It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: In the state of Arizona, a year of K-12 public school is officially more expensive than the full freight tuition cost of sending a child to college at a four-year university.
In a new opinion piece for the Arizona Capitol Times, Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg writes that, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee, attending any of Arizona’s three public universities would cost a family less than taxpayers are kicking in for each student in our public K-12 system. While tuition and fees at Arizona State University, for example, come in around $11,348 annually, “Arizona public schools are now so awash in funding that they will have $14,326 to spend per student in the 2021-2022 school year”—around $3,000 more.
In fact, Arizona’s per pupil K-12 funding has risen more than 40% over the past four decades—including adjustments for inflation and even before Arizona’s share of the latest two rounds of the $200 billion of federal COVID stimulus funds are even factored in). And Arizona families have complete control over whether they want to shell out the $11,000+ per year for a college degree—taxpayers don’t get that choice when it comes to funding K-12 education. And there’s no shortage of students who have been utterly failed by the public school system while being blocked from using even a portion of that $14,000 for an education better suited to their needs.
It’s time that Arizona voters “demand a higher return on the investments in our public schools before racking up even higher spending on them going forward,” Beienburg writes. You can read his full op-ed here.
Progressives have a new tactic to raise taxes, expand government, and subsidize teachers unions. It’s playing out in Arizona, but the Goldwater Institute is fighting back.
Arizona’s Proposition 208 levied a burdensome tax “surcharge” that would have nearly doubled income taxes on anyone earning more than $250,000—which would have targeted small business owners—and forced the state to send this money to school districts without regard to what the legislature was already spending on education. It would have been a devastating new tax on the state’s primary generator of economic growth.
The Goldwater Institute took the tax to the Arizona Supreme Court—and to the extent that the initiative mandated spending above what the state’s highest law allows, the justices declared, it was unconstitutional.
However, as Goldwater’s Timothy Sandefur and Matt Beienburg write at National Review Online, “that’s a welcome result, but it’s hardly the end of the story.” Look for union leaders across the country to keep raising the cost of K-12 education, rather than its quality, and to use ballot initiatives to try to raise your taxes to fund it. Arizona’s experience with Prop. 208 “suggests that progressive activists will continue to frighten voters with false claims about school funding and, if necessary, disregard even existing constitutional limitations on their power in the quest to do so.”
Whether in the media, the workplace, in communities, or on college campuses, cancel culture and identity politics are forcing Americans to conform to ideologies and identities that may not be their own.
This Thursday (September 30), join the Goldwater Institute and America’s Future in Scottsdale, Arizona, for a conversation with Christian Watson, political commentator and national spokesperson for Color Us United, about how young Americans can reclaim their individuality, take responsibility for their own lives, and chart their own pathway for success.
This event is part of the Goldwater Institute’s ongoing series of discussions regarding the rise of Critical Race Theory in America’s schools and society, halting the movement toward Marxism, and how Goldwater is working to ensure academic transparency in the classroom so parents know what is being taught to their children.
It’s your last chance to register for this special event! You can learn more about the event and register to attend here.