In Arizona, the #RedForEd teachers strike has drawn to a close along with the school year itself. Ultimately, public school teachers got their raises, politicians got to posture, and parents and students got a bitter taste of what it’s like to be held hostage in a battle between government employees and their paymasters. For Arizona residents, it should serve as an important lesson about the dangers of leaving themselves at the mercy of government institutions, argues J.D. Tuccille.
“Even before the walkouts…Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) had pledged to give teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020,”The Washington Postnotedas the strike began. And after a week without classes—during which parents scrambled for something to do with their kids while they were at work—that’s exactly what the state legislature approved and thegovernor signed: the proposal lawmakers had already been debating.
Luckily, looking for alternatives to dysfunctional government schools isn’t an empty threat in Arizona, which has ahealthy range of education options. Families can choose from charter schools, virtual schools, homeschooling, tax credits for donations to private school scholarship funds, and Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (vouchers) for private school tuition, notes Tuccille. Roughly17 percentof the state’s public school students attend privately managed charters, which offer a range of education philosophies for different needs and tastes.