The two top candidates for governor faced off Sunday night on the parallel issues of school funding and academic standards. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer was there.
Democrat Fred DuVal said the Common Core standards are key to economic development. He said Arizona has done a good job cutting taxes and regulation. DuVal said that leaves business executives looking to relocate here with other questions.
“How will my workforce be skilled enough to give me the talent that I need to achieve my business growth? Will my children have good schools to go to? Will my employees’ children have good schools to go to?” DuVal asked.
And, DuVal said businesses can answer that affirmatively only if Arizona students are measured by national standards like Common Core, and funding, now 47th in the nation, is improved. Republican Doug Ducey said he supports standards, but ones developed in Arizona by Arizonans. As to money, he said that total classroom funding from federal, state and local sources is about $9,000 per pupil. Multiply that by 30 kids in a class and that’s $270,000 a year.
“Yet we’ve got classrooms where they’re saying we can’t afford a teacher, we can’t afford a teacher’s aide. Somewhere, there must be some overhead. Somewhere, something must be broken,” Ducey said.
Ducey said he wants to find ways to get more money into classrooms. But, DuVal said the solution is restoring cuts made during the recession.