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Education Advocates Challenge Arizona to “Expect More”

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September 8, 2009

PHOENIX - Education should be Arizona's top priority as a state. That's the stand of a new public-private partnership that's raised two million dollars for a multi-year, multi-media public awareness campaign. "Expect More Arizona" oversight board chairman Paul Luna says the state's educational standards need to be raised, from early learning right on through college.

"We want to expect more from our students. We want the students to expect more of themselves; the same for teachers and school administrators, and then the community in general. We believe we all have a role to play and we should all expect more of ourselves to ensure that our education system gets stronger."

The non-political group includes several private Arizona foundations as well as the state's three public universities.

Luna says setting higher standards for math and science is a point of emphasis for the campaign.

"We know that when we compare our students across the world that math and science, in particular, are areas where we can improve. And we know how important math and science are to the basis of the education foundation in the future, especially for the types of jobs that we would want for the Arizona economy."

Luna, who is also president of the Helios Education Foundation, says "Expect More Arizona" is not a direct response to the current cuts in state funding for education, but is more of a long-range project.

"Whether or not we're in a budget crisis like we have right now - we obviously are mindful and respectful of that - but we want to make sure that we're being thoughtful in the long term. What can we be doing today to invest strategically in education for the long term, for the long-term good?"

Massive Arizona state budget cuts for education have so far been avoided through the use of federal stimulus money.

The campaign Web site is www.expectmorearizona.org

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ