Kim Covington with Channel 12 KPNX in Phoenix sat down for an exclusive interview with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in Washington, D.C. to discuss the state of Arizona’s investment in public education and the second round Race to the Top application.
Duncan called on Arizona’s lawmakers, teacher’s union, and business leaders to work together on education funding instead of politicizing the issue.
Arizona currently ranks 49th in per pupil spending. Covington reports that in order for the state to catch up to the national average, Arizona would have to increase spending by 44%, or $2.7 billion.
With over $270 million in recent cuts to public education, the largest cut in the nation, Arizona currently has only three potential options to aid education funding; Proposition 100, the temporary one percent sales tax increase, the “Keep our Educators Working Act”, a U.S. Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, and the Race to the Top round two competitive grant.
“Is the state proud to that it’s 49th in investment in education?” Secretary Duncan asked. “I don’t know that that’s something I’d be proud of…. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance…. We have to educate our way to a better economy.”
Watch the interview below.