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Views on Education

I have a firm belief that all students leaving the Tucson school systems should be proficient in the five pillars of education: math, science, language, art, and physical education. These are the five subjects that all schools in the Tucson area NEED to focus their attention on.

With regards to math, all students leaving high school should be able to perform arithmetic at a high school level. That involves basic math, algebra, and critical problem solving skills. All students leaving high school should have the basic understanding how the human body works, how the universe works, and the interaction between the two. All students leaving our school system should be able to read, write, and articulate the English language. The ability to communicate through any platform available must be stressed, whether it be verbally, visually, written, or digitally.

There have been many arguments in the Tucson community on the idea of art in the classroom. I firmly believe that art is the freedom of expression and not a politically-motivated, force-fed program. Students should have the freedom to learn any form of art they choose. In the area of culture, students should have the freedom to choose which culture they want to learn about whether it is American, Latino, Asian, African, or European cultures. If we hold true to the belief that art is the freedom of expression, we should not limit the students’ freedom to choose their path of art education. However, the educational body must not restrict or force free thinking students down a certain path.

And then there is physical education. Childhood obesity, especially in southern Arizona, has become an epidemic that needs our full attention immediately. We understand that not everyone who passes through our schools are gifted athletes. However, we should not let our students lead sedentary lifestyles and become another statistic for childhood obesity. The educational system needs to rethink and renew our commitment to physical education. Perhaps the old way of teaching physical education where you have a large group of students standing around shooting basketballs or running around in oval tracks is not the most effective way to teaching this subject. We need our students to understand that not having an active lifestyle and having a poor diet will have negative long-term effects on their health. And this awareness of one’s health has to start at the elementary level all the way through high school.

In order for our public education system to succeed at educating our youths in the five pillars, commitment from everyone is imperative for this vision to be successful. That includes the students, educators, elected officials, the community, and most importantly the parents. Parents must take responsibility to ensure that they practice what they preach. The educational system cannot and will not succeed if the student’s home contradicts everything that is taught in school. Public school is not free day care. Public school is a place where young people have a safe environment to learn and grow into adults that can make a difference in society. Parents must step up to the plate and take an interest in seeing their child succeed and flourish. Provide support when a child fails and cheer loudly when they succeed. Parents must ensure that the home a child goes to after school is not a toxic environment but a place where they can continue their journey in becoming productive adults.

We understand that education cannot be a cash cow and must operate like every other family struggling with finances. Education must be smart and efficient by taking advantage of modern-day resources and technology but also adhering to a balanced budget and eliminate waste. Together as a community, we must take a stand and feel a sense of accountability to ensure our youth has a fair chance in the community, society, and most importantly life.

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