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Legislature of 2 minds on poorest schools

Jun. 28, 2006 12:00 AM

The Arizona Legislature is of two minds when it comes to how school districts are educating students in Phoenix’s poorest districts. In a matter of a few days towards the end of the session, Republicans passed two bills: one that speaks to those school’s amazing success and another that speaks to their miserable failure.

The first bill expanded the amount of money that corporations can give in the form of private school vouchers.

School choice advocates say their concern is for the impoverished children languishing in failing public schools.

That’s a myth of course. Private school tuition tax credits are not designed to help poor students in west and south Phoenix. Data about existing tax-credit programs in Arizona show that most of the money goes to students already in private schools.

And Arizona expanded the definition of poor. Families of four can qualify with an income of around $66,000. That’s nearly four times the poverty level.

Days after providing that escape hatch, Republicans pushed through another measure. Voters will get to decide whether students here illegally can qualify for in-state college tuition.

Most undocumented students are concentrated in Phoenix’s poorest districts. But the same body that is convinced those schools are failing is also concerned that those schools are producing college applicants.

The Legislature’s report card gave Phoenix districts two grades: gifted and flunking.

Reach Ruelas at (602) 444-8473 or richard.ruelas@arizonarepublic.com.

via Legislature of 2 minds on poorest schools – CURLYGURL’s MySpace Blog | Cyndi–s Jewels.

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