Educated Workforce = State Prosperity

Linda Oyon

Cross-posted from

Okay. Let me get this right. Daniel Scarpinato, Press Aide to Governor Doug Ducey says Arizona schools are the 4th worst in the nation because school choice siphons taxpayer dollars out of community (district) schools into private and parochial schools, leaving those community schools under resourced. Okay, those weren’t his exact words, but that is what he intimated. His intent was of course, to invalidate the WalletHub study because it only looked at our public schools and not private schools. So, he thinks the study is invalid because it ONLY pertains to 96 percent of Arizona’s K-12 students?

WalletHub looked at 17 key metrics and found that Arizona is: 49th for pupil to teacher ratio; near the bottom in average ACT score; and below average for low-income student high school graduation rate. Even though these types of rankings are nothing new for Arizona and, he doesn’t dispute the numbers, Scarpinato called the study “baloney.” Rather, he went on to deflect the blame by citing Arizona’s rapidly increasing population as part of the problem for low per-pupil funding and sidestepped whether this meant funding should be increased to keep up with that growth. He also dismissed the idea of halting corporate tax cuts. His justification – Arizona needs to remain competitive with other states in its efforts to cut corporate taxes. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) says “cutting taxes to capture private investment from other states is a race-to-the-bottom state economic development strategy that undermines the ability to invest in education.” We need only look at Kansas to see how this strategy works.

EPI research shows “income is higher in states where the workforce is well-educated and thus more productive.” There is, the Institute says, “a clear and strong correlation between the educational attainment of a state’s workforce and median wages in the state.” Those workers then pay more taxes to boost state budgets. The best companies know they need to go where they can get the kind of educated workforce they need, where their current employees will find good communities with high quality schools, and where the infrastructure can support their business model. That’s why states like Massachusetts (ranked #1) see education as an investment, not an expense.

Unfortunately, the AZ Legislature seems hell-bent on pushing the privatization of our community school system and will continue down this path until the voters boot them out of office. We need lawmakers who understand there can be no significant progress for our state over the long haul unless we ensure all our children are given the tools to grow and prosper. Community schools remain the schools of choice for the vast majority of our students and must be our first priority for state resources. Yes, school choice has its place in our overall educational system, but it shouldn’t be first place.

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Linda Lyon retired as a Colonel (Thomas) from the U.S. Air Force in 2007 at Andrews AFB, Maryland where she served as the Mission Support Group Commander (city manager) for a 20,000 person community with 2,000 people under her command. After retirement from the Air Force, she managed a $28 million logistical service contract at the Department of Energy and served as Deputy Program Manager for the $30 million SBInet contract at L-3 Communications. Since moving to Tucson in 2008, she (and her wife Holly) created and ran four annual Wingspan charity golf tournaments bringing in almost $65,000, and she served as the organization’s Director for 14 months. She also served in key positions for five AZ legislative races. Linda is in her second term as a Governing Board member for the Oracle School District, was named Advocate of the Year for 2013 by the Arizona School Board Association and in 2018, served as the Association's President. She'll be the past president in 2019 and will also be serving as the Federal Legislative Chair for the Arizona PTA.


  1. Not a single moron can think it through. Not even the tax guy.

    There is an infinite market of idiots for fake studies like wallethub.

    • I noticed you have no comment on my demographic question. see the 1944 movie life boat but you won’t like the ending.

  2. Winner,winner, chicken dinner. We don’t have an Outback anymore in Prescott, so keep your prize. Liars figure, and figures lie. My final answer. I honestly believe that coming from back east schools I would have never have believed the low skill level I see from Arizona high school graduates until I saw it for myself. No wonder you have to recruit people (like me) with higher academic degrees and pay us to move here. I am particularly disgusted with the way disabled children are educated and pushed thru until they are 22 and then there is nada for any one with cognitive ability like the autistic kiddos. No job skills, no academic skills, no hope unless the parent can afford it and I ain’t cheap. Children are our future, even the “special” ones, not some company that takes the tax breaks and gives nothing back.

  3. Morons, all of you.

    Take Wisconsin.

    Our African American test scores are higher than their African Americans. Our white students scores are higher than their white students and our Hispanics test scores are higher than their Hispanic students.

    Yet, the average of their African American, white and Hispanic student test scores is much higher than our average.

    First moron that solves this 6th grade Common Core standard problem gets a free dinner (gift card) at Outback.

    • here ia a math problem for you herr huppenthal every day in arizona 100 latino american citizen kids turn 18 voting age. add dreamers its a 140 a day and almost every one of them hating republiscum as much as I do. (even though azbm and ts keep calling me a republican troll because I consider hillary clinton a war criminal) how long before militant democrat latinos run the good government liberals and corporate democrats out of party leadership and install militant hispanics who will resemble che gueverra not fred duval.

    • Nice to see you opining under your own name, now, John… I love you, man. Stay gold, ponyboy, stay gold…

  4. It’s so surprising to see this data despite the wealth of talent we’ve had in the Superintendent of Public Education office over the past decade. Who would have guessed?

    • But wait, “African Americans……….” I knew John Huppenthal would be here. African Americans make up less than 6% of K-12 students. PS, John. Stop calling names.

  5. repuliscum don’t care and the democrats won’t do what it takes to make them care.

    • Although I’ guessing this is what you mean Capt A., but I think it is more “the voters won’t do what is necessary to make them care.”

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