Your newspaper recently printed a letter to the editor from Rex Scott, a local high school principal, in which he claims that our schools are suffering, largely as a result of state budget cuts and as a result of my voting record.
Neither claim is true.
Declining enrollment, largely as a result of an outflow of illegal aliens and their children, has impacted the per-pupil funding formulas of some schools. They have fewer students and receive fewer dollars as a result. But don't blame the state's budget for that.
Mr. Scott ignores the fact that as a result of the legislative budgets and vetoes by the governor, education spending for 2010 has not been decreased and may see an overall increase from 2009 levels. That means we're spending more money, not less.
Mr. Scott's "Chicken Little" method is a repeat performance from earlier in the year, when school districts warned all of their teachers that they may be fired as a result of budget cuts, only to go out and, in some cases, keep all of their teachers and hire new ones as well.
Scaring people by misleading them produces diminishing returns as people gradually become aware of this strategy.
In legal disputes, when one party brings a suit against another that claims damage or mistreatment, they must come to the court "with clean hands," a fancy way of saying that they themselves have behaved appropriately in the matter. Mr. Scott and Arizona's education bureaucracy fail that test.
In fact, the Arizona Education Association recently announced that it was joining with Planned Parenthood to recruit and train "progressive" (the new word for liberal) candidates for elective office. Why public schools and abortion providers should form a political alliance is a serious question, but what has long been suspected has now been laid bare for the public to see. Namely, our education bureaucracy is largely a part and tool of the liberal Democrat party, working in conjunction with other liberal elements of that party to elect liberal Democrats to office.
In the past, the AEA has teamed up with ACORN and the SEIU to press its liberal political agenda and now it has added Planned Parenthood.
Moderate and conservative teachers are right to be upset and parents need to be made aware that the information that they receive from their schools is written with a political agenda in mind. While they will all be disguised as being "in the best interests of the
Children," Mr. Scott's letter to the editor is certainly not the last campaign piece masquerading as impartial opinion that your readers will see, especially as the 2010 campaign gets under way.
As for me and my voting record, I will continue to insist on accountability when it comes to education spending and I will continue to push for getting dollars into the classrooms instead of blowing them on school administrations. Teachers and students should be getting the money, not bureaucrats and political hacks with an agenda.
In the State of Arizona, we spend more than $9,700 per public school student, yet Mr. Scott accuses us of denying our students the resources they need? The fact is that no amount of money will ever be enough for the bureaucrats who run the system, so it is up to the rest of us to set appropriate limits and then demand results in exchange for the billions of dollars we spend each and every year.
Sen. Al Melvin represents LD-26