Top 8 most bizarre claims made by Prop 204 supporters

| October 24 2012
Hannah Thoreson

Western Free Press has compiled a list of the top 8 most bizarre claims made by Prop 204 supporters.  They get progressively crazier as you go, so keep reading!

8.  “It also illustrates why we must stop legislators from using the state’s schoolchildren as their political footballs and get partisan politics out of education.”
Prop 204 is an initiative, which means it was initiated by somebody.  Namely, partisan political organizations capable of conducting the kind of outreach necessary to get this on the ballot, who are now themselves campaigning almost exclusively on a pitch of “but think of the children!”.  Recently, the Yes on 204 released a new commercial that features (you may have already guessed it): children.  Hypocrisy is hardly out of the ordinary in politics, or this statement would have ranked higher on the list.

7.  “Professionals we all depend on – surgeons, nurses, accountants, veterinarians – are leaving Arizona because they fear their children can’t receive a quality education.”
This statement is unproven at best and just plain made up at worst.  Population growth in the state has slowed during the down economy, but that does not make Arizona unique.  In fact, Arizona’s population grew by almost 100,000 individuals between April 1, 2010 and April 1, 2012.  There are no statistics showing an exodus of highly-educated medical professionals and accountants.  More importantly, the employment outlook for them would be worse almost anywhere else in the region — California has an unemployment rate of 10.2%, and Nevada 11.8%.   

6.  “The Arizona Legislature made the deepest percentage cuts in the nation to our schools. Then, when legislators had a surplus, they refused to fix the damage they had done. That’s like putting a ‘Closed for Business’ sign in front of the state of Arizona.”
This from people supporting a law that would give Arizona the second-highest sales tax rate in the nation, in an economy where retail sales have already been devastated.  Local businesses will not be able to compete with online companies in the long term if this burden is placed on their shoulders.  Further, in February 2012 Arizona’s Auditor General reported that since 2001 education spending per pupil in the state has increased 39% through 2011, while classroom dollars have gone down 6.7%. Through two recessions over the decade between 2001 and 2011 total dollars for education (including state, local, and federal funding) was up 61%, outpacing both population growth of 24% and inflation of 27%.

5.  “Skidmore said class sizes are already strained in the Paradise Valley Unified School District. Senior English teachers, for example, are already expected to teach 40 students and evaluate 200 term papers.
“That is an impossible task to deliver.”
Unpleasant, perhaps, but impossible sounds like a bit of an exaggeration.  The reality is that Paradise Valley School District is one of the top performing districts in the state.  PVSD has 33,146 students and 1,783 teachers.  That’s 18.59 students per teacher.  The math doesn’t support Ms. Skidmore’s claims.  Furthermore, the average class size for teachers in departmentalized instruction in Arizona secondary schools is 25.4.  The national average is 23.3.  There are at least 8 other states that have rates the same as Arizona or higher.

4.  “Experts Agree:  Childhood Healthcare and Classroom Success Linked”
This is a true, but irrelevant pitch for the portion of Prop 204 revenue that would go to social welfare programs.  Almost any positive development in a child’s life could be linked to classroom success.  They could have just as easily have written the headline ‘Watching less TV and classroom success linked’ or ‘Eating a healthy breakfast and classroom success linked’, and it would have been about as useful from a standpoint of rational analysis of the issue.

3.  “Even though the state now has an $851 million surplus, legislators refused to even fund textbooks for schoolchildren this past session.”
The legislature does not buy textbooks.  That is something school districts are responsible for doing.  In February 2012 Arizona’s Auditor General reported that since 2001 education spending per pupil in the state has increased 39% through 2011, while classroom dollars have gone down 6.7%. Through two recessions over the decade between 2001 and 2011 total dollars for education (including state, local, and federal funding) was up 61%, outpacing both population growth of 24% and inflation of 27%.

2.  “The impact on our community is going to be great,” said Adelita Grijalva, a school board member in the Tucson Unified School District, which faces a deficit and the potential loss of $50 million if Prop. 204 is not approved. “I don’t know how Tucson can sustain the closure of more than 30 schools.”
It can’t, which is why it won’t happen, no matter the fate of Prop 204.  This is simply a ridiculous and unsubstantiated claim aimed at scaring voters into passing a permanent extension of the sales tax increase.  Also, why is it that Tucson currently has 418 public schools while Phoenix has 503, despite the fact that Tucson has almost 1 million less residents than Phoenix?

1.  Quotes in the original:  First, there isn’t sufficient online “broadband” capacity to deal with thousands of children taking tests at the same time.
“Broadband”.  “Broadband.”  “Broadband”.  The tubes are clogged!  

 


Sources

1.  http://www.qualityeducationandjobs.com/article/new-standards-for-arizonas-schools-required-without-new-dollars#.UIbaRW_R6mA

2.  http://www.qualityeducationandjobs.com/article/arizona-schools-face-devastating-cuts-closures-if-prop–204-fails#.UIbW7m_R6mA

3.  http://www.qualityeducationandjobs.com/article/stop-using-children-as-political-footballs#.UIbaY2_R6mA

4.  http://www.qualityeducationandjobs.com/article/experts-agree-childhood-healthcare-and-classroom-success-linked#.UIbZ-G_R6mA

5.  http://www.qualityeducationandjobs.com/article/prop-204-supporters-claim-dire-consequences-for-schools-if-measure-fails#.UIhk2m_R6mA

6.  http://www.qualityeducationandjobs.com/article/azs-three-ceo-organizations-all-support-yes-on-204#.UIbY5G_R6mA

7.  http://www.qualityeducationandjobs.com/article/stop-using-children-as-political-footballs#.UIbaY2_R6mA
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/04000.html

3 comments
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WileyGraham
WileyGraham

Hey, I think you copy and pasted your answers for #3 and #6. 

 

Educating funding has gone down since 2008, who cares about 2001? That's just manipulating stats. 

 

Loved how you refuted the "broadband" claim by mocking the term and offering no significant counter-argument. 

 

" Almost any positive development in a child’s life could be linked to classroom success." That's cool, oh wait you are writing a post against funding education? That's odd. 

 

"Prop 204 is an initiative, which means it was initiated by somebody. " Yup, parents, teachers and concerned citizens. "Special interests" I believe you all like to call them. 

 

I guess a "bizarre" claim deserves an even more bizare response. 

 

NinjaTune
NinjaTune

 @WileyGraham Hey speaking of cherry-picking facts, I like how you take the highest number and then count backwards and say funding has come down since 2008.  Guess what else has come down since 2008?  Property and home values.  My 401(k).  So, you are picking the moment in time when Arizona was at its optimal peak financially, when tax collections were at an all-time high, and then comparing numbers on the back end of a recession?  Deal with it.  The legislature actually increased education funding last year, did it not?