Arizona annoys me for many reasons. One is that everything is monochromatic. My parents’ homeowners association allows 14 house colors, but each is indistinguishable from the other (Sandy Beige! Beigey Sand!). Another is that it is so hard to find a gas station in the desert that my husband and I almost left my son an orphan on the way to Vegas. There is also a lunatic sheriff. Worst of all is that the state pretends to help poor children while really just making it easier for those who can afford private school to continue to do so. (A voucher by any other name smells just as sweet.)
I cannot believe that when I created my Ten Best list, I totally forgot the East Valley Tribune series on Arizona’s tuition tax credit. Ryan Gabrielson and Michelle Reese produced a thorough, powerful investigation that we can only hope has real, lasting impact. It should have been high up on my list—let’s call it #2a. If the tax credit scam doesn’t depress you enough, how about the fact that this newspaper is on life support?
I had already been a little obsessed with this topic, ever since I had a lovely lunch with Emily Gersema and Ray Parker of the Arizona Republic education team a year ago. They told me about the private school tax credit and a similar tax credit to support activities at public schools—which, by the way, smells bad too. Can’t wait to read more about that.