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BUSINESS EDITORIAL – EXPANDING A SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT TUCSON

Everyone in Tucson wants the best for our kids, which includes access to great schools, the best teachers in their fields, high standards and high expectations.
This is why the Tucson Hispanic Chamber has taken such an active role and partnership with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the A for Arizona initiative, which is focused on ensuring that more of Arizona’s kids have better access to high quality public schools. A for Arizona is focused on supporting our best A-quality leaders, educators and public school models, especially those who serve primarily low-income students.
A for Arizona’s efforts match the Governor’s stated desire to expand the number of A-grade public – both district and charter- schools that have wait lists and are at capacity. Our project focuses solely on those schools who serve over 60% low-income students.
Here in Tucson, we have some truly great schools, both district and charter. In fact, the largest density of high need A schools in Arizona are found in Southern Arizona. The best public schools in Tucson are currently working with A for Arizona, including:
Annie Kellond Elementary School (Tucson Unified School District);Carillo Intermediate Magnet School (Tucson Unified School District);C.E. Rose Elementary School (Tucson Unified School District);Drachman Primary School (Tucson Unified School District);Palo Verde High Magnet School (Tucson Unified School District);W Arthur Sewel Elementary School (Tucson Unified School District);Academies of Math & Science;Mexicayotl Academy; andSonoran Science Schools.We are working with innovative leaders in Tucson Unified School District, Tanque Verde Unified School District and Vail Unified School Districts as well as with the charter school leaders in order to support each others work, learn from each others’ practice, and try to understand how to replicate these models of excellence.
But current policies are holding back our best schools from growing and expanding excellence to a greater number of Tucson students. Parents are growing weary of having their children on lengthy wait lists for the best A traditional district and charter schools. Our businesses are frustrated with not having a qualified and ready local workforce.
We need to better prepare students who are ready to succeed in the classroom and in the workplace. A great education system is a critical component of Tucson’s economic strategy. The better our educational outcomes, the better we are able to attract high paying jobs and keep and cultivate more local talent.
What gets me so excited about A for Arizona is that it does not pick sides in an unnecessary charter vs. district debate; instead it is focused solely on giving more support and resources to all of our excellent A schools.
A child’s zip code should not determine their academic fate. We as a community must come together to ensure that all students have the opportunity to receive an excellent education.
Tucson currently has a strong group of passionate A school leaders – both district and charter – who want to expand their impact. They are ready to collaborate and share their best practices in order to expand and replicate the top models within a collective system of achievement.
We would like for the community to focus on the quality of these schools, and the fact that so many parents have chosen them, and many more would like to. It does not make sense to have students on waitlists for outstanding schools when the public has invested in public school buildings they could expand into. The point is to get beyond discussions of charter versus district, and to move into a discussion of excellent public schools and how we get more of them.
We believe that people can get involved by supporting the efforts of these school leaders to expand at their local civic organizations, school boards and business. We must find a way to start supporting the work of these outstanding schools.
It is time we embrace the opportunities here in Tucson and help expand more excellent options for all .

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    Hispanic COC
  • The mission of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is to advocate for and provide services to help grow our members’ businesses.

The mission of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is to advocate for and provide services to help grow our members’ businesses.

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