Katherine Yu, Class 25 Class Blogger
Sr. Scientist – Henkel Consumer Goods Inc.
The Class 25 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s seventeen core program days. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.
Education is one of the most vast and complex issues that face our community, and the fact remains that there are no clear cut resolutions. On this Scottsdale Leadership program day we were able to listen to many perspectives regarding education. There were few aspects where I could see where groups were aligned and fewer where solutions were agreed upon. However, there are some things that are indisputable to all groups. Education is important; it provides a foundation for individuals and our community; it is changing at a rapid pace, faster than even we can comprehend; and finally, reform is necessary. What shape or form this change will take is unknown, but change is imminent.
Education in Arizona affects everyone. As cliché as it sounds, the children are our future. The next generations will be our future workforce, community stewards, policy makers, and leaders. We need to be sure that our young people are prepared and have the skills necessary for the real world. How can we be sure that we are doing our best to guide them, mentor them, and provide for them? How do we know they are ready? What do they need to know?
One undeniable area which our young people must be proficient in is technology. Technology has infiltrated our everyday lives. Electronic devices are no longer luxuries, but necessities to be prepared for the 21st century. Kids are learning differently with access to information, globalization, exposure to languages, cultures, and (every parent’s nightmare) social networking. As parents, teachers, and mentors, we need to make sure our young people have access and are proficient in using technology.
Lastly, it is clear that reform is necessary. The “finance puzzle”, as Dr. David Peterson so skillfully articulated, needs to be solved. An outdated, decades-old funding formula cannot be used today. Making schools choose between teachers and arts programs, or between staff and all-day Kindergarten, is plainly not acceptable. Incentives and motivation to excel are vital. Accountability is key from our students, teachers, administrators, parents, and communities.
Obviously we care for our children and we understand the importance of education. Scottsdale Unified School District superintendent Dr. Gary Catalani was certainly inspiring with his vision for the Education community. Certainly change starts with strong leadership, and certainly change will not occur overnight. My certainties end here.
What do you think will ignite change for the betterment of Arizona’s educational system?