Letters to the editor: April 4 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letters to the editor: April 4

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Posted: Saturday, April 4, 2009 8:17 pm | Updated: 12:41 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Submit your letter to the editor

We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Submit your letter to the editor

SCHOOL VOUCHERS

Drain on already underfunded classrooms

The Tribune’s recent editorial calling for a change to the Arizona Constitution that would enable school vouchers (Our View, March 27) is based on a faulty premise: That vouchers are good policy. They are not. Vouchers are not right for children and they are not right for Arizona taxpayers.

In an age of educational and financial accountability, vouchers provide taxpayers with neither. They drain critical dollars from our public school classrooms, where 1.12 million Arizona children go to learn each day and which are already funded at the lowest level in the nation and face additional cuts for the fiscal year ahead. And as the court so clearly pointed out, vouchers funnel public funds to support private, often religious, schools.

As egregious as all that is, the fact is that vouchers don’t work — a fact that has led a number of high-profile national advocates of vouchers to abandon their support for this questionable school choice option in light of recent empirical evidence.

Student achievement ought to be the driving force behind any education reform, yet research released by the nonpartisan Center for Education Policy and the U.S. General Accountability Office shows that children in public schools perform as well on standardized tests as private school students when income and parental involvement are taken into account. Research also debunks the contention that vouchers improve public schools through the increased competition.

We should not pursue a change to our constitution in support of a policy that is bad for children and bad for Arizona. We urge those seeking to improve educational options to direct their passion to improving and enhancing education where it will do the most good for the most Arizona children — our public schools.

PANFILO H. CONTRERAS

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARIZONA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION

Denying the needy of education

School choice advocates nationwide were saddened to hear of the Arizona Supreme Court decision declaring the state’s two voucher programs for special-needs and foster-care children unconstitutional under an amendment banning government “aid” to religious schools.

These Blaine amendments — present in several state constitutions — were added early in the 20th century during a wave of anti-Catholic bigotry. They are outdated relics that now serve only to keep the children most in need of the stability and special services private schools can provide from achieving their full potential.

Studies show private and religious schools do a better job of educating children at approximately half the cost of public schools. For instance, Wisconsin saved taxpayers $37 million in the 2009 fiscal year through its 19-year-old school voucher program, which serves many children through religious schools. Those children aren’t being “indoctrinated” — they’re being educated, and what religion their families may choose (or abandon) is entirely a matter of personal choice, not one for the government to decide. It’s time for Arizona, and every other state still engaging in this form of bigotry, to change their constitutions.

KARLA DIAL

MANAGING EDITOR, SCHOOL REFORM NEWS

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

Digging America deeper

Mike Mattfolk’s March 28 letter is laughingly typical of the myopic left. I’m no lover of former President George W. Bush, but there are many reasons to be disappointed in what President Barack Obama has been doing.

It doesn’t take a genius to see we’re headed full speed down the path to socialism, all in the name of excising the country of the Bush years.

It’s pretty disingenuous of the left to be upset with anyone who dares criticize Obama when they themselves, and the so-called mainstream media, were shrill screamers for eight years. Now, the shoe is on the other foot and it squeezes their toes. Let’s face it. Obama is great at giving a speech from a teleprompter. Beyond that, he’s a suit who looks and sounds good when scripted but with the thinnest resume imaginable.

He has done nothing in the past to make me believe he can do anything good in the future. Even his attempts to fill his Cabinet have been fraught with missteps. He has tripled Bush’s deficit, and it’s snowballing, and hardly anyone in Congress, and certainly not the media, has the guts to raise their hand.

ROGER HERD

MESA

REPUBLICAN PARTY

Hungry only for power

Let’s get something perfectly clear once and for all. The Republican Party has one and only one agenda. It’s not the economy. It’s certainly not education, health care or the environment. It’s not even national security as some might think. What cause is the only thing important to Republicans? Winning elections and being in power.

The main reason that they are fighting so hard against President Barack Obama’s economic plan is that they truly believe it will work. And if it does work, they know that their party will maintain a minority status for many, many years.

If they actually thought it would fail, they would happily allow it to happen knowing that this would put them in a position to regain the White House and Congress. If you need proof of this just listen to their pathetic rhetoric. Their solution is to repackage the same old policies and ideologies that got us into this mess. Once again they are trying to convince Americans that Republicans are right about everything, and you have to fear everything the Democrats do.

The plan that Obama and his administration has put forth to fix the economy might work. Most economists believe it’s our best chance. The one thing we know for sure is that the plan the Republicans have used in the past and are pushing for now is a complete and utter failure. My advice to the leaders of the Republican Party: Get in the back seat and shut up; you had your chance to drive and you blew it.

STEVE BACON

SCOTTSDALE

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