Message of the Week
During a time of year when students are winding down the semester and focusing on finals, governors around the country were also "heading to class."
Our topic was excellence in education.
Last week, I joined a dozen governors from all corners of the nation for an education summit at the Hunt Institute in North Carolina. The Institute was created by former North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt. For two full days, we were able to immerse ourselves in cutting-edge information on the subjects of teaching, learning and education research.
At the Institute, we listened to - and questioned - education experts, shared best practices' from the participant states, and discussed the common concerns that face all governors during this time of incredible change in our country.
The other governors and I discussed ways to improve math and science education - the subjects that will be essential for every child growing up in the fast-paced world of technology and globalization. We also talked about the importance of early childhood education and literacy, because every facet of learning is built upon the foundation of strong reading skills. We discussed ways to bring more Americans into the field of teaching because, after all, nothing we do matters if we don't have qualified teachers in the classroom. Finally, we talked about ways to measure the long-term successes of our students and teachers - so we can point to data and know that we are making progress.
My time at the Hunt Institute reinforced my feelings that Arizona's education reforms are on the right track. Our state has already started addressing the topics discussed in North Carolina:
* We have formed a Teacher Quality Committee to make sure that Arizona's teachers have the training and incentives they need to stay in the profession and make a positive impact on the lives and learning of our children.
* Arizona is continuing to form public/private partnerships to ensure that the entire community is invested in providing quality education.
* We continue to move forward with the Voluntary Full Day Kindergarten program, which ensures that all students get the time they need to prepare for first grade (which is much harder than it was when we were kids).
* This year, I also asked members of the education and business communities to serve on my new P-20 Council. P-20 is an education policy term that refers to "preschool through the 20th grade," or post-graduate work. It's based upon the idea that we must set high expectations for all Arizona students and give them the tools they need to reach their goals.
Arizona is approaching another Legislative session, and in the coming months, I promise I will continue to fight for education reform and investment that will truly make a difference. I will ask the Legislature to fund the next phase of voluntary full-day kindergarten, and I will not stop until it is available in all Arizona schools. I will encourage funding for our higher education system, so that Community Colleges and Universities aren't forced into tuition increases to keep our schools running. I will also keep working with the business community to ensure that an Arizona degree has real value in today's economy.
I appreciate your support as we strive to make Arizona a place where all children have the opportunity to love learning and achieve their goals.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please contact my office at 1-800-253-0883 and ask to speak to Constituent Services.
Yours Very Truly,