Jindal Triumphs in Louisiana, Brewer vetoes in Arizona

April 4, 2012

 (Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal got both his tenure reform and his voucher/charter school expansion bills through the Louisiana Senate tonight. The bills will either go to the House for concurrence or to a conference committee, but they are getting close.

On a far more disappointing note, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill expanding Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Program.

Her veto message noted the fact that Arizona public schools get funded on last year’s student count, and raised concerns over first year double counting of students in the transfer year.

Time will tell whether Governor Brewer and the Arizona legislature are able to work things out. For now, Governor Jindal is to be congratulated for his strong leadership and courage in taking action to improve Louisiana’s public school system.

UPDATE: The Louisiana House concurred with the Senate 60-42- the choice bill is off to Governor Jindal’s Desk.


We’ll have what Florida is Having

April 29, 2010

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Today is the final day of session in Arizona, and I am thrilled to say that it looks like major pieces of the Florida reform cocktail will be passing. These include grading schools A-F based on student test scores and growth, alternative teacher certification, 3rd grade social promotion curtailment, expanding sources for charter school authorization, and increasing the size, transparency and accountability for our scholarship tax credit program. Arizona lawmakers also passed a provision specifying that school districts cannot use length of service as the sole criteria when laying off teachers during a reduction in force.

Governor Bush and Patricia Levesque spent their valuable time here in Arizona last October in a series of events, and Patricia came back a few months ago to do followup meetings with key players. Key philanthropic leaders stepped up to the plate with both their money and their personal time. Governor Brewer and her staff prioritized Florida reforms in her State of the State address, and the Chairmen of the Senate and House Education committees, Senator John Huppenthal and Rep. Rich Crandall, personally introduced the centerpiece bills. Many of the bills gathered strong bipartisan support.

We have many miles to go in Arizona. Our NAEP scores have been below the national average 36 out of the last 36 exams. We aim to change that, and we know it isn’t going to happen overnight, and that much hard work lies ahead. We’ve taken the first steps to turning our illiteracy crisis around, and I am enormously grateful to all of the many people who helped make this happen!

GI: Hold the Phone on Higher Taxes

June 26, 2009

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Arizona has one of the worst budget deficit problems in the country (live by the property bubble…) written about here and here. New governor Jan Brewer has called for a “temporary” sales tax increase to prevent the sort of belt-tightening of the Arizona budget already having been done by most Arizona families.

We at the Goldwater Institute strongly disagree, and put out the following humorous video today to explain why: