Former Intel CEO opposes Prop 204
Arizona voters should heed the warning of Craig Barrett, a business and education leader who opposes Proposition 204 for the measure’s failure to back education reform and its misguided increase in the state’s sales tax.
Barrett is the former Chairman of Intel Corporation, one of Arizona’s top ten employers. He is a graduate and former faculty member of Stanford University. He is a longtime advocate of education reform.
Barrett knows business and education. He knows Arizona.
“Prop 204 throws money at education and numerous other special interest groups, but doesn’t tie that money to performance improvements,” Barrett said in a statement opposing Proposition 204. “Unless we fix the system, we won’t see any improvements in results.”
“Real education reform happens inside the classroom,” Barrett said. “Prop 204 doesn’t address the key areas that will made education better in Arizona.”
Proposition 204 would raise $1 billion a year for education with no accountability to taxpayers for progress in the classroom. It generates the money through a permanent one-cent increase in the state sales tax rate, which would give Arizona the second highest sales tax in the nation.
“I also think sales taxes are the most regressive taxes we have; it puts more strain on the middle class and working poor than any other group,” Barrett said.
Barrett points to the need for real education reform rather than more spending as the only path to improved performance in the classroom.
“If you’re looking to improve education, there are many systematic things we need to change like the introduction of the Arizona Common Core Standards, paying teachers based on their performance in education, and helping failing schools to improve.”
As an international businessman, Barrett knows that American schools need to improve their global ranking that he calls mediocre in reading and below average in math and science.
“So the Common Core is taking an international benchmark of where U.S. kids need to be in order to be competitive in the world and then adjusting our curriculum to that level,” Barrett said at a recent education conference in Tucson.
The head of the Governor’s Arizona Ready Education Council, Barrett calls education reform a “pretty massive change” that requires curriculum upgrades and teachers capable of handling the curriculum.
Barrett adds that Arizona needs more attention to career and technical education, an emphasis that would make education more relevant to students and would lower the dropout rate.
Barrett is now president and chairman of a charter school group. His wife, Barbara, is the Interim President of the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Craig Barrett has good reasons to oppose Proposition 204. He knows it is the wrong approach to education in Arizona. Voters should listen to his warning and vote no on Proposition 204 on Election Day.
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