Monday, February 21, 2011

Brewer Discusses $500 Million Tax Cut Deal on Sunday Square Off

Governor Jan Brewer appeared on Phoenix Channel 12's "Sunday Square Off" to discuss the tax cuts for businesses she signed into law last week.

Governor Brewer called the legislature into special session to vote on and pass a $500 million tax cut package. It isn't clear how soon, if ever, businesses and jobs will return to Arizona as a result, nor how education and vital state programs will be sustained after punching such a substantial hole into the state's already depleted revenue collections.

When asked by commentator Brahm Resnik if it was fair for businesses to get this large tax cut package when universities and patients on AHCCCS are left to face further cuts in funding, Governor Brewer replied, "Absolutely. Absolutely."


According to Governor Brewer, "It's the business that drives the economy." Not education. Not patients.

Watch below:

Civility Breaks Out In Tucson

The cause of civility is being advanced in Tucson, Arizona.

Today, the University of Arizona announced that Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton will co-chair a new National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona.  According to a press release by the University of Arizona,
One of the key goals for the institute is to connect people with diverse viewpoints and to offer a venue for vigorous and respectful debate. Among the institute's first events will be an executive forum with media, foundation, academic, government and corporate leaders regarding moving forward the national conversation about civil discourse and proceeding with constructive solutions.

Last week, Gabrielle Gifford's aid Ron Barber announced the formation of The Fund for Civility, Respect, and Understanding.  The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, which will administer the fund announced that,
The fund, created by the Barber family, will support nonprofit programs or organizations that work to heal the wounds inflicted on January 8, 2011. It will honor those who lost their lives or were injured that day, and will pay tribute to the first responders, citizens and medical personnel who came to their aid. The fund will support nonprofit activities in public schools, faith communities, and mental health. Concerts will play an important role in building the fund and in healing and unifying our community.
An all star fundraising concert, featuring  Jackson Browne, Alice Cooper, and many other musical acts will kick off the fund on March 10, 2011.  Tickets are on now sale at Ticketmaster.

To read more about The National Institute for Civil Discourse and The Fund for Civility, Respect, and Understanding, see below:

Bush, Clinton to Chair New National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona, UANEWS, 2/21/11.

University of Arizona Sets Up Civility Institute, New York Times, 2/21/11.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse Website

The Fund for Civility, Respect, and Understanding, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona

Shooting victim Barber launches fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding,, 2/17/11.

Browne, Cooper to play benefit in Tucson, Ariz, Arizona Daily Star, 2/17/11.

Are all parents ready to help their students?

We came across a great opinion piece in The Christian Science Monitor, Want better students? Teach their parents. Author Jerome Kagan, a professor at Harvard, discusses the importance of parents in the preparation of children for school. The article highlights problems faced by children raised in families with limited education. Kagan points to a Tufts program of early intervention using ten, two hour home visits to work with the parents of economically disadvantaged two-year-olds. Low-cost limited interventions with parents seems to have an effect. We encourage you to take a look at the article.

Fortunately this past November, Arizona voters rescued our First Things First Program, which targets funds to early childhood development.  Sadly, parents who need services to improve their educational potential were not so lucky; all state funding for GED was eliminated in the last legislative session. This seems counterproductive if you are trying to encourage families with limited education to prepare their children for school.

To learn more about preparing adults to help their children go to these web sites: Tucson Area Literacy Coalition, and Pima Community College Adult Education. You may also want to check out a program that has had success in Arizona and other states, Parents as Teachers. You can find out if they are in a location near you by putting in your zip code here.