An Open Letter to the Arizona Legislature and Governor from Arizona Teacher Leaders

   We, the undersigned, write to express our opposition to proposals within the Arizona legislature that would expand vouchers to private schools and divert needed funds from students in Arizona public schools.

   Recent and pending legislative action lays bare the intentions of proponents of school vouchers.  Incremental steps toward privatization have been abandoned, inviting unprecedented expansion of school vouchers, with no distinctions made based on student need or school performance.

   Moreover, this loose distribution of public funds would support private schools held to a different level of accountability for student performance than the stringent standards to which public schools are routinely held.

   Public school educators are not categorically opposed to school choice. We are opposed to school choice masquerading as a euphemism for school preference, enabling a few to benefit while leaving others behind. Educators denounce reformers trumpeting the need for competition, accountability, standards and incentives not because we oppose these concepts, but because they often mask either the true intent of the reformer or the complexity of the issue requiring reform.

   We urge the legislature and the Governor not to starve public schools while simultaneously offering incentives to private schools then selling the results as “choice”.  These proposals won’t improve education; these proposals would only heighten the increasing division between the haves and the have nots of Arizona rather than allocating the necessary resources to ensure the success of all children in our state.

Respectfully submitted,

Tara Dale, 2014 AEF Ambassador for Excellence

Tabetha Finchum, 2014 AEF Ambassador for Excellence

Beth Maloney, 2014 Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year

Jonathan Parker 2014 AEF Ambassador for Excellence

Joining in support:

Laurie Burrell, 2007 Ambassador

Rebecca Cavazos, 2013 Ambassador

Manuel Chavez, 2009 Ambassador & NBCT

Jodi Chesbro, 1996 Ambassador

Chuck Gallagher, 2008 Ambassador

Lindsey Herlehy, 2013 Ambassador

Lisa Hoelzen, 2008 Ambassador

Ginny Kalish, 1999 Teacher of the Year

Dr. Robert Kelty, 2008 Teacher of the Year

Nancie Lindblom, 2013 Teacher of the Year

Jim Manley, 2000 Teacher of the Year

Amanda McAdams, 2011 Teacher of the Year

Donna Moore, 2010 Ambassador

Mary Perez, 2007 Ambassador

Dr. Lucy Popson, 2006 Teacher of the Year

Cynthia Rolewski, 2010 Ambassador

Dr. Harriet F. Sandberg, 2004 Ambassador

Mamie Spillane, 2007 Ambassador

Eileen Snook, 1996 Ambassador

Jay Stanforth, 2002 Ambassador

Patricia Tate, 1997 Ambassador

(from left to right) Jonathan, Beth, Tara, Dayna, and Tabetha

 Note: if you would like to show your support in our open letter, please leave your name and title in the comments section.

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