With students back in school, education advocates hope Arizonans will examine state legislators’ support for bills that impact K-12 public school students before they turn in their ballot for local or special elections to be held Aug. 27, 2019 and the general election to be held Nov. 5, 2019..
Infographic by Lisa Irish/AZEdNews
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Education advocates analyze legislators voting records
Children’s Action Alliance released their report “Who’s for Kids and Who’s Just Kidding: Public Schools Get More Talk Than Action from Legislative Session” in June 2019.
The report details how Arizona legislators voted on key children’s legislation such as the K-12 education budget bill, child care assistance, financial support for abused and neglected children placed with relatives, juvenile court judges being allowed to make decisions supporting youth success, dental care for pregnant women, and health plans without basic coverage.
Children’s Action Alliance also said that the budget sustains KidsCare, which provides affordable health care coverage to 35,000 Arizona children in working families, removes the automatic freeze in Kids Care and allocated $8 million in state funds to match the $98 million in federal funds for the program.
The group also noted that the budget leaves out hundreds of millions of dollars in school funding formulas and the $386 million in new permanent tax cuts will harm public schools.
Expect More Arizona’s Vote 4 Education includes a list of questions voters can ask candidates to determine their support of public education provides key election dates and deadlines and lets citizens register to vote using their platform or one of many other options.
AZ Schools Now’s United for Ed campaign urges Arizona voters to be an education champion by registering to vote, supporting candidates who stand up for public education, learning more about the propositions and bond and override elections on the ballot, and voting in the primary and general elections.
This year, the AEA report card focused on legislators’ voting records on two bills the group supported: SB 1014, which repealed the four-hour structured English immersion block of instruction and provides districts flexibility to created their own research-based models for English Language Learners, and SB 1346, which repealed a 28-year-old law that prohibited discussing homosexuality during public schools’ HIV/AIDS instruction.
The AEA report card also examined legislators’ votes on bills the group opposed such as SB 1143, which would have reduced income tax rates, HB 2747, a feed bill, HB 2749, the K-12 education budget and HB 2757, which was the tax cut package for 2019.
The 2019 AEA Legislative Report Card also includes a report card that gives legislators an A+ through F letter grade based on their voting records and whether or not they supported AEA’s pro-public education legislative and policy agenda.
Friends of ASBA, a non-profit organization focused on providing access to information and resources on education issues, released voting records earlier this week for all 90 members of the Arizona Legislature in their report “Ask your legislators if they support or oppose educating Arizona: How Arizona Legislators voted in 2019 on high priority K-12 education bills.”
Slideshow: Some legislators named friends of public education by Friends of ASBA
Friends of ASBA is affiliated with the non-partisan Arizona School Boards Association.
The report, organized by Arizona’s 30 legislative districts, tracks how each state legislator voted on eight key bills – instruction for English Language Learners, school district procurement practices, misconduct involving weapons on school grounds, the menu of assessments schools can use, school district personnel evaluations, discipline of school employees, Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, also known as vouchers and a cap on corporate tax credits that fund private School Tuition Organizations.
The report also includes data by legislative district on voter turnout, registered voters by party, race/ethnicity of population and children, the percentage of children living at or below the poverty level and school districts represented.
For the third year, legislators were rated on whether their overall voting record during the session was supportive of public education or not, in the estimation of Friends of ASBA. Forty-four of Arizona’s 90 state legislators were counted as friends of public education
This is based in part on each legislator’s voting record, but also on other issues that may occur behind the scenes, such as helping to get bills heard (or not) in committee and how the legislator acted toward public education in general. Helpful actions are recognized by “extra credit.” Just seven legislators received extra credit.