May 30, 2019
Arizona Business and Education Coalition
The Foreman Forecast
by Dick Foreman, ABEC President & CEO
Persistence can pay off!!
By Dick Foreman
In the midst of tumultuous times and political heavy seas, an apparently vast conspiracy of hard working business and education leaders goes on undaunted. Here are five really good things to help us all sleep better this evening.
1) Like soft footsteps in the night, Middle School Career Exploration is quietly but effectively beginning to take off with dramatic potential for drop out prevention, student achievement gains and career relevance as early as the fifth grade. The Perkins grants now delve down to the fifth grade, making Middle School Career Exploration fertile ground and ABEC, for one, is advancing this agenda statewide with the latest and noteworthy ABEC project addition in Yuma County, under the leadership of County School Superintendent Thomas Tyree (and watch for big things in Mesa Public Schools as well, where Marlo Loria and Superintendent Ember Conley clearly see the potential for significant expansion in their middle schools).
2) Three stalwarts of public education excellence are moving on to new horizons, and will be sorely missed, but whose leadership reminds us every day that effective cooperation, coordination, savvy policy skills and passion for education remain a magical result at the Children’s Action Alliance, the Arizona School Boards Association and the Arizona Association of School Business Officials. Many, many thanks for leaders Dana Wolfe Naimark, David Lewis, and Dr. Timothy Ogle.
3) English Language Learning (ELL) is never an easy topic to grasp as Arizona deals with increasing numbers of non-English speakers as a first language. But with a massive outpouring of legislative support and a Governor ready to sign, the ELL bill this year sailed through and is now on the books with Governor Ducey’s signature. We cannot underestimate the positive opportunity this critical legislation will provide to improve student achievement. Just wait and see. And sleep well knowing that work, for now, is done! Congrats especially to Stand For Children and Executive Director Rebecca Gau whose passion kept this critical mission on everyone’s radar to completion.
4) Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery does not see the right to own a gun as an absolute, unbounded opportunity. At a recent ABEC Quarterly Meeting, Mr. Montgomery was asked whether or not the additional measures to control gun violence in our schools through legal orders was not, in fact, an obnoxious challenge to the Second Amendment rights to own guns. Montgomery, a staunch conservative in most circles, did not flinch. He said there was no violation of the Second Amendment, because “with great privilege comes great responsibility.” And you can’t yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theatre, either! The First and Second Amendment seem secure enough in these instances.
5) “Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five…” Nope. This is not a re-hash of LeBron James infamous “decision” to sign with the Miami Heat and deliver, according to Dwayne Wade, five or more national basketball championship rings. This is just me counting the number of business, legislative and education groups that are actively meeting as I write this to find more consensus towards investing more dollars into Arizona’s classrooms. Now, these groups don’t all agree on the exact amounts or methods, but they all agree that there is a problem. Solutions to issues begin for one of two reasons in politics. Either there is a crisis that HAS to be solved immediately or inaction exposes problems that fuel frustration that boils over into random, spontaneous, problem solving groups which ultimately find common ground and result. The making of this investment is not a thing of beauty. Nor is it readily emerging as a political consensus except for one key fact. The discussions won’t go away and like the straws on a camel’s back, education supporters in both the business and education communities are watching and waiting for — CRACK! (The ultimate straw that does the trick.)
NOTE: Dick Foreman is president & CEO of ABEC. To contact, please send him an e-mail.
The Arizona Business and Education Coalition (ABEC) is the coalition of Arizona business and education leaders committed to helping create public education policy essential to a vibrant, growing Arizona economy. The coalition is a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, statewide membership organization focused on K-12 public education while recognizing the importance of early childhood development, post-secondary education and workforce development.
Arizona Business & Education Coalition
2100 N. Central Avenue, Suite 210
Phoenix, AZ 85004