Strengthening our educational system is important not only to enable individuals to reach their full potential, but also to maintain our competitiveness and standard of living in an increasingly competitive world. Flagstaff Forty is a non-partisan group of business and community leaders who, among other issues, are committed to improving and supporting our education system. As a part of this commitment, we spearheaded the initiative to declare Flagstaff as “America’s First STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) City”. We cherish our science and arts culture, science and technology-based institutions and companies, our high-research university and, perhaps most importantly, our dedicated K-12 schools that strive to provide high quality, STEM-enriched education to our children.
As enterprise leaders, we understand that the first step toward improving one’s competitive position is to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses, and the same of the competition. Therefore, we continue to strongly support Arizona’s College and Career Readiness Standards because these internationally benchmarked K-12 standards are critical to helping our students prepare for an evermore STEM-based world, both in higher education and the future workforce.
These standards will challenge our local school officials, whether public, charter, parochial, or private, to improve instruction and highlight the fundamental areas that need improvement in our education system. We cannot be deterred by the fear of seeing the results of our education system in comparison to other states and countries. We must be committed to improvement, for our students, our families and our community.
We strongly encourage our legislators and our Governor to continue to support this mission by prioritizing policy and appropriate funding that promotes innovation and student success. As citizens of Flagstaff, we can and need to do more to support our schools, our community college and our university, such as being a volunteer parent, taking advantage of the school tax credit every year, or letting our state elected officials know that it is time to start leading in improving our education system. Flagstaff, as a STEM City, should be a model for the state in excellent education, thriving economy and engaged community. Perhaps one day we can also call ourselves “America’s First Education City”.