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Local Arizona paper: State legislators are ‘enemies of public education’ for supporting school vouchers

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An editorial in a local paper in Payson, AZ, a 15,000-person town that’s been dubbed “The Heart of Arizona,” sharply criticized Sen. Sylvia Allen and Reps. Bob Thorpe and Brenda Barton, accusing the state legislators of acting as the “enemies of public education.’

The paper was responding to a new education measure signed by Gov. Doug Ducey upped the number of education vouchers, but does not offer a way to pay for the hike, meaning the move will impact the public school budget.

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The Payson Roundup which offers itself up as “The Rim Country’s Newsstand Information Source” published a scathing editorial torching the state legislators who voted for the vouchers.

The legislators, the paper said, “will probably do even more damage to public schools in Arizona than our indifferent Legislature has done to this point by ensuring we have among worst-funded schools in the nation.”

The editorial noted while proponents of the vouchers will argue the “empower parents and give lagging public schools a bracing dose of competition,” that is “all nonsense—transparent, hypocritical, outrageous nonsense.”

“Our already shamefully underfunded public schools will grow more segregated as they bleed money and students,” the editorial predicted. “The richest, most pro-active families will move their children to private schools and our educational system will increasingly serve to harden class boundaries, rather than providing equal opportunity to all our children.”

“But we’ll say one thing for the vote to cannibalize our public schools,” the editorial reads. “This vote strips away all pretense. So just make a note. Senator Sylvia Allen. Rep. Bob Thorpe. Rep. Brenda Barton. They still represent Rim Country. But make no mistake: They’re now the declared enemies of free, universal, public education.”

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