Tucson Unified School District is the institution locals love to hate – citing every failing school, administrative misstep and program they deplore.
The critics gripe if TUSD has a veteran superintendent and administration, then complain about inexperience when new leadership steps in.
The naysayers cite lots of reasons not to cough up a mere 35 cents a day to directly improve student learning in TUSD.
But they overlook the 57,540 reasons we should make that minor investment.
That’s the number of TUSD children who are longing to learn. And unless they’re given the tools to do so, we all suffer.
We’ll be hurting in ways far more painful than just the lack of a “skilled work force for a 21st-century, global economy,” as typically cited. It will be more direct, even, than the stunting of our local economy, which is a certain outcome if we continue to inadequately educate our kids.
Contemplate the real troubles we face if we’re too miserly to shell out what would amount to 35 cents per day:
• We won’t have enough good doctors, dentists, nurses and surgeons to care for us as we age.
• We’ll lack the smart economists and wise political leaders, honest bankers and stockbrokers, and visionaries needed to put our country back on track.
• We’ll witness the demise of cutting-edge scientific research, in medicine and other areas, as is being conducted today at the University of Arizona.
Perhaps worst of all, we will find ourselves surrounded by ignoramuses unable to carry on a cogent conversation, much less count out the correct change at the cash register.
TUSD, the biggest school district in Pima County, is the only local district for which voters have not authorized a budget override. Sunnyside, Marana, Amphitheater, Tanque Verde, Catalina Foothills and more know that Arizona’s per-pupil funding – ranked 49th among states – isn’t enough to educate our kids.
But TUSD voters repeatedly have refused to give our children fair and adequate educational opportunities.
Prop. 403 renews that chance with a very low pricetag. For 35 cents a day, our kids will get three educational improvements, each of which has been proven to greatly advance students’ academic achievement:
Integration of arts into core subjects (aka Opening Minds Through the Arts); small classrooms of 18 students; and qualified teachers in math, science, special education and other hard-to-fill specialty areas.
Yes, these are tough times. But for pennies a day, Tucson might just produce the child who someday finds a cure for cancer. At the very least, let’s give our kids that chance.
The Tucson Citizen endorses a “yes” vote on Proposition 403.