Monday, August 15, 2016

Arizona No more time to lose

Phoenix, Arizona-No time to Lose is the top line of a new bipartisan report that the National Conference of State Legislatures just released outlining immediate steps that Legislatures across the country could take to help improve education.

The full report, No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State,
offers an overview of what NCSL’s Study Group on International Comparisons in Education—a bipartisan group of legislators, staff and private sector partners—found while studying for a year and a half what factors contributed to the success of high-performing countries.

There were some commonalities found in almost every world-class education system, including:

·         Strong early education systems
·         Reimagined and professionalized teacher workforces
·         Robust career and technical education programs
·         Comprehensive, aligned systems of education.

These priorities are the priorities that Democrats have been fighting for at the Capitol for years. Public schools should have the resources they need to prepare students for the 21st century economy; teacher pay should reflect the valuable role they play in our society; and career and technical education programs should be supported because they offer a foundation on which to build a sustainable economy.  

The governor just announced a back-to-school tour that will take him into schools that are demonstrating excellence in things like early literacy and career and technical education. It seems he knows the importance of these programs – so why aren’t he and other Republicans pushing for more resources for struggling schools? A recent Arizona Republicstory shows another side  - students in school districts dealing with growing classroom sizes, teacher retention issues and discouraging test scores.  

The governor and his acolytes can’t just cherry pick the schools they want to show off so they can pretend there isn’t an education crisis in Arizona.  We know what has to be done to help our schools, to prepare Arizona kids for the future.  And Democrats are ready and willing as ever to get this work done. As the NCSL report stated, “our future workforce, national defense, economic vitality and democratic foundation depend on our ability and willingness to get this done.” We will keep working until the governor and the Republicans here start listening to the priorities of the people.