(Jacobin) -- Arizona is the epicenter of a nationwide struggle over school privatization. Over the past two decades, the arch-conservative billionaire Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have spent millions financing efforts to decimate Arizona’s public education system for the benefit of big business. As ALEC explained in a recent tribute to Arizona’s pioneering privatizing efforts,
With this expansion [of school vouchers in April 2017], Arizona is not only solidifying its place at the top of the ALEC Report Card on American Education ranking, but showing the rest of the country that educational choice doesn’t have to be limited to being a lifeline for a few students, trapped in the worst the public education system has to offer. Instead, Arizona has offered Americans a vision of a totally new world.
The privatizers, however, may have met their match in Arizona’s Red for Ed movement. By fighting for fully funded, quality public schools, striking teachers and staff have put forward a very different vision of education in Arizona and the US. “For years, Arizona has been ground zero for the school privatization movement,” notes education analyst Diane Ravitch. “But Arizonan teachers have said ‘No mas!’ They are right.”
Advertisement - story continues below