Arizona’s road to economic recovery continues to be filled with challenges, especially as it relates to education. As further education cuts loom on the horizon, I’d like to spotlight something really positive that arrived in our state with the New Year.
Stand for Children began in June of 1996 when 300,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. to rally for America’s children. A little more than 13 years later, the Arizona Community Foundation and Helios Education Foundation helped make it possible to bring to Arizona the organization that was born out of that movement. We helped bring them here because we felt they brought some unique skills that could affect long-term change in education, and ultimately, better outcomes for Arizona’s children.
Stand for Children is a non-partisan, grassroots nonprofit organization that builds effective local and statewide networks of parents, educators, and concerned community members who use the power of grassroots action to help all children get the excellent public education and support they need to thrive. Following specific priorities affirmed by state members, the group focuses on securing adequate funding for public schools and reforming education policies and practices to help children thrive academically, giving them the opportunities they need to become successful, productive citizens.
Currently, Stand has affiliates in Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Colorado, all of which advocate for education reforms in a respectful, non-partisan way. In Arizona, Stand for Children has already established chapters in three school districts: Kyrene Elementary District, Phoenix Union High School District and Alhambra School District. The organization plans to form more chapters later this year.
Stand for Children is building a grassroots movement of citizens dedicated to investing in and reforming statewide children’s programs. On their Web site, they list their focus in Arizona as:
- Set the bar higher and keep better track of student and school performance.
- Support great teachers and principals to do their best work for students.
- Achieve a stable, fair level of funding so that all Arizona schools — district and charter — have the level of support necessary to help all kids succeed.
Like me, you believe that we must act now to make education the best it can be in Arizona. That’s why you joined the Expect More Arizona movement to make education a top priority in our state (if you are just learning about us, please sign up now). To learn more about Stand for Children and how to get involved, go to www.stand.org/az.
Your commitment to organizations like Stand for Children and Expect More Arizona speaks volumes. It’s true, times are tough, but a stronger education system will create a stronger Arizona. We all want our state to thrive, but we can only stand up for Arizona if we stand for children.
Jim Pitofsky is Education Director of the Arizona Community Foundation and a member of the Expect More Arizona executive committee.
The Arizona Community Foundation and Helios Education Foundation are two of ten funders of Expect More Arizona.