Here I am again, complaining about government and schools instead of posting about technology, but this is important. If you live in Arizona and are a student, will be a student, or plan to have kids, you should be passionately opposed to the proposals of upcoming budget cuts.
Arizona education is already lacking. Here are some information not from random sources on the Internet analyzing the scores of standardized tests, but from the state’s new governor Jan Brewer.
“The need [for education improvement] is real. Arizona education statistics include: 1) below-average college going rates; 2) high remediation rates at the postsecondary level; and 3) feedback from business and industry that Arizona’s students enter the workforce lacking adequate preparedness for success.
Understanding that a strong education system leads to the development of a more talented workforce and vibrant economy, the Council brings together the education sectors, business and community leaders, and elected officials to develop and implement recommendations to provide systemic improvements at all points in the educational spectrum. ”
Here are some numbers to back this up.
“Education Week’s annual report, Quality Counts 2008, looks at education issues in all of the states. A portion of Quality Counts 2008 includes an examination of K-12 education spending in each state. Some important highlights from this report include:
- Arizona ranks 49th out of the 50 states in the amount spent per student
- Arizona expended $6232 per student which is $2741 below the national average expenditure of $8973 per student
- Arizona would have to increase per pupil spending by 44% to move to an amount equal to the national average expenditure per student
- The cost to move Arizona to the national average is estimated to exceed $2.7 billion ”
Just with these facts alone parents, teachers, and the general public should be up in arms protesting and writing letters to their state government, which is failing the students of Arizona. The straw that has broke the camel’s back is the Arizona Legislature having proposed $631 million in budget cuts to the university system over the next two years. To make up for these cuts, ASU would have to double tuition for in state students to almost $11,000 a year. According to the College Board, “The average surcharge for full-time out-of-state students at public four-year institutions is $10,867 ”. This would therefore remove all incentive for Arizona students to stay in state during their university years, removing a large portion of skilled future workers, and further financially crippling both state universities and the state itself. Using an old cliche that sums it up well, the state would be shooting itself in the foot. Skilled and flexible workers and entrepreneurs are of utmost important for national competitiveness, and making education nearly either unaffordable or of below par quality will significantly reduce the number of such people who state. This proposed solution for a short term budget problem would have serious long term consequences for the state’s economy and reputation.
According to the Arizona Constitution, the state can not remain in a deficit, but the Constitution also says in Article 11, Section 10, “… the legislature shall make such appropriations, to be met by taxation, as shall insure the proper maintenance of all state educational institutions, and shall make such special appropriations as shall provide for their
development and improvement.” Such draconian budget cuts as the ones being proposed will take away Arizona student’s rights to affordable education.
So, what can you do about it? There’s going to be a large protest at the State Capital January 28, 2009. The student bodies of all the major universities are planning to have buses transport people from the campuses to the protest. More information can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=47802187371&ref=ts
You could also email the state representatives with your concerns, opinions, and opposition.
Rusell Pearce: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Kavanagh: email@example.com
Entire lists can be found here, http://www.speakupnowaz.org/legislature/