POSTED BY DAVID SAFIER
The study calls itself A Report Card on Our Nation’s Commitment to Public Schools. The more a state favors education privatization, the lower the grade. Arizona earns its lowest-in-the-country F by having the nation’s largest ESA program (Education Savings Accounts, aka Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, aka Vouchers on Steroids) along with the worst ESA accountability system, and a Tuition Tax-Credit Program with one of the nation’s highest eligibility rates and the worst accountability systems. Arizona is one of only four states which allows for-profit charter schools to operate, though many charter schools in most states use for-profit charter management companies.
Put those all together, and Arizona ranks significantly lower than the other bottom dwellers: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada. Three states earn an A+ for their commitment to public schools — Nebraska, North Dakota and West Virginia — followed closely by South Dakota, Kentucky and Wyoming.
As with all studies and scorecards of this kind, it’s important to know the focus and bias of the groups which created the study. The Network for Public Education is an organization started by education historian Diane Ravitch and others which takes a strong stand for public education and against privatization/”education reform.” (Full disclosure: I agree with NPE’s stands in general though not in all the particulars, and I know some of the people involved in the group’s leadership.) The study was done in cooperation with the Schott Foundation for Public Education, a group I know less about. It supports, according to its mission statement, “fully resourced, quality PreK-12 public education.”
Read David’s entire piece here.