Consider more than safety when it comes to students

Per the Arizona Republic, 06/01/2020, Arizona’s Secretary of Education, Kathy Hoffman, consulted with over 100 people and has released the Roadmap for Reopening Arizona Schools, providing guidance in actions schools can take while leaving the decision-making up to the local school leaders. Some of the guidance:

  • Run classes on intermittent schedules, take employees’ and students’ temperatures, and potentially require facemasks.
  • Disinfect buses and school facilities vigorously.
  • Plan curriculum that is adaptable to in-class, outdoors, and online modalities.
  • Review expectations and last year’s instruction before beginning new material. 
  • Recognize students (&/or families) may have experienced trauma and provide for counseling. 

These steps provide direction and provide for local decision-making and adaptability.

With the State anticipating a $1 Billion deficit, the major question is: where’s the money? First, all CARES education money should go to public schools because it is tax dollars, despite Betsy DeVos’ plan to fund private schools.  The Governor should take State “rainy day” funds and funnel them into public education to maintain the “Red for Ed” pay raises. The State can layoff lawyers and consultants to partially compensate for the remaining funds needed. Tax cuts to wealthy and corporations should be stopped or taxes temporarily increased, but taxes on and lower- and middle-income families should either be forgiven or reduced. The Governor, having sold his home for a hefty profit, could donate that sum to partially repay the lack of education funding under his administration. 

Shortcutting quality education will cause more problems down the road. Our (grand-)children have suffered enough and now is the time for more funds to be invested in public education. Improved public education will pay-off by keeping and bringing more businesses and employers to AZ. Let’s focus on our children’s needs, and build smart so that we will get there without further trauma.

Published by Ann Heitland

Ann Heitland is a writer, living in Flagstaff, AZ. She's also a golfer, ex-lawyer, retired real estate broker, and active Democrat.