Will our community be able to save our public schools? The election for a bond, and override funding is November 3. I could wait until the results are in, but here are the issues. Citizens be aware:

The overwhelming majority of parents want their children in public schools. Not charter schools, partial schools, religious schools, or schools which keep out parents, destroy the joys of childhood, and use force as motivation. Parents have choice and they have chosen. Over 85% of Arizona parents have chosen public schools.

The overwhelming majority of parents want their child exposed to many disciplines as well as math and reading. They want their children exposed to art, humanities, science, social studies, history , government, health, physical education, and languages. They want their child to love learning and love their learning community. Parents want their children prepared as interdisciplinary, self-directed learners ready for the future.

They want childhood’s magic honored with time to play and explore and do the things children must do to develop into healthy adults. They want pre-K through great K-12 programs.

Parents know that childhood is a critical developmental time for their child. They like and support the way public school classrooms and the curricula are developmentally appropriate. They know that foundation skills are acquired at different times for each child and that forcing learning to pass standardized tests or other inappropriate measurements damages children.

They want full services for their child. School safety. Safe transportation. A school nurse. Counselors and mentors. A good lunch program and breakfast and snacks for kids who would otherwise go hungry. They want school clubs, newspaper staff, annual staff, business clubs, science club and science fairs, and dance. They want field trips, assemblies, and Americanization.

They demand trained and certified teachers. Most parents know that today’s certified and experienced teachers are many times more effective than teachers in the past. The education profession is advancing and very effective. If there is a learning conflict, they have choice within the system.

The overwhelming number of parents and community members understand that the community has built and provided safe and well-maintained buildings – well-maintained that is until tax dollars they pay for schools have been taken away by a small handful of ideologues who are robbing our communities. In every community, these destructive people always vote NO to damage the opportunities of others.

If you agree with the list of things children need – and parents and citizens demand – note that few are provided by the charter or partial schools. For example, qualified, experienced certified faculty and administrators. Publicly elected school boards. Financial accountability and academic accountability. All of the above are an integral part of our public schools.

IF the great majority of citizens do not want their tax dollars directed away from our students and schools why are they ignored?

BECAUSE those who want to destroy public education or rob kids to profit from our tax dollars have used their power in the Legislature and government to create a system where every charter or other partial school supported by our tax dollars must duplicate what the citizens are already paying for in public schools. Charters must use state dollars that follow the child to duplicate facilities, accounting, utilities, support staffing, libraries, computes, classrooms and physical education resources. The citizens end up paying twice for the same services. The money that citizens intend for children is not there for the majority of kids, teachers, building maintenance, books and supplies or the things children need. The irony is that as few as 10% of the students are enrolled in these partial schools, but they wreak havoc and have the potential to destroy quality education for the majority of students. This is not an accidental consequence. It is being done intentionally.

Finally, know that two main forces are killing our public schools:
1) Access to the tax dollars citizens pay for education. This access to our tax dollars is usually for profit-making schemes and individual greed.

2) Ideology as professed openly by Koch-ALEC-and right-wing organizations that have written intent to kill public schools, privatize prisons, and destroy worker representation. These so-called reformers have run Arizona education for over 20 years. What they have put in place does not work. By every measure, they have succeeded in harming public schools, children, teachers, and families. They have damaged communities, forbidden academic and elected accountability for experimental schools of choice, and they have misspent hundreds of millions of dollars that taxpayers paid for public schools. They are the reason we have this financial crisis.

This coming vote won’t stop these American Dream busters, but it may show that people are now aware of the threat and ready to organize and take back their schools and country. SOS is real. It deserves a YES – YES vote.