Proposition 203 Usurps Parenting
SEN. KAREN JOHNSON COMMENTARY
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
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 email@example.com.