Most people can think of a time when they have been having a conversation or visiting a new place and suddenly felt like they’ve been there before, doing exactly the same thing. This feeling of “déjà vu” is common: Nearly 2 out of every 3 people experience déjà vu at some point in their life. Déjà vu happens most frequently among people between 15 and 25 years of age.
Or to anyone who pays taxes in Arizona.
Twelve years ago, education associations told us we had to pay more taxes for schools, so Prop 301 went on the ballot in 2000. The measure increased the sales tax, and we watched and waited for student success.
They told us we had to pay more taxes again in 2010 to help during the recession, so the sales tax went up again with Prop 100’s passage that year. We were promised it would be temporary, but, regardless, we watched and waited for improvement. By this time, 3 out of 4 Arizona 4th graders could not read at grade level.
Prepare for déjà vu: The teachers union has now teamed up with highway contractors to make the temporary 1-cent sales tax increase permanent and direct money to the public school system and roads. Arizona voters will see it on the ballot this November as Proposition 204. The money raised for schools will be sent without reforms to promote innovation or higher teacher salaries and with little accountability for results. Contractors expect to come away with a cool $100 million annually.
Prop 204 supporters say this is a “once-in-a-generation game-changer for Arizona.” But, we’ve already raised our taxes twice in the last ten years to fund schools and we have nothing to show for it. Arizona 4th and 8th graders rank in the bottom 10 states in the country in both math and reading on national comparisons.
Prop 204 is déjà vu all over again.
Arizonans should vote no on Prop 204 and start a movement to give children a chance at a better education through education savings accounts. Children need quality choices in education, not more money with no strings attached.
Goldwater Institute: Education Savings Accounts: Questions and Answers
Arizona Republic: Into the Mind of…Ann-Eve Pedersen
Southern Methodist University: Déjà vu Fact Sheet