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Proposition 203 Usurps Parenting
East Valley Tribune
October 31, 2006
Proposition 203 is an attack against motherhood and families. Although it’s promoted as a way to provide educational opportunities and medical services for disadvantaged children, this ballot proposition is not limited to low-income, disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Prop. 203 divides Arizona into preschool districts for statewide delivery of services to all infants and toddlers. Forty percent of the funding goes to low-income families but another 35 percent has no restrictions whatsoever on family income. Prop. 203 creates the infrastructure for establishing universal government pre-school in Arizona.
Universal pre-school, of course, is a pet goal of Gov. Janet Napolitano. As co-chair of a joint task force on education, she issued a report in August 2005, in which she calls for "fundamental changes to our education system, starting earlier with home visits and pre-school." The report recommends universal pre-school on a nationwide basis at a cost to taxpayers of $68.6 billion.
The people behind universal pre-school and Prop. 203 consider mothers and fathers to be too stupid to care for their own children without the help of government bureaucrats. This initiative opens the door wide for massive government meddling in the life of every family with children. Are you opposed to vaccinating your children? Do you reject the idea of drugging active little boys to keep them quiet? Prop. 203 calls for medical screening of infants and toddlers, which encompasses the full range of medical services, from vaccinations to school physicals to mental health screening — or any other testing the nanny government decides to impose. Once the government begins to meddle, it knows no bounds.
Although it is against the law in Arizona to force a parent to administer psychotropic medications to a child, that doesn’t stop the do-gooders. Families are still — more than two years after the law was passed — being reported for "medical neglect" when they choose not to drug their active children. Once a report is generated by a school, a physician, or a self-righteous bureaucrat, and the state gets its steel grip on your child, it takes nearly an act of God to get the state out of your home.
Prop. 203 also traps the older brothers and sisters of eligible preschool children. If your pre-schooler "qualifies" for government subsidies, then so do your older children. It’s the "two-for-the-price-of-one" mentality. Tag one child, and you get them all. Thus, in reality, children of any age will be subject to the whims of government bureaucrats. Should this initiative pass, the opportunity for government meddling in family life is immense.
If you think you are incompetent to care for and make decisions on behalf of your 3- and 4-year-old, then, by all means, support this proposition. But if you think you can care for your child without government interference, vote "no" on Prop. 203.

Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, is chair of the Senate Family Services Committee and can be reached at kjohnson@azleg.gov.

Paid for by Committee to Elect Karen Johnson