Horace Mann, the great trailblazer of American public schools in the 19th century, referred to education as the “great equalizer of the conditions of men.”
Unfortunately, the inverse has been proven to be true. Students who receive a poor education, or who drop out of school before graduating, can end up with worse prospects for employment, earnings, and life expectancy. Unfortunately, here in Arizona, there are some who want to distract us from this truth, individuals who view education as an expense, rather than an investment.
A small group of people, funded by profiteers, dark money and fringe partisan out of state groups, is currently trying to weaken our educational system in Scottsdale. They cheer on legislators at the state level who enact bills that threaten educational freedom, who vote to defund our schools, demonize our teachers, and mock our district administration. They brazenly lie about what happens within the walls of our kids’ classrooms. These people shame our community for wanting their children to be better educated in a welcoming environment.
Their insecurities lead them to believe we all benefit from self-selected segregation of our children by having our state focus limited resources on only their children while excluding all others they deem unworthy. They are modern day con artists and grifters attempting to distract us from those important things that will make our community better, more equitable, and more inclusive so that they may sneak around and pick our pockets. Please, do not let them do that.
Please, help us protect public education. Our economy, our future employment pool and our property values demand strong, well-funded, and equitable public education.
The truth is, the Scottsdale Unified schools are safe, excellent, well-run educational institutions that we, its residents, are responsible for maintaining.
Our district has a 125-year track record of producing some of the brightest and most talented kids who do great things. Our schools stand as places that are open to everyone, and without them, most children in need of special services would never receive them. That would be a tragedy and we all must fight to prevent privatizing our schools to protect vulnerable children’s access to special programs.
This threat isn’t a new one, but right at this moment, the Scottsdale district is being attacked by outside special interests. But there are things we can and must do to halt the destruction of our Scottsdale public schools:
• Vote “Yes” on the SUSD District Additional Assistance Override during the 2022 general election. The override funding is vital so that the district can fund curriculum materials and school technology — both necessary to keep our students competitive. Funding also includes school furniture, fixtures, and equipment for the fine arts, athletics, and our libraries. Finally, it will fund playground equipment and facilities used daily and must be replaced and maintained to keep our kids safe. These facilities are used by both students and our community.
• Sign the “Protect Public Education STOP ESA Voucher Expansion” petition currently circulated by Save Our Schools Arizona. We, as Arizona voters, overwhelmingly rejected voucher expansion a few years ago, only to have the Legislature ignore the will of the voters and pass legislation to destroy public education.
• Call or write Gov. Ducey and your Arizona legislators to remove the aggregate expenditure limit. Without action, the AEL will cause our schools to face a cut of 17%, and they won’t be able to spend the money lawmakers allocated this past June.
• Vote in the general election for candidates that support public education. Take the time to listen to what they say, specifically their support of teachers and public education funding-vote to protect a vital public asset, the Scottsdale Unified School District, on all ballot levels.
This fall, we have a choice in Scottsdale; empower our children, teachers, and parents with the tools the district needs to provide an excellent education or damage the safety, welfare, and community investment that Scottsdale district residents have made.