Arizona Education Association

Winter 2012/13

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CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL AT THE CAPITOL Reject Prop 204; Elect More Balanced Legislature Arizona Voters T he 2012 election results reflect a mixed outcome, but it appears that Arizona is slowly moving toward a more centrist, less extreme political climate. Regrettably, Prop 204, the Quality Education and Jobs initiative, failed at the ballot box. Despite the long track record of Arizona's lead- ers—reducing state revenue through ill-advised tax cuts, slashing public school funding at all levels, while passing unfunded education man- dates—the millionaire-funded defeat of Prop 204 means that public education funding will remain in the legislature's hands. The promising news is that voters elected a number of moderate legislators, rejecting politi- cians who have drastically cut education fund- ing and enacted extremist laws. This shift means that Arizona has elected a more balanced state legislature that can better work to develop public policy reflecting Arizona's values and priorities. Of AEA's 47 recommended candidates, 35 were elected this past election. Prior to the election, Republicans held a super majority in the Arizona Legislature with 21 senators and 40 representatives. Although some races were still too close to call at the time this publication went to print, it appears that Democrats had gained at least four seats in both the House and Senate. The election results create a dramatic change in the environment at Arizona's capitol – one in which AEA members can impact decisions affecting education funding and policy. 6 Winter 2012/13 x AEA Advocate "The fact is that hard work remains before us – all of us," says AEA President Andrew F. Morrill. "That is the lot we choose in choosing public education as our calling." As hard as so many of us worked, we did not pass Prop 204. The revenue from Prop 100 will cease on May 31, 2013, meaning the loss of $1 billion to Arizona's general fund and the threat of additional cuts to public education — even as nearly $600 million in corporate tax cuts begin in June. The engagement of our members depends on their understanding of this reality and on the opportunities we create to impact it. "Arizona's policy makers must hold schools harmless from this threatening loss of revenue," says Morrill. "Voters have created a better balance across our state House and Senate. Governor Brewer promised to address educa- tion funding with the coalition of parents and educators who created the Prop 204 initiative, but only after the measure failed. Governor Brewer must keep her word." We must stay focused on quality public education and move forward. In the coming year Arizona's students, teachers, and schools will need the support and resources to meet new requirements mandated by the state. Arizona is raising the bar in education by raising teaching standards (new more rigorous Common Core Standards) and student standards (requiring grade level reading for all third-graders and implement- ing a new student assessment test), yet is failing to raise its financial investment in schools in order to meet these new requirements. CAPITOL AT THE AT THE

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