The Arizona Desert Lamp

The People’s Fronts of Arizona

Posted in Education Policy, Politics by Evan Lisull on 27 June 2009

Judean People's FrontThe latest story of education protests against DETH credits the Arizona Education Association with leading the demonstration. Yet the AEA is just the oldest of many organizations that have been formed to lobby on education’s behalf. We’ve already discussed the Arizona Economic Council.  They stand alongside the university-backed Expect More Arizona, as well as the new-media-loving Stand Up for Arizona, the front group of former Arizona Democratic Party chairman Jim Pederson. Then, of course, there’s the Arizona Students Association, the lobbyists on the university’s payroll, and so on. Surely these groups approach education from varied approaches; but at the same time, it doesn’t exactly make for an effective lobbying push. It also doesn’t help that none of the groups seem to recognize the existence of the others, whether on their list of links or their press releases.

But all this underscores the bigger point; namely, that the “education lobby” as a unified force is a fleeting phenomenon. Budget maximalization works as a unifying force, just as the Romans provided a popular common enemy for the People’s Front of Judea and the Judean People’s Front. (“But I thought we were the Populist Front!”) Even now it’s not apparent why, say, Arizona’s community colleges aren’t lobbying for funding at the expense of other university budgets. In fact, this has already happened in the state of Pennsylvania:

Gov. Ed Rendell removed four state-related universities from Pennsylvania’s application for federal stimulus money to help public higher education, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

The preliminary federal-aid application had earmarked nearly $40-million for Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Lincoln University. But a revised application, made public Friday, would cost Penn State $20-million, Temple $11-million, Pitt $10-million, and Lincoln $870,000. The money would instead go to other state universities and community colleges.

Naturally, the universities mentioned oppose this cut. But can they honestly say that they are doing so in the name of ‘education’? In times of decreased funding, such divergences will soon be more, rather than less, apparent.

Also, bonus quote of the day:

Fourth-grade teacher Liza Green held a sign that said: “Sen. Harper: I’m a trough feeder and I vote!”

Ever thus to democracies, Lebowski.

Obligatory Monty Python video can be accessed here.


One Response

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  1. The good doctor said, on 2 July 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Do you think a name like Biggus Dickus is in any way humurous???

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