A group headed by voucher pusher and civil rights foe Clint Bolick has created a telephone hotline to help Arizona parents get information on the state’s new pro-privatization laws. Right now callers to the hotline are simply asked to leave a message, but Arizona Republic columnist Richard Ruelas offers Bolick’s group some helpful suggestions to make the hotline a better source of honest information:
“Hello and thank you for calling the School Choice hotline. For English, please stay on the line. Para Español, press ‘2’ to be disconnected since no Arizona private schools offer programs for English learners.
“If you are poor, please press ‘3.’
“If you are not sure if you are ‘poor,’ know that Arizona’s new corporate tax-credit law defines ‘poor’ as being nearly 3.5 times the poverty level, or $68,450 for a family of four. Press ‘4’ for more instructions, or have your servants figure it out.
“If you wish to make a campaign donation to Representative Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, the man who pushed for this bill and will benefit from it since he heads up one of Arizona’s largest tuition tax-credit organizations, press ‘5.’
“If you wish to just laugh hysterically over the fact that Arizona passed a law that defines a $68,000 household as ‘poor,’ press ‘6.’ One of us school-choice types will be on the line to gladly laugh along with you.”
No doubt the ‘school choice types’ Ruelas refers to are having a good laugh. As People For the American Way Foundation research has shown, the so-called ‘tuition tax credits’ in Arizona, which overwhelmingly benefit wealthy parents and private, religious schools, are nothing more than vouchers in disguise. Though voucher pushers like Bolick claim to support public education, corporate tax credit schemes divert millions of dollars of public money to unaccountable private schools – millions of dollars that could be spent on public school reforms that work.