Today approximately 60% of our Arizona first graders arrive on the first day of school not prepared. They do not know how to count 1 to 10, primary colors, basic shapes, and how to print their first name. Additionally far too many of these youngsters face health and nutrition challenges.
In our community college system many incoming students arrive for their community college academic experience wholly unprepared in English and Math skills to move directly into core college courses and must enroll in several preparation type courses.
Are these situations acceptable? I say – not. Funds are consumed to prepare these students – a both the very beginning level and at the higher education level.
In addition to the finances, these students lose time and many become discouraged and some never catch-up. We – then – as a society lose. We lose the earning power these students could have contributed to our state; we lose contributing well educated citizens; and we lose the heart of good people.
What needs to be done? I believe Arizona can attack and solve our education gaps by doing what Arizona is known for: a highly spirited and determined people who can and will solve tough problems WHEN we come together to focus on what WE determine is important.
Since my years as a community college governing board trustee and my more recent experience on the local First things First Regional Partnership Council, I now believe that:
- Thoughtful people with a common understand of the problem and resolve anything; and,
- Money is important and money – alone – does not solve all the problems.
Expect More Arizona is a worthy organization with the capacity, intelligence, and focus on the many factors that effect our education challenges. I have joined EMA and plan to work very hard to address our education issues.
I hope many Arizonans will do the same.