Business Leaders Urge Increased Education Funding

Jan 16, 2013

A parade of business leaders urged lawmakers today to provide money to implement the new common core standards for K-12 education.

Ron Carsten of Raytheon Missile Systems told legislators that companies like his have a problem in finding qualified applicants, even with the high unemployment rate. He said the national standards will get away from teaching things -- to teaching how to think.

"It can't just be a memorized equation or the multiplication table. It's got to be how does that apply, how do we solve a problem," Carsten said.

But Carsten said the shortcomings in Arizona's education system affect more than his company's ability to hire local graduates. He said it also hurts its ability to recruit from elsewhere.

"First question they ask: How good are the schools. You know what I have to tell them. I have to tell them the districts they have to buy a house in to come work for me. I shouldn't have to do that," he added.

But Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, said none of that means businesses are willing to give up some of the tax breaks they've received to restore all of the cuts made in education.

"We're not talking about rolling back credits or anything like that," he said.

He said lower taxes actually improve the state's revenue picture by encouraging companies to invest here.