It is with great pleasure that I present to you the 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan, which can be viewed at http://www.azed.gov/2017azkidscantwait/. This plan includes new proposals in addition to accomplishments under my leadership at the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).
One of my top priorities is to consider public input when determining education plans and policies. I know of no better way to do that than to hear directly from you. Throughout 2015, my first year as your elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, I traveled to 15 locations statewide on my We Are Listening Tour to hear the concerns and suggestions of citizens regarding Arizona’s education system. I compiled all of the comments and developed a comprehensive strategy to fix Arizona’s education system, called AZ Kids Can’t Wait! I committed myself and ADE to implementing these proposals and improving our education system based on the input of Arizona citizens.
Recognizing how rapidly our society changes, I pledged to continue gathering input to build upon and evolve our AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan. My We Are Listening Tour continued in 2016, when I received thousands of new in-person comments. I also received online input and met with dozens of stakeholder organizations and education officials to gather their feedback. It is from this feedback that I created the new proposals for the 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan.
I have completed the second year of my We Are Listening Tour, and I continue to hear Arizonans’ dissatisfaction with the lack of funding for education. I could not agree more with them, so I am posing this question: As a state, do we want the best education system in the United States or the cheapest system we can get by with? From teacher salaries to student achievement, I know I am committed to putting Arizona back on top in every aspect of education and I hope you will all join me in this important mission.
Beyond the accomplishments and the new proposals, the 2017 plan also features progress updates from the original plan. It is important that we work to accomplish the original proposals, or see them evolve them into updated concepts, as the state of our education system is constantly changing. Some of these proposals may never come to fruition during my time in office, but it is important that we get these conversations started and bring these ideas to light.
I ask that you read the proposals I have included in the 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan, which includes short, medium and long-term goals for the vision of Arizona’s future. Our children are our future and they simply can’t wait. God bless our children, God bless our education system, and God bless America.
Diane M. Douglas
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction