In 2007, Expect More Arizona didn’t even have a name. It was an idea held by a small group of passionate individuals who were concerned about our struggling education system and the lack of urgency to make it better.

Few people know that the name actually came from the license plate of one of our founding members, one of Arizona’s celebrated superintendents and the leader of Rodel Foundation of Arizona, Dr. Carol Peck. The group felt “Expect More Arizona” encapsulated the heart of what they wanted to achieve: higher expectations for education in Arizona.

Thus, it became the rally cry for expecting more of our students, teachers, parents, citizens… and Arizona’s leaders.

Less than four years since our creation, it’s hard not to feel that we still have a long road ahead of us and that we are on the cusp of severely damaging an already fragile system.

Last week, the Arizona Legislature passed a budget which cuts well over $400 million from education in Arizona, including $148 million from K-12 education. Today our Governor announced she signed it.

This means too many of our classrooms will get more crowded, quality programs will be cut, great teachers will be let go and university tuitions will rise. It also means that tax dollars dedicated to our schools with the passage of Proposition 100 will effectively be removed from supporting the academic success of our students to balance the budget.

Arizona has some incredible bright spots in education, but today is definitely not a shining moment for our state. Too many of our elected leaders are championing mediocrity and providing the level of resources to our K-12 and higher education institutions to ensure we get there.

Expect More Arizona’s vision is to make Arizona’s education system – from birth through career – a model of excellence across the nation and around the world. To have high academic standards, rigorous curriculum and great teachers who are preparing our students to succeed in college, career and life.

Our work just got tougher, and expecting more just got more important.

We encouraged you to “Vote 4 Education” during the 2010 elections. Now we urge you to hold your elected leaders accountable for the decisions they are making that impact education and Arizona’s future. We also encourage you to commit to doing more for education this year. Your support is more important than ever before.