There is no such thing as a soft landing when you sit on a stool with imaginary legs. Mike McClellan’s commentary on Monday supporting the 1-cent sales tax increase offers three points that do not hold any weight.
First, the teachers union is vested in the initiative. According to the secretary of state’s web page, Arizona’s teachers union has been outspent on the campaign only by highway contractors and a university student association.
Second, Arizona’s inflation-adjusted per pupil spending has more than doubled according to the U.S. Department of Education. Figures from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and the state auditor general show increases just in the last decade, with only slight declines in the past three years that in no way erase previous funding increases — and education funding increased, once again, this year.
Third, nine peer-reviewed, random-assignment studies (the gold standard of empirical research) of voucher programs have found significant positive effects on student achievement, and no such studies have found that the programs harm students. Further, according to Newsweek, two of the top five high schools in the country are Arizona charter schools — schools of choice. That “thud” you hear is Mr. McClellan’s argument hitting the floor.
Jonathan Butcher, Education Director, Goldwater Institute