I was awarded top education voting ratings from:
- Arizona Education Association A+ Rating
- Friends of ASBA Educating Arizona - Best Possible Voting Rating
I've worked as a teacher for twenty years. It's not just my career - it's my passion.
Nearly nine out of 10 Arizona’students attend public schools, yet local districts struggle to fund their programs adequately. Buildings, text books, technology, and buses are aging. Some communities support their schools with bonds and overrides, but others do not. The result has been four-day weeks, canceled art and music programs, and large, unmanageable class sizes.
Our Governor and State Legislature continue to drag their feet when it comes to investing in a quality public education system—despite their promises to do so. I sponsored a bill to increase wages for support staff and another to accelerate the dispersement of district additional assistance.
Our children have been short-changed by short-sighted policies and misplaced priorities. They deserve a world-class education in a well-maintained building with modern technology.
Investing in education isn't just good for kids - it's good for our state's future. Strong school systems will encourage businesses to relocate to (or remain in) Arizona. Businesses demand a well-educated work force, and their employees want their kids to attend great schools.
I believe education should be fully funded.
- Increasing access to quality preschool.
Providing full-day kindergarten, so that our kids begin their education careers with the foundations they need to be successful.
Delivering a high-quality K-12 education that helps children prepare for a post-secondary experience of their choice.
Strong Career and Technical Education (CTE) & Joint Technical Educational District (JTED) options for those who wish to pursue a career in the trades.
High-quality Community Colleges.
- University that, as our state Constitution promises, is “as nearly free as possible".
Both new and experienced teachers are leaving the profession in droves. In fact, 24% of Arizona’s teachers will be eligible for retirement by 2018 (Education Retention & Recruitment Report - source: AZ Department of Education). In addition, half of teacher vacancies are filled by individuals who are not properly certified. While 21% of teacher vacancies remain unfilled ("Severe Teacher Shortage in Arizona Continues" - source: azednews.com).
Teachers should be compensated fairly for their experience and their education, and the profession should attract smart, passionate people. That's why we also need strong mentoring programs to support new teachers.
Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (vouchers)
In Arizona, certain groups of children are eligible for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts and Tax Credit Scholarships which allow them to use public money to subsidize a private education.
Initially these vouchers were set up to assist low-income families with disabled children. But wealthier families who live in high performing school districts have tended to use the program more than those it was initially intended to help. That's because the low-income families cannot afford to pay the remaining cost of the private tuition and transportation.
In the 2015-16 school year, vouchers cost Gilbert Public Schools $1.6 million and Chandler Unified School District more than $1.3 million (source: The Arizona Republic). I'm opposed to the expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.