Education State of Emergency

My visit to the Hill this year at the National Policy Seminar was quite the success! As I boarded the plane on Wednesday afternoon to come home, I couldn’t help but smile about the positive conversations I’d had with Congressman Matt Salmon and an aide to Sen. Jeff Flake.

Fast-forward to Thursday. When I opened my e-mails and turned on the news, I was bombarded with the news concerning the budget Gov. Ducey was asking to be approved. Wait, what? Was he really cutting the education budget that much? My emotions went from ”Wow, we are making huge positive strides in Arizona,” to “Whoa, we are we hitting rock bottom and negatively impacting our future and the future of our children!”

When I was in Congressman Salmon’s office, he listened intently to stories of how CTE positively impacts students in real life, and how these students test better, go to college and finish college more than non-CTE students. He signed the CTE caucus and also on the spot, made an appointment to visit the CTE programs at Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona. Sen. Flake’s education staff person showed a great deal of interest in CTE, and she promised to continue to share our info with the senator.

To say that Arizona’s budget blew the wind out of our sails is an understatement. Teachers, students, parents and supporters have protested the education budget, and phone calls to our representatives could not convince them, and the budget ended up being passed. What we know for sure is all funds for community colleges in Maricopa and Pima Counties have been cut. Additionally, there are more predicted budget cuts to K–12, charter schools and state universities.

Cuts like these are one of the many reasons why we need to continue to advocate for CTE and never lose sight of CTE and its goals. From a positive visit on the Hill to the risk of losing many of our state programs, clearly this is an education state of emergency!