NEA board member Morty Rosenfeld, remarking on an earlier Goldwater Institute Today's News article, recently wrote, "I've become the darling of the political right, the Goldwater Institute hailing me as the second coming of Al Shanker. Not bad for a dues paying member of the Democratic Socialists of America."
Rosenfeld continued, "If teacher unionists can build coalitions with the right to curb waste and use the taxpayers' money more productively, that's fine with me. I'm weary of the political left surrendering all thought of economy and good school management to the right."
Cheers, Mr. Rosenfeld. That makes two of us.
Rosenfeld goes on with characteristic honesty to describe the working conditions of public school teachers today, which seems especially relevant to policy discussions in Arizona in light of the looming teacher shortage detailed recently in the Arizona Republic.
Mr. Rosenfeld says, "It is also time teacher union leaders end all their sanctimonious rhetoric about professionalism. The fact of the matter is, in most of America's public schools not only are teachers not permitted to function as professionals, their working conditions are deteriorating and are horrifyingly reminiscent of those that gave birth to the teacher labor movement to begin with. "
Could there be common ground between an NEA board member and researchers at the Goldwater Institute? Perhaps so. Rosenfeld condemns public school waste, while the Goldwater Institute prescribes transparency and competition as the most effective cure. Rosenfeld laments the lack of professionalism for today's teachers. We contend that the best way to improve teacher pay and working conditions lies in expanding the market for their services. Rosenfeld wonders why an administrator pushing for "emotional" instead of academic education was not fired on the spot. We posit that in a truly competitive education system, absent a significant demand for "emotional education" by parents, such absurdities would be few and far between.
For decades, the biggest political player in setting education policy in this country has been the union on whose board Mr. Rosenfeld sits. The American Federation of Teachers would likely rank second. Next on the list would be a distant third. The fact that Mr. Rosenfeld believes things have gone horribly astray in student achievement, spending and teacher professionalism should lead to serious introspection even on the part of hardened educational reactionaries. Students, teachers and taxpayers have much to gain from completely rethinking our education delivery system.
California pulled in $71.5 billion tourist dollars, while Arizona managed "only" $10.5 billion, six times less, and ranked 17 in the nation, according to the Travel Industry Association of America's annual report. The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has already used the report as an occasion to call for more taxpayer money to promote the state.
But take a step back and the numbers fall into place. Yes, California made six times the money, but California also has six times the population. The important thing is how big each person's slice of the pie is, not the size of the pie itself. If we break the statistics down, California made $1,991 per resident on tourism and Arizona made $1,828, or a modest $163 difference. Tourist spending in Arizona also increased 6 percent from 2002 to 2003, the second highest percentage increase in the nation.
Should the state spend more taxpayer money trying to attract more tourists? Even the Arizona Office of Tourism, which consistently asks for more subsidies, admits that other states' advantages lie in "large privately funded, man-made attractions." In other words, something more taxpayer money can't buy.
One thing the state could do to attract more tourists is to create a tax-oasis by lowering hotel, airport and rental car tax rates. Before leaving Sky Harbor, visitors have to pay an 8.8 percent rental car sales tax, a $2.50 surcharge and a 10 percent airport concession fee. That's a fine how-do-you-do.
Arizona may not have Oceanside views, but we can still offer a tempting oasis for visiting guests.
In 1997, the University of Arizona and the University of Arizona Foundation set a bold goal for its Campaign Arizona: raise $1 billion in private contributions within eight years. "It seemed like so much money when the campaign began," explains UA president Peter Likins, but "our leadership team knew we could do it."
Today, more universities are directing their fundraising efforts to the private sector. However, UA is one of only about 20 institutions to approach, much less achieve, the billion-dollar milestone.
Alumni gifts led the way, but contributions were fairly evenly divided among alumni and non-alumni, followed by corporations and foundations. UA will use the funds for its academic divisions, research, capital projects, and financial aid.
UA is also solidifying what UA Foundation president Richard F. Imwalle calls "a culture of philanthropy." Private philanthropy matters because it is the revenue source with the greatest growth potential. In contrast, public budgets are being stretched thin by the high growth of entitlement spending, especially in the areas of K-12 education and health care.
As Likins puts it, "There is an unspoken consensus in America that public universities are going to have to be more and more on their own financially." UA is taking historic steps to reduce its reliance on state subsidies. Other Arizona universities can turn to their alumni, friends, and benefactors to accomplish the same.
- Arizona Daily Star: "UA campaign tops goal with $1billion+"
-University of Arizona Foundation: Campaign Arizona Report
- Phoenix Business Journal: "State universities turn to private-sector funding"
-Goldwater Institute: "The Privately Financed Public University: A Case Study of the University of Michigan"
The Arizona Supreme Court yesterday rejected Tempe's request for a special action in Tempe v. Valentine. At issue was whether Tempe's proposal to condemn private property to make way for a developer to erect a shopping mall met the constitutional definition of "public use." At the trial court, Tempe lost; prompting the city to file its special action petition.
The Arizona Constitution contains explicit protection for property owners, prohibiting the taking of private property for private use in most instances. Historically, "public use" has been interpreted to include such things as sewers and roads.
In the 2003 case Bailey v. Myers, an appellate court developed a test to determine when a project meets the proper definition of "public use". According to the court, the public benefits of a project must "substantially predominate" over private benefits. The test is a good first step to restoring the constitutional meaning of public use. Under this standard, a project that primarily benefits one private individual or group of individuals rather than the public as a whole will be found unconstitutional.
In its special action petition, Tempe asked the Arizona Supreme Court to reject Bailey, contending that as long as a municipality could show minimal public benefit, the public use standard would be met. Under such a broad standard however, any home could be torn down if a tax-generating 7-Eleven were built in its stead.
Sharing recognition that private property rights are fundamental to a free society, the Goldwater Institute and NAACP Maricopa County Branch filed an amicus brief in support of the Bailey standard. Bailey gives courts the full picture about municipal projects to help ensure that eminent domain is employed only for the uses for which the power was intended. Fortunately, the Arizona Supreme Court declined the request to reject the Bailey standard, leaving its sound constitutional standard intact.
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