- Ben Cooper
Republican Opposes Funding "Education Terrorists"
While families struggle with rising costs, Republicans bowed to teachers unions and agreed to tax increases to fund the bloated public education establishment. Some strongly objected.
On 21 February 2022, more than 2/3 of legislators in the Arizona Senate voted to override the Arizona constitutional spending limit for school districts, funneling more than $1 Billion to public school districts. Many districts are still imposing mask mandates and, via quarantine policies, prevent children from attending in person. The House had passed the override measure earlier. House and Senate Republicans hold majorities in both chambers and could hence have easily stopped the override as only 1/3 of the votes would have been sufficient to do so. The vote in the Senate was 23 Yays to 6 Nays. 2 more Nays would have toppled the measure and avoided tax increases. In the House the vote was 45 Yays to 14 Nays, with all Democrats and 17 out of 31 Republicans voting for the override.
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Local politicians sitting in the Arizona House voted as follows:
Jennifer Pawlik, D-Chandler: Yay
Jennifer Jermaine, D-Chandler: Yay
Mitzi Epstein, D-Chandler: Yay
Jeff Weninger, R-Chandler: Yay
Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert: Nay
Jake Hoffman, R-Gilbert: Nay
Local politician sitting in the Arizona Senate voted as follows:
Sean Bowie, D-Chandler: Yay
JD Mesnard, R-Chandler: Yay
Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert: Nay
Mesnard was pressured by education unions which had organized a protest inside the Arizona State Capitol, demanding a meeting with him. Ironically, Weninger is running for Arizona State Treasurer in the 2022 election. Gilbert Republicans stood firmer and opposed the measure.
The educational establishment is highly organized. It virtually owns the Democrat Party. Using children as kind of hostages, they almost always succeed in pressuring Republicans into agreeing to spending increases. The US school system is the most generously funded in the world. Performance is among the worst. American children score average or below average in tests measuring reading, math and other basic subjects.
Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita R did not mince words. She represents legislative district 23 encompassing parts of North Phoenix, Fountain Hills, North Scottsdale and the area to the North and East of it. She said "So here we are, feeding the beast, more money, more money, in my opinion capitulating to the educational terrorists who have held our kids hostage.” Ugenti-Rita is running for Arizona Secretary of State in the 2022 election.
Vince Leach R-Tucson opposed the override. He criticized the educational establishment for failing to credit his party for increasing school funding in recent years, and for still requiring masks in many public schools in the state. He is also proposing to provide all Arizona students with school vouchers, to increase their school choice. School choice is vehemently opposed by teachers unions and other elements of the public education establishment. They want to preserve their power over students and parents, presumably for monetary and ideological/political reasons.