Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
With so many wild and crazy things swirling around us all in 2020, I’m concerned that some really important issues will get neglected and ignored. Among the most crucial for the future of Arizona and America is the long-term future of public education.
My late husband Randy and I committed our professional careers and much of our retired lives to public education. We knew that the best way to achieve social and economic prosperity is by having access to quality education. The early rise and success of the American middle class was fueled by an educational system that was affordable and universally available. American industry thrived because it could rely on a workforce that was well prepared and educated.
We’ve seen a dramatic shift over the past several decades. Quality education has become increasingly expensive and less available to working families. In Arizona, legislative decisions have pushed our once highly regarded system to nearly the worst in the nation by virtually every metric. Arizona is falling behind — critical teacher shortages, unsafe and poorly equipped classrooms are among the symptoms.
Today we’re faced with a decision, do we as Arizona voters pass Proposition 208 and improve public education funding or leave the status quo and ignore the problems. Prop. 208 is not a silver bullet, it’s not the perfect solution, but because we’ve got a state Legislature that continues to fail its constitutional duty, it’s all we’ve got right now.
I urge you to vote yes on Prop. 208. Even more importantly, I urge you to elect new state legislators who are committed to making sure future Arizonans have the social and economic opportunities only a quality education can make possible. In LD8, vote for Barbara McGuire for state Senate and Sharon Girard for state House. In LD11, vote for JoAnna Mendoza for state Senate and Dr. Felipe Perez for state House.