Most people would not be able to guess who said this: “School choice is the civil rights statement of the year, the decade, and probably beyond. Because all children have to have access to quality education. A child’s zip code in America should never determine their future.” President Donald J. Trump made that statement in his speech at Mount Rushmore. On Tuesday, during an interview on “Arizona Horizon,” the Democratic candidate for governor of Arizona, Katie Hobbs, took the opposite approach.
The interview on the local PBS station is Hobbs’s substitution for a debate. She told the host she wanted to have a “substantive conversation” about the issues facing Arizona voters. Obviously, she wants to have that discussion without getting challenged directly on her perspective or policy solutions by Kari Lake, her Republican challenger.
Hobbs’s inability to craft a meaningful response or detailed plan was evident during the discussion on education. When the interviewer asked Hobbs about her plan to address a teacher shortage, the candidate leaned on an old Democrat excuse: “We have a crisis in education in Arizona because our leaders have failed to invest in our children.”
The teachers’ unions must love this one. She will shovel more money into failing school districts to spend on new administrators who will push a woke agenda. While she proposed raises for teachers, salaries are not the only hurdle. Classrooms have become a cultural battleground, with teachers caught in the middle between frustrated parents and administrators pushing radical content. Hobbs dismissed this fundamental rift in public education as arguments over “book banning.”
Hobbs did not mention the impact of the pandemic closures on educators or students. Nor did she acknowledge the millions upon millions of COVID relief dollars given to school districts nationwide. The problem in the education system is not simply a lack of funds. It is a lack of political will to hand the power to determine educational direction back to the parents.
The host brought up school choice. Recently, Arizona signed a sweeping school choice law. It gives parents significant power over their children’s education by allowing them to direct the education funds allocated to their children to the programs of their choice. Incumbent Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed the legislation. The host asked Hobbs if she would have signed that bill, and she said no.
Hobbs also shared that she never voted for a voucher program during her time in the state legislature. Then she used Randi Weingarten’s favorite line about vouchers and education savings accounts diverting funds from the public school monopoly. Congratulations to Hobbs for figuring it out. The public schools need fewer dollars if fewer students are using them, and the only way to improve the current system is to provide competition.
Then the conversation went downhill. The host asked, “The current governor says that kids are trapped in failing schools. He says, ‘it’s time to free these families.’ Does he have a point?” Hobbs responded, “There are always going to be kids who are stuck in these schools.” Well done, Katie. You just made President Trump’s point.
Reporter: “The current governor says that kids are trapped in failing schools. He says ‘it’s time to free these families.’ Does he have a point?”
Arizona Democrat Katie Hobbs: “There are always going to be kids who are stuck in these schools.” pic.twitter.com/Ux40OH91wL
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 19, 2022
Children are “stuck” in failing schools based on nothing but their street addresses. That would be like the government telling a parent on Medicaid which pediatrician they must take their child to based on who is the closest. Or which grocery store they need to spend their WIC checks in. Maybe even what college their child must attend using government-funded student loans.
Americans would not tolerate that amount of oversight in almost any other circumstance. Yet they take it for granted with the single most important service the community can provide a child. Elementary and secondary education is the only government-provided benefit where the government directs how and where the money gets spent. Yet, that same service is the foundation for future success and opportunity for every child.
The interviewer pressed Hobbs on her decision not to debate Lake, and Hobbs responded, “I think that my opponent’s activities over the last week, since this interview was announced, really underscore my case that she’s only interested in the spotlight.”
Someone may want to clue Hobbs into the fact that you don’t get elected if you don’t make news. Lake has spent the last week denying the legacy media’s premises and effectively making her case to the voters in viral videos. Lake may want to help this video of Hobbs go viral to make the choice for parents abundantly clear.