Students must fight back against Arizona voucher law

We should care about public education no matter our own academic background

On April 7th, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law a bill that would allow parents to take money out of local public schools and use it for to private education, often called 'vouchers.' It was a somber day for Democrats, and even the Republicans who opposed it.

Betsy Devos tweeted out support for the legislation upon Governor Ducey's signature.

I am a graduate of two parochial private schools, and I loved them both dearly. But I also know that when we pit our schools against each other in the manner that this bill does, all kids will suffer. 

I am not anti-private schools; I am anti-this bill. We can have a debate about vouchers, but almost everyone would agree that a voucher should not come at the cost of defunding public education. We can find a middle ground somewhere on this issue, but there is much more debate and study needed before we do, and this is a far-right bill.

In my religious education, I learned that "you reap what you sow."

I cannot in good conscience support a voucher expansion that drains more money out of public schools while our state is dead last in teacher pay.

But now that the bill has been passed there is only one option left for citizens to fight the bill: a referendum. If 76,000 valid signatures are turned in, the law will be referred to the 2018 ballot. Save Our Schools Arizona is leading the charge.

A recent ASU graduate in public management and leadership, Eryn Streeter immediately signed up to circulate the petitions. 

"I did not hesitate to help because this petition is something I believe would make a positive impact in our school system to give every child a fair chance in getting the education they need," Streeter said.

If you agree with us, then I challenge you to do more than just read this. Take action. We talk about resisting. We talk about change. We talk about how angry we are about public policy in this state and in this nation, and especially about the treatment of teachers and public schools.

But today we have a chance to do more than talk. We have an opportunity to show lawmakers in this state, and those across the country, that even here in Arizona, Republicans and Democrats can come together and fight this bill. Today students have a chance to get engaged, pick up a petition, and get signatures.

We are fighting for the education of our future doctors, entrepreneurs, scientists and, yes, teachers. Let's give them the education they deserve. After all, we reap what we sow.

"It is important for students to get involved politically because every voice and vote makes a difference, and it is never too late to get engaged in politics," Streeter said.

Every petition counts. Who's with us? Contact me to fight back.


Reach the columnist at jarwood@asu.edu or follow @jimsthebeast on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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