What it do, Secular Fam!? I hope this Substack finds you doing better than hanging on by an existential thread (since, generally speaking, that’s my norm these days). As most of you probably already know, there was a meeting in Paradise Valley (PVUSD) last week, where the board discussed four potential school closures, and I’m just now getting around to watching that meeting.
So you know what that means! Buckle up, Buttercup, because we’re going to discuss the Late Stage Capitalism Era of Public Education!
For those of you following along, vouchers (AKA Education Savings Accounts or ESAs) are absolute garbage, and despite the voters resoundingly saying
fuck no to a universal voucher expansion back in 2018, the 2022 legislative session produced an unbridled universal voucher expansion bill, and then-Governor Doug Ducey signed it into law.
For those of you NOT following along, first, what are you even doing with your life, and second, this is really bad.
Like, “bankrupt the state of Arizona” bad. Not only is it a truly glaring example of how the party that used to claim that they were fiscally responsible totally is NOT, it’s also a HUGE blow to the First Amendment and the separation of religion and government.
Vouchers used to be reserved for limited groups (kids with special needs, children of public servants, kids in failing schools, etc.). Now, ANYONE can access these vouchers, and as advocacy groups like Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ) point out in their recent comprehensive report, most of the people who are using them were never sending their kids to public schools in the first place.
So what this means is…
Jeanne Casteen, Secular AZ Executive Director
JEANNE CASTEEN has a bachelor’s degree in human communication and history from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at ASU and a master’s in education, also from ASU. Jeanne has over 11 years of experience teaching in Maricopa County’s public schools. In 2011, Jeanne completed the Emerge Arizona program and in 2012 became a school board member of the Creighton School District. She served as Board President from 2016 through 2020. In 2020, Ms. Casteen ran for Maricopa County School Superintendent, and came within 12,000 votes of winning. She has been awarded the Arizona School Public Relations Association Award for Excellence in Advocacy and Political Contributions to Education as well as the Arizona School Board Association’s All-Arizona School Board Member Award.