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Education is a Bi-Partisan Priority: It Matters to Us All

The students in our public-school system now will one day be the adults running our community.

They will comprise our school boards and city councils and make decisions that affect thousands of people. They’ll be the doctors caring for us, the attorneys we turn to for advice, the teachers who spend hours with our children each week. They will be firefighters and police officers, business owners and librarians.

Today’s students will be the people we see in the grocery store, at the coffee shop, and on the Courthouse Plaza.

They will be the people who live in and run “Everybody’s Hometown,” together.

And regardless of our political affiliations, we are stronger together.

For the sake of our entire community, all the voters in the Prescott Unified School District must step up and give these children the world-class education they need to become well-rounded adults who can work together to ensure Prescott remains a wonderful place to live.

Consider this:

Today, education is about critical thinking.

PUSD Superintendent Joe Howard recently said that education has shifted: whereas it was once the passing on of information (reading, writing, and arithmetic), it’s now about teaching students to think critically, to take new approaches to problem solving, and to work effectively with their peers.

Adults who have been exposed to and mastered these concepts are better equipped to handle and solve the complex issues they’ll face in the future. These issues are important to everyone … in every political party.

Children who receive an excellent education will be more likely as adults to come to the table with their peers, develop solutions that benefit everyone, and make Prescott stronger than ever.

Historically, leaders across party lines have recognized the importance of education, passing important legislation covering important improvements (such as integration and special education).

An article on understood.org (an organization dedicated to making it easier for people with learning or thinking differences to find resources and community) notes that many U.S. presidents—across party lines—have been influential in improving education for all students.

  • Thomas Jefferson (a founding member of the Democratic-Republican party, a faction of which eventually coalesced into the modern Democratic party) said education was key to creating a strong country.
  • Republican Dwight Eisenhower provided support when the Supreme Court ruled that schools must be integrated. During his term, Congress passed the National Defense Education Act of 1958, which gave schools more money for science and math programs.
  • Democrat John F. Kennedy, formed a panel that urged the government to provide money for specific programs, including funds for research and special education.
  • Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, was a teacher. In 1965 he signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which funded special education centers and gave grants for materials to schools with low-income students. He also created Head Start.
  • Richard Nixon, a Republican, signed the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which included Section 504, extending civil rights to people with disabilities.
  • Republican Gerald Ford signed the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (before that, many kids with special needs couldn’t go to public school).
  • George Bush, Republican, signed two major education-related laws for people with disabilities.
  • Bill Clinton, a Democrat, signed into law the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, outlining eight key goals for improving public education.
  • Republican George W. Bush pushed for the No Child Left Behind Act.
  • Democrat Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act.

These former Presidents—both Democrat and Republican—knew that a great education lays the foundation for children and young adults to become the thinkers and the doers who build a thriving, healthy community.

Right now, we have the opportunity to come together, to support our children and give them what they need to create a brighter future for all of us … no matter which side of politics we’re on.

It’s common sense: education isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue, or that of any other political party. It is a basic human need. It’s always been a priority in this country and should continue to be.

Because the truth is, we’re all in this together, and in today’s world, an exceptional education is more important than ever.




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