Great Leaders Strong Schools President and Founder Emily Anne Gullickson issued the following statement regarding the Governor’s FY2023 Executive Budget proposal which provides $323 million in new K-12 education investments: “We applaud Governor Ducey for his focus on real results for every Arizona student and targeting significant resources accordingly."
The Arizona Capitol Times recognized Emily Anne Gullickson, President & Founder, Great Leaders, Strong Schools; CEO & Founder, A for Arizona as a 2021 Leaders of the Year in Education. Each year, the Arizona Capitol Times recognizes men, women and organizations that have contributed greatly to the growth of our state. These are the people and groups that hunker down each day to find ways to improve the quality of life of Arizona’s citizens. The awardees will be recognized in an awards night at 6 p.m. on Sept. 28. They will also be profiled in a special edition of the Arizona Capitol Times.
A new Arizona law set to take effect later this month will allow school districts to experiment with new learning environments and new kinds of schedules. Supporters say the measure is about flexibility and letting schools tailor classes and educational models to meet their — and their students’ — needs. Emily Anne Gullickson is the founder and president of the education group Great Leaders, Strong Schools and backs the new law.
Today, a broad coalition of 70 organizations from across the country sent a letter to Congressional leadership and respective members of Congress, urging they treat all public school students equally by restoring the education funding cut in the Charter School Program fund, and eliminating language that could especially harm public school students with special needs and low-income students who attend charter schools.
While efforts to broadly expand Empowerment Scholarship Account, or vouchers, eligibility failed this year, school choice advocates found other reasons to celebrate the legislative session.
A budget adopted last week by lawmakers in Arizona includes two key provisions geared toward expanding access to schools of choice for the state’s K-12 students. A $10 million allocation will establish transportation innovation grants that school districts, charter schools, and other community groups can use to help students attend a school that formerly may have been unavailable to them due to a lack of transportation options. In addition to the grants, funding can be used to modernize existing transportation systems. The budget also makes the school district open enrollment system more transparent.
The sudden shift to distance learning last year forced states across the country quickly to provide schools with flexibility around how they accounted for student attendance or “seat time” requirements. Arizona established a system for school districts to adopt their own unique instructional time models that satisfy the state’s existing requirements for attendance.
The fiscal year 2022 state budget adopted by lawmakers last week and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey contains provisions that will expand access to schools of choice for Arizona’s K-12 students, achieving goals established by education advocates and the governor at the outset of the legislative session.
As an Arizona native and product of our public schools, I am proud that Arizona has become a national leader for school choice and allowing families to access multiple public school options that best meet the needs of their children. As a mom and member of the Agua Fria Union High School Governing Board, I know that access to a quality classroom can change a child’s life for the better. I am an education advocate, which means I support policies that empower every family to make the best education decision for their children.
Arizona is a national leader when it comes to diverse school options. Having a statewide culture that embraces creativity and innovation in K-12 public education is critical for creating learning environments that allow every child to feel safe and thrive.