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Arizona Business Leaders Focus On Education Spending, Standards

From his first days in office, Governor Doug Ducey pledged to make Arizona the best state to do business. But, some say it’ll take more than cutting regulations and taxes.

“One of the primary reasons that businesses do not elect to move to Arizona is that they’re not satisfied with our education system," said Dick Foreman, president and CEO of the Arizona Business and Education Coalition, a non-partisan group formed in 2002.

While every public school district has taken financial hits since the recession, Foreman said, the joint technical education districts, known as JTEDs have really suffered. That’s hurt businesses because JTEDs offer a range of career and technical education from repairing aircraft to running restaurants.

“It translates into profits because when you have a candidate for a position that is well-trained and educated it saves the businesses a lot of money," Foreman said.

To boost confidence among the business community Arizona should not only increase classroom funding, but also stay the course with higher academic standards, he said. 

"I think the business community believes all children can learn," he said. "The business community does not believe that sub-groups of kids will not do as well as other kids. We don't buy that, we don't accept that and neither AzMERIT nor does the current Arizona standard process accept that."

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.