Thursday, January 10, 2008

Arizona's Education Hypocrisy Continues

Tucson, Arizona. The Star has a piece today noting the state's abysmal funding of education for its population. Arizona ranks LAST in the entire country regarding the education of its population. I have personal experience being derailed time after time in my efforts to provide real training that makes a real difference to working Arizonans.

Maybe this is by design. Perhaps the business leaders, elected officials, and the terrible TREO deliberately suppress training of the workforce, seeking to keep the populace as ignorant and low wage earning as possible. They talk high wage skills but thwart any efforts to provide them. Perhaps the powers that be want an ignorant workforce submissive to call center wages. Southern Arizona does not want an expensive, educated workforce. By design, educated workers leave. The model works. So long as you are a resort needing sheet changers, a call center needing cheap callers, a retail store needing cheap sales clerks, Tucson is perfect.

If you want a real job, start your own business to exploit the cheap local labor pool or move.


Anonymous the doctor said...

Unfortunately, you are probably right. It is amazing the U of A is as good of a school as it is, given our legislature.

You wrote how the market doesn't work for education. Arizona has the distinction of leading the pack on the course towards ignorance.

1/10/2008 9:20 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

You have indicated previously that the local press is not interested in covering anything about TREO.

Well, have you given any thought to going beyond the local press? Are there any publications in the economic development or workforce development worlds that might be interested in what you have to say?

You've already written quite a bit on this and you are a good writer. You are getting a PhD and you have credentials.

Have you thought of a broader approach as to how you might present this to a national audience? Perhaps success (Austin) versus dismal failure (Tucson) with a couple of average performers thrown in for comparison.

Maybe someday....

1/10/2008 9:54 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

Make that "anything negative about TREO."

I should preview.

1/10/2008 9:56 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...


You correctly anticipate future events. First is the Phd while continuing to blog.

The dissertation is not a "run of the mill" dissertation.

It is VERY ambitious and involves the unprecedented regarding a huge topic: Higher Education Finance.

My goal is to take the conversation global. We'll see how I do.

The local press is owned by people who support TREO. The most negative articles (and they will stay mostly benign) will be in the Citizen, which occasionally lets Teya Vitu write a piece noting that nothing is getting done.

The Star will run neutral or positive, and Inside Tucson Business will tout TREO as terrific no matter what.

They will continue to take credit for what is happening anyway by virtue of people moving to Arizona. Wages will remain well below average in Southern Arizona.

Those who actually raise wages in this town are handed their hats and shown the door.

1/10/2008 11:12 AM  
Blogger thinkright said...

Most education financing throughout the US comes from property taxes. In AZ, only about 1/3 of the property is not owned by the gov't (or is reservation land).
That is one issue. But AZ also has an incredible amount of school districts that could be consolidated to save money...or spend that money better. Instead of on administration, could be spent on funding childrens' learning. One of my pet peavs is that Teachers Unions seem to be more concerned with their welfare, rather than the business of educating the kids.

Business wants better educated employees. It helps them be better businesses.

1/10/2008 4:49 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...


One has to disaggregate education to really address it. K-12 and higher education are completely different and funded in completely different ways. While extremely important, I leave K-12 to others.

Higher education public institutions receive state appropriations. In the 50's to compete with Russia the US began massification of higher education with the GI bill. Sputnik and the HED Act of 1965 accelerated this, and tuition was kept very low.

Education was seen as promoting the quality of life and society, a public good.

Reagan changed that, shifting more to the view that higher education served the student, not society (the reality of course if both), so the student should pay. Tuition has skyrocketed ever since and there is nothing, NOTHING, on the horizon to stop it.

The rest of my career is about this very subject.

It's extremely complex, which is one reason I like it. If I have my way, my work will make a difference, only this time for the entire country if not the world.

1/10/2008 5:32 PM  
Blogger Dustin said...

what ever it is you are going to do, I hope it works out. Could it be that tuition is going up as a matter of supply and demand? or does it just seem like it's going up because wages have stagnated?

1/11/2008 7:40 AM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

"While extremely important, I leave K-12 to others"
I understand your interest in higher education and, given your passion and expertise, I even belive you can turn things around . But...if HS graduates go to college to be taught what other countries teach in high school...I don't know another way to put it: your wonderful ideas and great efforts will go down the toillet.

1/11/2008 8:53 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

As I said, K-12 is critical, but Higher Ed takes all I have. Others will have to address K-12.

Ehrenberg's "Rising Tuition" is the best book I've read on the subject, which is very complex. Normal economic theory only applies in some areas, not others. For example, the consumer (student) is part of the product (the student body).

1/11/2008 12:10 PM  

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