Why Quality Public Education Matters

With all the ongoing name-calling and finger-pointing surrounding the failure of the Scottsdale Unified School district budget override last year, I’ll point you to an interesting article on AZCentral today.

The Republic’s Eugene Scott reports statistics from a recent report presented to the Arizona Mayors Educational Roundtable (coordinated by WestEd Policy Center in San Francisco), which cites metro Phoenix as having the 4th highest high school dropout rate in the US.

Quoting the report:

High-school dropouts cost Arizona $4.9 billion in lost income; $869 million in health costs; $1.7 billion in crime-related expenses; and $26 million in welfare over their lifetimes, according to the report.

Arizona loses $294 million over the lifetimes of high-school dropouts in the productivity declines of a less-educated workforce and $145 million in taxes collected to pay for government expenses over their lifetimes, the report said. The report added that high-school dropouts who end up going to college later save Arizona $398 million.

From the report it appears that Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane didn’t participate in this meeting. That’s not surprising given the stance of Lane’s anti-public education supporter, the Goldwater Institute (Lane’s chief of staff, JP Twist, is the son of Goldwater founder Steve Twist).

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  1. I read the article today and was curious to see where Scottsdale was. Why is the entire city of Scottsdale missing? Why does Mr. Lane leave Scottsdale out of this report? Did the Scottsdale Public Schools not give him the information? Does Scottsdale not matter in this endeavor? I guess education is not a priority for Scottsdale in Mr. Lane’s mind OR is the data not falling in the direction that makes the city look good?

    Mr. Lane has to work with the Scottsdale Schools to provide this information to the public. With this information we could have least seen some type of comparison. Otherwise Mr. Lane is saying there is no problem in Scottsdale. We know that is not true. If the Scottsdale Public Schools graduated every student, they would plaster that on their website, and I don’t see that there and it certainly does not show up on the Arizona Department of Education reports either, so what happened?

    I know the Scottsdale Unified School system is worried about a third override attempt currently, so they may have been busy . But they may have had the time to get this information out to the public or to this committee of mayors if Mr. Lane was to busy with something. At least with the data, Scottsdale Public Schools could say – See if the Scottsdale Public Schools could get more money, please vote yes for the override, we can get more children to graduate. Then Mr. Lane could have used that data and ‘spun’ it like Mr. Rose does and said ‘Our city has a higher high school graduation rate than other cities.’

    As it stands, I wonder why neither one has come forward with the information. That makes both of them look ‘bad’ – our entire city just went poof – no data. Why don’t both of them get together and publish the information in the same format as the rest of the cities? Or is that going to show something we the citizens of Scottsdale don’t want to see?

  2. In 2008 some former member of city council decided that the joint committee between SUSD and the City was unnecessary and council did away with it. Right hand didn’t want to talk left hand. Last few years the southern area schools have been pretty much ignored. Two former board members can attest to this……..not so much by the Superintendent, but there is only so far those dollars stretch when facilities have been neglected. Between the nutty education funding by the legislature and the very strong voices of politically savvy parents from the north of Scottsdale and a Mayor and council majority that loves to follow the money……education is not equitable in Scottsdale.

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