Kyrsten Sinema on Education



Fight "back door" voucher programs

Ongoing cuts to public education and unfunded mandates have had predictable results--students and teachers underachieving, schools becoming overcrowded and a struggling local economy. Sinema believes there's another way, built on:
Source: 2012 House campaign website, kyrstensinema.com , Nov 6, 2012

Encourage women to study science, math, and engineering

Ward Connerly is a California businessman who once served on the board of regents for that state's university system. While on the board, Connerly began speaking out against college and university programs that provided specific assistance to female students and student of color.

In 2007, Connerly was announcing his intention to launch a ballot initiative in Arizona to prohibit our colleges and universities from offering programs for women and students of color to ensure their success. Now I don't like it when a rich guy from CA swoops into my state and says he's going to change our laws. He can change his own state's laws all he wants, but only Arizonans should change Arizona's laws. And frankly, I think our laws concerning college programs are just fine. We like to encourage women to study science, math, and engineering, and we like providing programs to help Native American students stay in college and graduate.

Source: Unite and Conquer, by Kyrsten Sinema, p. 46-47 , Jul 1, 2009

No-strings-attached block grant will kill transparency.

Sinema voted NAY A-PLUS Amendment To Student Success Act

Heritage Action Summary: An amendment offered by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to the Student Success Act (H.R. 5). The amendment, known as A-PLUS (Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success), would give the states the ability to consolidate their federal education funds and use them for any lawful education purpose they deem beneficial.

Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote YES: (7/8/2015): A-PLUS lets states escape No Child Left Behind's prescriptive programmatic requirements. At its core, A-PLUS delivers on the promise of "restoring state and local control over the 10% of education funding financed by the federal government," moving dollars out of the hands of federal bureaucrats and political appointees and into the hands of those closer to the students. Now is the time for Congress to restore federalism in education, empower parents and students instead of bureaucrats and unions, and remove archaic obstacles that have prevented true opportunity for all.

US News and World Report recommendation to vote NO: (4/7/2015): A-PLUS [is intended as] a no-strings-attached block grant. There isn't all that much the federal government can do well in education, but it's because of federally-required transparency that charter schools and voucher schools can demonstrate that they work. For example, New York City's Success Academy scores in the top 1% of all the state's public schools in math and in the top 3% in English. When Success Academy came under fire from teachers' union-backed Mayor Bill de Blasio, it was able to fight back with numbers to prove it. If a strong-union state were to receive a no-strings-attached block grant, transparency would be the first thing to go. A no-strings-attached block grant is an overreaction to federal overreach.

Legislative outcome: Failed House 195 to 235 (no Senate vote)

Source: Supreme Court case 15-H0005 argued on Jul 8, 2015

Oppose private and religious school voucher programs.

Sinema voted NAY SOAR Act

Heritage Action Summary: The House will vote to reauthorize the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (H.R. 10). The bill would continue funding through Fiscal Year 2021 and allow eligible students in Washington, D.C. to enroll in a participating private school.Analysis by Heritage Action:

ACLU recommendation to vote NO: (Letter to U.S.House, 3/29/2011): The ACLU urges Congress to oppose the SOAR Act, legislation to restart and expand Washington DC's failed private and religious school voucher pilot program. Originally started as a five-year pilot program in 2004, the DC voucher program is the nation's first and only federally-funded private and religious school voucher program. Under the federal voucher pilot program, funds were provided to schools even though they infuse their curricular materials with specific religious content and even though they are not covered by many of the nation's civil rights statutes that would otherwise protect students against discrimination. Additionally, each of the congressionally-mandated studies to explore the pilot program concluded that the voucher program had no significant effect on the academic achievement.

Cato Institute recommendation to vote YES: (4/28/2016): The Obama administration has repeatedly worked to undermine or eliminate the DC school choice program, even though it has the support of local Democratic politicians such as the DC Mayor and a majority of the DC City Council. Low-income students shouldn't be condemned to low-quality schools just because their parents cannot afford a home in a wealthy neighborhood. The DC program was an important step toward breaking the link between home prices and school quality.

Legislative outcome: Passed by the House 240-191-3; never came to a vote in the Senate.

Source: Supreme Court case 15-H0010 argued on Oct 21, 2015

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Page last updated: Nov 21, 2017