Wednesday, July 15, 2020
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The people of Arizona say no to vouchers

The American people had much to say at the polls yesterday, leaving Congress with a Republican Senate and Democratic House, but the biggest news in education from yesterday’s election wasn’t a surprise at all: Voters in Arizona resoundingly defeated Proposition 305, 65-to-35, adding yet another public voice to remove discriminatory education savings accounts from the public landscape (several elections over the past few decades have yielded similar results).

“When vouchers are put to the voters, the voters soundly defeat them,” wrote Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, in an email message to supporters.

“We are over the moon. We set out to send a message to the state government and the nation,” the Arizona Republic quoted Dawn Penich-Thacker, a spokeswoman for the grassroot anti-voucher movement known as Save Our Schools Arizona, as saying. “This defeat should be echoing at the state Capitol and all the way to Washington.”

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Several key races for the public school community remained too close as of Wednesday afternoon, but we can firmly report that:

  • Gov Scott Walker, Republican of Wisconsin, who sought to undo teachers’ unions and slash school funding, was defeated. Tony Evers will become the next governor.
  • New Mexico elected pro-education candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham to be the next governor.
  • Janet T Mills, also a strong education advocate, is now the governor-elect in Maine.
  • Voters in Nevada elected Steve Sisolak as the state’s next governor.

Mr Sisolak, a Democrat, was quoted as saying, “A good education changes everything,” on Twitter a few days before the election. “But you need good public schools with higher salaries for teachers, smaller classes sizes for students, and a governor who won’t send public money to private schools.”

Ms Mills will become Maine’s first female governor in history, Maine Public reported. “You know there is too much at stake here to fall back on the old ways. I pledge as your governor to think anew, to act anew, to begin anew. Starting now,” she was quoted as saying.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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