Arizona Gov. Jane Hull made many good points in her State of the State address Monday. In particular, we like her focus on education issues.
The governor has proposed new funding of $116.8 million over the next two years to help make our public schools better. The money would be used to increase school district maintenance and operations budgets and for special education programs. It also includes $20 million to improve reading programs in the lower elementary grades by allowing for smaller reading classes and extra instruction for those students who need help.
The governor has also proposed $2 million be spent to establish the Center for K-12 Improvement at Northern Arizona University, a program that would focus on teacher training.
At a time when golf courses are flourishing and the size of new homes is increasing -- and when Arizona ranks third from the bottom among the states in per-capita funding of public education students -- it seems that our state should be able to afford to invest more in the future. And, as we all know, children are our future.
As long as we continue to shortchange the education of our children, Arizona's prosperity is being constructed on a framework of toothpicks.
Along with raising the funding of our educational system, we need to continue raising our expectations of what our schools should be achieving with our children. Gov. Hull stated that she opposes any watering-down of the recently adopted achievement test for high school graduation. We applaud her for this stance.
Take a moment to call our state legislators and be a voice in support of our governor's education initiatives. The phone number for the State Legislature is 1-800-352-8404.