It is important that Arizonans understand what is really going on with the English language learner (ELL) issue, and what is at stake.
There are those who would love for the Legislature to simply give the governor whatever she wants. That would be wrong.
The Legislature has sent three bills to the governor, two in the past week, in an effort to address the ELL issue in a manner that represents an efficient use of taxpayer dollars and is effective for the students in the program. Governor Napolitano vetoed all three measures, refusing to allow them to be evaluated by the federal judge in the ELL case, exposing the state to $500,000 per day fines.
Perhaps the governor's greatest fear is not Arizona accumulating tens of millions of dollars in fines, but instead that the judge will find the Republican plan to be completely acceptable to the court.
After passing a strong ELL bill in January (ahead of the court's deadline) that included scholarship tax credits for ELL students, the governor complained that the credit was too open-ended. Despite not agreeing with her assessment, in the spirit of compromise and to avoid federal court contempt fines, that same night legislative Republicans sent an ELL bill back to the governor, capping the scholarship amount. Governor Napolitano simply came up with new excuses for a new veto.
Meanwhile the governor continues to propose more of the same old liberal approach of pouring money arbitrarily and blindly into the issue to satisfy education and union lobbyists and other special interests. Governor Napolitano wants the state to arbitrarily pay nearly $200 million each year for ELL. That's about $1,300 more for each ELL student than we are spending on our English-speaking students.
This is just not leadership! If the reason to just give in to the governor is because she'll keep trying to be judge, attorney general, legislature and governor all at the same time, we would be selling Arizona out. If the reason for giving in is because the governor will keep being an obstructionist while fines pile up, we are abandoning what's right for Arizona taxpayers and all of our school children.
Foregoing good policy for bad, would be like the hen deciding not to lay eggs because the fox is likely to steal them. The fact that an obstructionist governor wants to stand in the way of the right thing regardless of the cost to taxpayers should not be the basis for denigrating the effort to advance sound policy.
It is time this governor subjugates her ego and her left-wing cronies in favor of what's best for Arizona.
Sen. Jake Flake (R-District 5) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.