In case you are lucky enough to live in Tucson, Arizona, you should know that there is a terrific organization there called Voices for Education. Its leader is Robin Hiller, a parent dedicated to the needs of Tucson’s children and its underfunded public schools.

Voices for Education joins our honor roll as a hero of public education.

It is a parent advocacy group that supports public schools, reduced class size, and a sound education for all.

On its website, Voices for Education points out that state law limits class size for barbers to twenty students per teacher, but in kindergarten there is no  limit. Current kindergartens in Arizona are typically 32-35 students. Why do barbers get more consideration from the Legislature than five-year-old children?

Earlier this year, Voices sent out a legislative alert urging its supporters to contact Governor Jan Brewer and urge her to veto HB 2626, the Arizona
Empowerment Scholarship Account.

“This bill allows parents to cash out of the public school system by removing
their child from public school and placing them in a private school or home
schooling them. This bill has passed the House and Senate and is on the
governor’s desk.  HB2626 could bankrupt our state, it’s the ALT FUELS fiasco
on steroids. 
“Parents who take their kids out of a public or charter school can receive
90% of the cost of educating that child.  If they homeschool, they can use
the money for extra-curricular activities or for college.”

The governor vetoed the proposal as part of budget negotiations but then turned around and signed it into law in May. This will allow parents whose children are in a school rated D or F to homeschool their children or to use the state money for private school or for their own expenses as home-schoolers. Any tuition money not used by the end of high school may be applied to college tuition. The “educational saving account” is a voucher with a new name. Other states call them “opportunity scholarships.” The educational savings account is a clever way for states to circumvent a constitutional prohibition on vouchers.

For its steadfast support for the children and public schools of Arizona, for its willingness to speak out repeatedly on issues of importance to children and families, for its defense of the common good, Voices for Education joins the honor roll of heroes of public education.