Just as Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned, our Arizona Legislature is continuing to turn a neglectful eye toward educational funding in our state.
The recent disclosure from the U.S. Census Bureau, a non-partisan organization, that we rank 49th in money spent on public school education, is a disgrace to not only our Arizona, but to our teachers, students and parents as well.
We demand excellence in our classrooms, but we're unwilling to provide even average resources to accomplish that goal. I don't care if my elected legislators are male or female, Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals, or what their religious preferences are, but I care immensely that they make decisions for the common good of all Arizona citizens.
It's obvious that two things need to change in order to make our schools competitive with the funding levels of most other states. First, the Republican Legislature needs to be changed so we finally have a Democratic majority that will work with, not against, our Democratic governor. For too long, the Republicans have made excuses (Senate President Ken Bennett, Republican from Prescott, "doubts" the figures from the U.S. Census Bureau) about why we shouldn't invest in our schools and students. We need a regime change and a change in thinking.
Secondly, our per pupil spending needs to be increased in increments to at least the national average of $8,287 per pupil.
Nero's fiddling cost Rome an empire, and our Arizona Legislature's lack of financial support for education has and is costing us under-performing schools and students.
Richard K. Meszar, Ed.D., Payson