There is a strong correlation between public education and health care.

There’s also a similarity between the two in terms of how poorly they are treated by the “ultraconservatives” now in elective or appointed office.

It totally amazes me how supposedly civil members of society can be so detached from social conscience that they employ various schemes to evade their responsibility.

You don’t have to look far to see Ben Carson wanting to triple rent for low-income families … Gail Griffin opposing health-care coverage for children(CHIP) or for individuals living in poverty … Drew John and Becky Nutt favoring diminished funding for public schools by supporting state tax vouchers for private schools … and Martha McSally opposing universal health coverage as in the Affordable Care Act.

Quality education and health-care coverage are both targets of this radical individualism we now face.

Priority for funding education has long been neglected, and there has yet to be a basic method developed that establishes a permanent and successful nonpolitical revenue stream to fund public education. There also has been a lack of legislative and gubernatorial acceptance that public education does cost and does need to be funded permanently, rather than band-aided to death. The issue of funding education has been kicked around in the political arena for years, and still no solution has been developed or even attempted.

I think there comes a time when people say “enough is enough” about any given issue, and it looks as though the walkouts were it. For school personnel to have walkouts and school closures is really a sad commentary on society. What is exceptionally “sad” is the governor’s band-aid and shell game.

First of all, he’s “throwing” a mystical 20 percent “pay raise” at the school employees — and I’m really puzzled about that. Pay schedules are developed and authorized by individual school boards, not the governor. So how does this 20 percent get into someone’s paycheck? Also, he’s now “kicked the can” to the Legislature … pure politics.

His philosophy is that his 20 percent will solve the problem, which is an erroneous and myopic assumption.

The worst things are that he has not even mentioned developing a permanent solution to educational funding, and he’s taking his 20 percent from budget cuts in other underfunded and necessary programs such as mental health, AHCCCS, or Arizona Long Term Care — an either/or scenario, when it should be a “both” scenario.

At a recent school board meeting, two wives of local physicians were spot on when they talked about the impact an education system has on physician recruiting for Canyon Vista Medical Center. Physicians, along with other health-care professionals, want a positive quality of life for their family.

Adequately funded education and quality health care are major ingredients in that lifestyle.

As the board chair of Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, I experienced the difficulty recruiting physicians because of the negative impact conveyed by low financial support of our public school system. We lost several physicians because they and their wives were concerned about the lack of financial support for education.

And businesses that are considering locating to Sierra Vista have quality of education at the top of their lists of “must-haves,” along with quality health care.

Just as citizens have a right to quality health-care coverage, they also have the right to an adequately and permanently funded education system for their children.

Public school finance is a complex issue, and a permanent long-term solution needs to be developed by a group of professionals, as opposed to a governor acting unilaterally from a political basis.

Gov. Ducey needs to create this group, rather than personally trying to do something for which he is not professionally qualified or prepared.

In essence, Ducey needs to be a statesman, rather than a politician.

LANNY A. KOPE, EdD has been a hospital trustee for more than 40 years, serving on urban and rural hospital boards. He is the past board chair of Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, and has had a national responsibility as chairman of the American Hospital Association's Committee on Governance. Kope is also a University of Phoenix faculty member in health care.


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