Message of the Week
Since the day I took office, education has remained my number one priority. Our children are tomorrow's leaders, and they deserve every opportunity for success.
Young minds are like sponges, and encouraging children to learn early can pay dividends later on. In fact, we know that children who read by the 3rd grade are more likely to be successful in middle and high school, and be less likely to drop out. When our educational systems are solid, aligned, and working, Arizona gets what it needs most-a strong, highly trained and effective workforce.
Arizona has been fortunate in the last couple of years: our economy is strong, and our state is growing. However, economies are cyclical; lean times will come again. We must do all we can to ensure that Arizona stays strong even in times of economic uncertainty. A well-educated and skilled workforce is the cornerstone of a prosperous economy that can persevere through an economic downtown. In today's competitive world, human capital is every organization's number one asset.
In order to ensure that we are properly aligning education with the working world, I invited policy and business leaders to be part of our state's first P-20 Council. P-20 is a term that refers to the entire spectrum of education from preschool through the "20th grade." Of course, not everyone will go to graduate school, but in a world with rapidly changing technology almost everyone will need training or education after high school. And in a marketplace where today's workers will have many career changes, life long learning and the ability to be life long learners is critical to individual and community success. I asked the council that we focus first on alignment between educational systems and Arizona's industry needs.
Earlier this year, the P-20 council issued its report on education alignment in Arizona. The report shows that our schools are not preparing students for the real world and other research has shown that to compete globally, we need to make changes in how school is taught.
Higher education is a vital step to creating a talented workforce. That's why we're expanding the U of A medical school to have a Phoenix location, and developing a downtown campus of ASU. Our universities are focusing on science, technology and innovation and uniting behind the new medical school, while our community colleges are investing in bioscience training programs.
The results will be highly trained doctors, and more students graduating in the fields of engineering and science. A strong education system that produces talented individuals will increase per capita income across the board and keep Arizona's economy strong.
As always, I appreciate your input, and encourage you to call my office at 602.542.1318 if you have questions or thoughts to share. Or, please visit our website at http://www.azgovernor.gov for information and news in state government.
Yours very truly,