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A triumph for foster children and disabled kids

Today’s Arizona Republic editorial sums this issue up well:

Empathy for the downtrodden and needy.

Historically, this is the prevailing sentiment of Democrats, who seek to smooth the rougher edges of the lives of citizens.

The prevailing sentiment except where public-school interests are concerned, that is.

State lawmakers have created a new tuition tax-credit organization that will pay the bills of about 473 special-needs students at the private schools of their choice. The program is a constitutionally acceptable alternative to a tuition voucher program recently struck down by the state Supreme Court.

The successful vote on the tax-credit program followed mostly party lines, with minority Democrats arguing it will sap tax dollars from a severely strapped general fund at the worst possible time.

Their arguments make no sense. Funding for each student will be capped at 90 percent of the per-pupil funding paid to public schools.

No, the public schools will not get the money. But neither will they be burdened with the responsibility of educating these few hundred foster children and disabled students – a responsibility, we should add, that the parents of these children believe the traditional public schools have failed to meet.

On this issue, anti-school-choice activists long have advocated in lockstep for the institution over the bests interests of the children.

Whether they realize it yet or not, traditional public schools may still win out.

Public schools remain perfectly free to attract these special-needs kids back. All they need to do is try.

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