BACK TO SCHOOL FOR THE LEG­IS­LA­TURE

Of­fi­cials must keep prom­ises for chil­dren in pub­lic schools

The Arizona Republic - - Opinions - Rhonda Ca­gle Guest colum­nist

The end­less cy­cle of po­lit­i­cal tele­vi­sion, ra­dio and so­cial me­dia ads have, mer­ci­fully, stopped.

We may be lulled into be­liev­ing our civic duty has been ac­com­plished now that the votes were cast, ex­ceed­ing modern-day midterm turnout records. Not so fast.

The data on the state of ed­u­ca­tion in Ari­zona shows that, come Jan­uary, the hard work truly be­gins – that of gov­ern­ing. And, for those of us who voted, hold­ing our elected of­fi­cials ac­count­able.

Ed­u­ca­tion was a prom­i­nent and re­cur­ring theme in Ari­zona’s newly de­cided midterm elec­tions. And for good rea­son.

The 2018 Col­lege En­roll­ment and Com­ple­tion Re­port re­leased a few weeks ago by the Ari­zona Board of Re­gents shows the grav­ity of the K-12 pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in Ari­zona.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, “Cur­rent en­roll­ment data in­di­cates that in 2017, nearly half – 47.4 per­cent − of Ari­zona’s high school grad­u­at­ing class did not en­roll in a two- or four-year col­lege after grad­u­a­tion, a rate that has re­mained static over the past two years.

“Among 2011 high school grad­u­ates, just 27.3 per­cent had com­pleted a twoor four-year de­gree six years after high school grad­u­a­tion.”

Key find­ings from the re­port are even more sober­ing. If cur­rent trends hold, a mere 17.2 per­cent of to­day’s cur­rent ninth graders will grad­u­ate from a four-year col­lege by 2028. And “among 71,337 to­tal high school grad­u­ates in 2017, nearly half – 33,812 – did not en­roll in a two- or four-year in­sti­tu­tion.”

If you are one of nearly 25 per­cent of Ari­zona’s chil­dren liv­ing in poverty, the

PHOTO BY THE REPUB­LIC; IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

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