If the Arizona Legislature understood the economic and social impact of high quality K-12 education, they would certainly have returned education funding to at least 2008 pre-recession levels by now. Strong educational systems teach critical thinking, allow us to retain and attract businesses, and build safe and strong neighborhoods.
Excellence in education is built with outstanding teachers and strategic investment of resources that develop well-educated adults. It builds passion for learning, cultivates student’s personal responsibility, and prepares our children for the social, economic and technological challenges of the future.
We are naive to think we can achieve excellence in education without strengthening our investments. Core to my educational investment strategy is allocation of savings from reforming ineffective and wasteful tax giveaways and directing those towards K-12, community colleges and universities. Furthermore, long-term returns in early childhood, quality pre-school and kindergarten investments yield significant social and economic benefits to taxpayers.
Educational competition and innovation must be matched by transparency and accountability. All our schools – whether public or charter – should be held to the same set of standards and be provided equal opportunities for innovation and modernization. If schools do not provide similar services to students, they should not receive the same level of taxpayer funds. The Legislature should stop trying to pick the winners and losers in our educational system.