all still here. Petty and spiteful like me. Good, good. Let’s begin.

I talk a lot about how local elections are incredibly important, and how they often impact your daily life and routine. In 2016 the city I live in decided to incorporate. Now. I want to be clear. I’m a very liberal person. I don’t mind higher taxes, especially if it means that the people in the city are being taken care of.

That is not what’s happening in my local government.

My city, Millcreek, decided to use funds to create a thriving city center. In this city center we are supposed to have an ice ribbon to live out our cutting edge fantasy, some mixed space housing, a park, and a new city hall – all bright and shiny. Whatever, of course our taxes are paying for it, but it’s supposed to up our home value. Right? RIGHT?!

So far the dream of this new city center has gone up in flames. No, literally, half of it burned down over the summer. The fire caused a million dollars in damage, and a ton of set backs. That day my family packed up because ash from the blaze was raining down on our houses and the fields around us. Whatever, more taxes I guess.

I’ve already been irritated every day as I drive past the burned out husk of what used to be the physical fruits of my tax dollars. Today, however, I learned that in this new city center, there’s a proposal to put in three HUGE digital signs, inside a place designed for pedestrians. These proposed signs will be anywhere from 26-35 feet tall. I’m like, 5 foot, so I don’t really have a good concept of what that means. But this article assures me that it’s too big for pedestrians – it’s meant for cars.

Ok…So What?

Well, other than how gauche the signs will look in the middle of our little city inside a place meant for people and not cars, there are a number of other problems. First, we really don’t have the road space to accommodate all this new development. The two streets the city center will lay on are 1-2 lane roads. I don’t even know where the parking will be…my street I guess? Underground? It’s unclear.

Second, our Mayor has a clear conflict of interest. The mayor has ties to Reagan Billboards which will supply the signs of unusual size. So, for my tax dollars I get ridiculously large signs, crowded streets, higher taxes and…what? I have to also pay to take myself and my kids to a fucking ice ribbon.

Seems like a scam to me. Here’s the thing, it’s supposed to be for the public, but it’s becoming clear that it was never for us. It’s so that businesses can make money off of us. A park would have been so much more useful. And free to enjoy.

So, anyway look. Local elections are really important. They affect your commute, your property value, and your wallet. Vote informed, vote often, and DO NOT vote for this guy.