I am starting to post my essays that I wrote for my teacher of the year application. The next essay I am sharing is my message to Arizonians. With voting happening tomorrow, I think this essay is more important than ever.
The past year in the history of Arizona education has been exciting to say the least. Educators have shown their passion, commitment, and drive to meet the needs of not just themselves but everyone around them. If selected as the 2019 Arizona Teacher of the Year my message to Arizonans is to never give up. Never give up striving for the very best that can be given to the students of Arizona’s schools.
As we continue forward, it is critical for all sides to find a common voice. For educators, it is important to appreciate the magnitude of what we accomplished. For parents, it is important to appreciate why what happened occurred, and to know they can partner with schools to prevent it from happening it again. For those who are angry about what happened, ask questions, and find out what can be done change the conversation from funding to supporting the needs of all students. For the state’s political figures, as a state we need to move past thinking about what has worked in the past and think about what needs to work for our future.
Moving forward and looking forward is what is will guide the process of repairing the damaged relationships that have been created in the past 10-15 years in the Arizona education landscape. The past year has shown that we are ready to start the conversations needed to move forward and think about what will happen in the next 10-15 years.
As a state we need to find ways to not just fund education but to support all education stakeholders. This includes providing choices like charter schools, public schools, and private schools that meet the needs of students and families alike. This includes providing choices within public school districts that give students and their families reasons to stay within the public school district. In supporting students and families in making the choice of how, what, and where they learn is not the death of the American Education system, it is the next step in the evolution of what is American Education. And importantly, it provides students with choices for their own future.
In order for Arizona to thrive, we need to move beyond tourism and construction as our main economic drivers. We need to find ways to fund education with a healthy balance of businesses and individuals, each paying a fair share of the bill. This may mean an increase in taxes, but this may also mean finding ways to cut spending in other areas. We also need to consider partnerships between school districts and businesses that provide not just funding, but resources that will support increased efficiencies.
There is no one answer that will provide an immediate solution.
No one stakeholder is going to leave fully happy with any one solution. The goal for Arizonians at this stage is to move forward and never give up on an Arizona education. And more importantly never give up on the children of Arizona.