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Education in Arizona: K-12 Funding and ASU controversy

Education is at the forefront of this week’s Think Tank.

Gov. Doug Ducey just inked his signature on a 10-year, $3.5 billion deal to settle the K-12 education funding lawsuit.

A brief history: By citizen initiative, Arizona voters mandated that state education funding keep up with inflation. Since the Great Recession, the legislature has not funded K-12 education to the level mandated by that initiative. Education advocates sued, the courts ruled in their favor and ordered immediate payment. The state appealed.  The legislation settles that lawsuit.

In our first half-hour, we explore what happened with two experts: Chuck Essigs, chief budget guru with the Arizona Association of School Business Officials, and Andrew Morrill, the President of the Arizona Education Association.

  • Essigs will attempt to explain this very complicated deal in a way that the rest of us can understand. How much does this actually put in the classroom? Big dollars or small? And where is the money coming from?
  • Then Morrill will tell us what the impact will be on the classroom. What differences will your kids actually experience as a result of this deal?

All that in our first half-hour. Our second half-hour deals with a recent controversy at Arizona State University.

Lee Bebout is an ASU professor who was attacked on Fox News “Fox and Friends” show for offering a class entitled “U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness.” It claimed the course was essentially an attack on white people.

We will play a representative clip from the Fox News piece then discuss the charge (and ensuing events) with Bebout.

Was his course an attack on white people? What was the course actually about?

And what is the role of a university education anyway? Should it challenge student’s beliefs? Should it provide them with the analytical tools for dissecting various arguments? Or should it only concentrate on cramming facts into students’ brains?