Arizona, Indiana, and a National Trend of Defunding Schools

Andy Spears
2 min readApr 13, 2021

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is part of a national trend of efforts to defund public schools by way of cutting off funding sources.

CBS 5 in Phoenix has more:

Voters passed a tax hike in November to boost funding for K-12 schools. But Gov. Doug Ducey is still trying to sink Proposition 208 because the bulk of the money raised will be paid for by Arizona’s wealthiest.

The governor, who opposed the ballot measure during the campaign, recently outlined his two-pronged strategy to a group of local business leaders. The first approach includes a legal challenge in front of the Arizona Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear the case next month.

While Ducey claims he has no problem investing in public schools (despite a public record that suggests otherwise) he seems to have a big problem with paying for that investment by taxing the wealthiest Arizonans. So far, Ducey has not proposed an alternative means of funding the schools.

And in Indiana . . .

Ball State economist Michael Hicks tells the story of how Indiana’s policy choices — including an expansive voucher program costing millions of dollars — have hurt the state’s chances at economic recovery.

Underfunding of public services that are critical to the economy has never been a conservative principle. Following a decade of budget cuts and experimentation with schools, we have enough data to draw some pretty clear conclusions. These tax cuts and educational reforms have not yielded us their promise of better educational attainment or economic growth. It is time to get back on track or prepare to face another lost decade.

The price Indiana is paying for policy decisions that continue to undermine public schools should serve as a cautionary tale for states like Tennessee and Kentucky, which are rapidly heading down the privatization rabbit hole.

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .