Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

March 22, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

K-12 Education


  • senator Toni Hellon and Representative Linda Lopez will join Michael Grant to talk about the debate taking place at the legislature over Arizona's K-12 education program. Among the topics are the English Language Learners and gifted programs, and teacher pay raises.
Guests:
  • Toni Helen - State Senator
  • Linda Lopez - Assistant Minority Leader , State House of Representatives


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon, the debate continues over how Arizona should improve K-12 education, the English Language Learning program, of course being the most controversial aspect. A couple of legislators to give us an update. And women and the Arizona work force is the topic of discussion among state policymakers, business and civic leaders and at an upcoming statewide symposium. We'll talk about the conference and the effort to prepare more women for the work place. All that next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the Friends of 8, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to Horizon. Since January legislature has been debating how to best structure next year's education program from the English Language Learners program or E.L.L. to all day kindergarten, teacher pay raises and various other issues. Recently Governor Napolitano allowed house bill 2064 to pass without her signature, therefore allowing the federal judge to review the legislature's E.L.L. plan. The republican backed bill would place an additional $32 million into schools helping decrease classroom size, provide for more teaching materials and tutoring. A federal judge has not yet made a decision on that bill, however last week he ordered the $22 million collected so far from court fines against the state to be immediately put back into schools with E.L.L. programs. Republican leaders disagree with that decision and the debate continues. Today during the governor's media briefing she tabbed about education, answered a question from a kindergartener who asked her what she plans on doing for 5 -year-olds.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
I think you should have the option or the ability to go to kindergarten all day. Are you learning how to read?

Kindergartener:
Yeah.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Learning your letters and some an arithmetic? Numbers? A little bit of numbers, maybe?

Kindergartener:
Yeah.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Some numbers? And you're getting used to being in school and doing all kinds of different activities, right?

Kindergartener:
Yeah.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
And you like it?

Kindergartener:
Yeah.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Yeah. Well, I'd like every Arizona child to have that opportunity and really get a head start on their education. Thank you for asking the question. In my view, in this session we need to produce a good budget for '07 that invest wisely, that continues to invest in education, which I think remains the top priority in Arizona. I think it is sad when the superintendent of public instruction is appealing a ruling that would actually put more money into classrooms. It's a sad state of affairs. I think the superintendent of public instruction ought to be helping us get more funding in to teach English to the students in Arizona, not opposing it at every turn.

Michael Grant:
Joining me tonight to talk about education issues at the legislature are Senator Toni Helen and the Assistant Minority Leader Representative Linda Lopez in the House. Welcome to you both.

Sen. Toni Helen:
Thank you.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Glad to be here.

Michael Grant:
How do we know it wasn't a very short legislator the governor was talking to in that clip?

Sen. Toni Helen:
We couldn't see, could we?

Michael Grant:
That's right. We don't know. Senator Helen, we might as well start with English Language Learning. What's your position on the bill that was passed?

Sen. Toni Helen:
I voted for the bill that was passed. I had voted against the previous bills because it combined corporate tax credits to the E.L.L. plan and I did not believe that they belonged together. So once they stripped that off, and I was in a couple of the last negotiation meetings on the E.L.L. bills, and it became clear, I think to most of us who were in there, that we were not making progress coming closer together on something. So I did vote for the bill, and hoping that it would get to the judge and the judge would make a decision. Help us know what --

Michael Grant:
Precisely what needs to be done?

Sen. Toni Helen:
What needs to be done? We don't have a sense of that.

Michael Grant: In fact, Representative Lopez, in this current -- was it two weeks ago now? I'm having so much fun I'm losing track of time. It might be three weeks ago.

Rep. Linda Lopez: March 3rd when it was allowed to go into law.

Michael Grant:
Three weeks ago. One of the comments at that point in time was that in fact some democrats were urging the governor to go ahead and allow this version to go into law whether she signed it or just sat on it for five days because the feeling was that was the best legislative product absent further guidance from the court that was going to be produced. Was that the consensus opinion?

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Yes, you know, Michael, I was in all of the negotiating meetings. I won't call them negotiations, actually. They were just meetings with the governor, with Senator Aguirre and the republican leadership and Tom Horne. It was very clear early on that we were going to go through the same thing that we went through last year at the end of session where we met, met and met and tried to come to some sort of agreement. And at the end they discounted everything that we had put on the table and went ahead with their own plan. That's what they did this time as well. So you know, in my discussions with the governor and other members of the democratic caucus on both the house and senate we said, we have to just let this go. We can't get anything better. There's nothing better that's going to come of this. We're going to have to get in front of the judge. And so that's why the governor then let it go into law but she wrote a very extensive letter accompanying that, delineating all of the flaws of 2064, which there are many.

Michael Grant:
Senator Helen is it a good bill in your opinion? I know you voted for it, but I don't sense enthusiasm.

Sen. Toni Helen:
Your sense is very good, actually. I wasn't enthusiastic about it. I do think there needs to be more money in it. I'm never in favor of implementing yet a new task force to look at things. That's always something I question.

Michael Grant:
What does the task force do?

Sen. Toni Helen:
It will have to review the progress of the schools that are receiving the funds. They will-- I forget. They determine what the needs are, what programs. Because the way it's set up now, schools will choose from a series of models that they will use to implement for their E.L.L. programs. And based on that they will be funded. So the task force looks at that and evaluates that.

Michael Grant:
Is that one of the reasons for that a concern by the legislature that despite passage by the voters of I believe roughly 6 years ago of English immersion requirements that in fact many school districts are not English immersing, if there is such a word?

Sen. Toni Helen: I would say that's part of it. Another part was that we had people who weren't really trusting one another in this whole process. It's gone on so long that people are suspicious of one another's motives. So a task force is something sort of like a study committee that people consider in the middle and everybody has appointments to that task force. And it helps to mediate something. And that was, I think, in my estimation, that's the role it played in these negotiations.

Michael Grant:
Representative Lopez, one of the controversial aspects is the requirement that the funding will only remain in place for two years.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Exactly. The two-year limit.

Michael Grant:
Right. And why don't you like that?

Rep. Linda Lopez:
For a couple of reasons. First of all, it fails to comply with the court decision at the federal level which says that kids need to be educated for as long as necessary so that they're not only conversant in English but they're also at their maximum level in the rest of their academic subjects. It's also in direct opposition to proposition 203, which you were talking about that passed back in 2000. Proposition 203 does not put a time limit. It says not normally to exceed 12 months but it also says kids should remain in those programs until they are not only able to function in a regular classroom in the English language but that they also maintain their academic studies.

Michael Grant:
Isn't that there a safety valve though on that? Can't you come back and say, hold it. I have a student who simply hasn't gotten it 24 months and I need an additional year of funding.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
There's no guarantee for that funding. No guarantee for two years. They were adamant in the discussions that that needed to be left out. Two-year limit. That's it.

Michael Grant:
I understand there's no guarantee, but there is a process whereby you can apply for additional funding.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
One of the things we did ask for is that school districts could say, we have a student that needs more than two years and they have to apply. But there's no guarantee they would get the funding for the child and they would have to go ahead and continue under the proposition 203 and probably what comes out of the Flores decision is to continue to educate that kid with no funding. But there are other huge major flaws, Michael, with 2064. And I think one of the biggest flaws is the supplant versus supplement for federal funds available for English Language Learners and the desegregation dollars. Those are two huge areas. That's one of-- I believe that's going to be one of the major reasons why I foresee the judge saying you know, this doesn't meet the requirements.

Michael Grant:
Senator Helen, let me go back to the two-year limitation. And Senate President Bennett was on explaining that provision. Basically he was saying that if you don't put something in there, if you stop to think about it, school districts are really not given incentive-- in fact to the contrary -- there is a disincentive for them to move students along. Intuitively that sounds like it might be a problem.

Sen. Toni Helen:
I do understand what they're talking about. I agree to a point there is no incentive. Because if you get funded by the number of students you have in the program, then what is the incentive to move them out of the program?

Michael Grant:
You're getting an additional 450 or 500 or whatever dollars it ends up being.

Sen. Toni Helen:
Whatever it ends up being. So that's part of it. But when you have 91 people, basically, trying to come to an agreement on something, you're going to have some areas that are-- that we're not going to be able to agree on. The huge problem for me is that the longer and longer we delay this, this is 170,000 students in our state, as near as we can tell. And the longer we wait, there are more and more students that are not getting the benefit that they deserve. And so we get so wrapped up in all of us agreeing and all of us, you know, who's right and who's wrong. And we so often forget about what we're trying to do in the first place.

Michael Grant:
Let's say just hypothetically that the federal court has this scheduled for a hearing I think on April 3rd. Who knows when the court will rule? But I assume that the court will try to move on it fairly expeditiously. Let's say the federal court says, no, this is an inadequate plan. When this comes back to the legislature, doesn't the governor and the members of representative Lopez clearly have the upper hand at this point in time?

Sen. Toni Helen:
I'm not sure that I totally agree with that. We fully expect some changes and I would expect the supplanting and things like that maybe not to get the approval of the judge. But no matter what happens, the judge has made it clear that he would like to see this resolved by the end of session. What that probably means to us is that we'll be there longer, be here longer than we thought we were going to be.

Michael Grant:
So if I'm placing a bet in the die pool I should go toward June?

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Go towards June. And maybe a special session.

Michael Grant: Do you agree with my assessment? If the federal judge kicks this you guys are going to be in the catbird's site, aren't you?

Rep. Linda Lopez:
I don't know. I don't want to characterize it that way. But I think what it says is that we've been looking at this carefully and looking at all the legal aspects of it and looking at the consent decree and the judge's decision and trying to respond to that. And that what was in the proposals that we on the democratic side put forward on the table when we were in these meetings. And no matter what we tried to say to the republican leadership about, this is going to violate the constitution, federal law, it's not going to help kids, you know, the judge is going to rule against it, they still wouldn't hear that. So I think what it will do is say, I guess maybe I can say, "Well, I told you so."

Michael Grant:
Yeah, right.

Sen. Toni Helen:
Which she will.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Exactly.

Michael Grant:
I do want to touch on at least the status or maybe the perception feel for a couple of other legislative issues, a couple that the governor highlighted in the state-of-the-state. First wanted to accelerate all day kindergarten from a 5-year program, I guess, to what would be a three-year program. I think this is the third year implementation and fully funded. That's a budget issue, obviously. But senator Helen, what's your feel on that at the current time?

Sen. Toni Helen:
I support that and I think that even in the few budget discussions that we've already had in the senate, we get the sense that that's a possibility. Certainly nothing is in concrete yet. We're not going to go back behind where we are now. And we are going to move forward. I'd like to see us get this completely done. Because now we're starting to hear from parents whose children don't have the program and saying, "all these other schools do and we want to be part of it, too."

Michael Grant:
Are republicans feeling the heat politically on that in an even-numbered year? You just alluded to parental feedback; let me fill in voter feedback here. I mean, do they feel like that's a popular measure and we lose points if we're against that?

Sen. Toni Helen:
Yes. I think it is. It is very popular. And it's not just with the parents, by the way. One of the reasons that all day kindergarten was able to move forward as quickly as it did in the beginning, three years ago, was that the business community got behind it very strongly.

Michael Grant:
Yes.

Sen. Toni Helen:
And they're not backing off from that. They've seen the benefit of it and they do support it. So there's pressure from a lot of different areas and we all will feel that. It's an election year, so yes, there will be more emphasis. But it's been a hot topic in our budgets for three years.

Michael Grant:
Representative Lopez, also on the -- well, the appropriations side of the process, the governor had suggested if I recall correctly a 30,000 base pay level for all teachers. I guess the primary argument that I have heard against that is $30,000 base pay for teachers is certainly a good idea. But I don't know that we ought to be running at the legislature individual district-by-district school-by-school decisions, which might be made, based on factors peculiar to different areas of the state.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Right. And I understand that argument that, you know, we need to have local control. And I'm a huge proponent of local control. I've been a school board member for like 20 years many that's kind of like my mantra. I understand local districts need to be able to do that. I think the idea of making sure the funding is available so that districts can do a minimum of $30,000 entry-level pay. That's the appropriate thing to do. I would hate to see something imposed upon districts where it could interfere with their salary schedules. I know what we go through in my school district in terms of negotiating that salary schedule with our teacher's association. And so I would hate to see that imposed upon us. But I think making the funding available with the understanding that districts set a base pay of 30,000.

Michael Grant:
So in other words, you would ear mark -- that's a very bad word right now but I made it in a positive way -- you would ear mark additional funds to say, if you want to take it up you can but you're not mandated to do it.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Right. Exactly. For instance, in my school district in Tucson, our base pay, our entry-level pay is already beyond 30,000. It's above 30,000. So if there were dollars available to us we could do some more enhancements of merit pay and that sort of thing.

Michael Grant:
Okay. Representative Linda Lopez, thank you very much for joining us.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Thank you.

Michael Grant:
We appreciate it. Senator Toni Helen, good to see you again. For 25 years now Arizona's women's education and employment incorporated has been helping women enter the work place. The organization has helped 33,000 women get into the work place through life and career planning and training and support. Next Thursday and Friday that organization will hold a symposium at the Arizona Biltmore to explore the future of women in the work place. I'll talk to a representative from the group. But first here's a background on the history of women and work.

Mike Sauceda:
In the 50s the only job she was offered was as a secretary at a law firm. A lot has changed for women in the work place since then, but there was a time it was even worse for women who wanted to work. According to NASA quest a website with information pertaining to NASA employees only 17\% of women were in the work force in the united states in the 1890s. Women then worked as teachers, nurses, domestics, field hands or factory workers. In the first part of the 1900s until the 1930s, 20-22\% of women were employed but other fields opened up to them. They were also able to work in offices as telephone operators, sales clerks and even bond brokers by the 1920s. In the 1940s the work opportunities for women exploded as men went off to war. Women worked as welders, riveters, mechanics, ship builders, miners, bus drivers and postal workers. As much at 36\% worked. That dipped down to 30\% in the 1950s and jobs available to women also was reduced. Job opportunities didn't change too much in the 1960s but more women went to work. In the 1970s things started to change for women in the work place. 44\% of women worked and careers in medicine and law opened up to them. In the 1980s more than half of women worked they went into engineering, construction, and computer programming. By the 1990s 75\% of women worked with virtually all jobs opened up to them.

Michael Grant:
Here now to talk about Arizona women's employment and education symposium and women in the work place is Doctor Clara M. Lovett a member of the group's board of directors. Dr. Lovett thanks for being here.

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Thank you for having me.

Michael Grant:
So tell me about the symposium on future of women in work in Arizona.

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Women and work, the future. We are bringing together employers, policymakers and civic leaders to look at what the Arizona work force provides now in terms of opportunities for women and what the Arizona work force is going to need 10, 20, 25-years down the road. It's one way to celebrate 25-years of work in Arizona. Almost 40,000 Arizona residents, most of them women, have gone through the program over 25-years. Earning a good, stable foothold in the work force.

Michael Grant:
Now, precisely what is planned for the symposium? Thursday and Friday --

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Thursday and Friday, March 30 in the afternoon, and March 31st in the morning.

Michael Grant:
And what sort of programs, presentations, features, those kinds of things does the symposium involve?

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
It's organized around three topics. One is women and retirement. Why? Because the baby-boom generation of workers, men and women, is reaching retirement. And there are very serious issues that relate to women in the work force as they approach retirement age. These are national issues but they are also issues in the Arizona work force.

Michael Grant:
Well, so are they issues about women in the work place or women getting out of the work place?

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Women who are now in the work force and are approaching retirement age. Many of them are not-- don't have adequate funding for retirement. And so we will look at those issues. And also look at policies that might be different for the next generation so that we don't end up in the same situation as the baby boomers.

Michael Grant:
Put that issue in a little more context for me. Is it one of discrimination between retirement programs and those kinds of things offered men versus women? And women participated less in 401 k programs?

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
All of the above. If you look at the generation of baby-boomers, which are the largest group in the work force now, nationally as well as in Arizona, women generally are paid less for the same work than men. So they earn less over a lifetime of work. Most women, partly because they raise children, are in and out of the work force during some period of their lives. So they have less time to accumulate. And also, older women who are now approaching retirement age in many cases suffered discrimination that is they had fewer opportunities to build their careers and to diversify their employment than men of similar age.

Michael Grant:
So you put those factors together, if I'm following correctly, you may, for example, impact the level of social security benefits.

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Yes. And also private pensions. Again, women generally have accumulated less over time.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
And so there is an issue of how many women would be able to work longer than the standard retirement age. Can women who are not quite of retirement age, say women in their late 40's and 50's, be retrained so that they move up in the work force and earn more in their last years? This is one topic for the symposium.

Michael Grant:
What about challenges for the "x" generation, the echo booms?

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
That's the second topic. The second topic is balancing work and other adult responsibilities, particularly raising families. And that, of course, the attention will be on women who are younger, in their 30's, 40's, who juggle a lot of responsibilities. Childcare, parental-care in some cases as they try to build their careers. So we will talk about the options that women have and the limitations and what employers can do to facilitate that juggling. And then the third topic is, as we look at the transformation of the Arizona economy, we talk about that all the time from service-based to knowledge-based, are we ready? Are the women in the work force able to support the new economy and are the younger women coming in being prepared adequately?

Michael Grant:
Okay. Doctor Clara M. Lovett, thank you very much for joining us. Best of luck on the symposium.

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Thank you. We hope you'll join us.

Mike Sauceda:
Under Arizona law, breastfeeding could be considered indecent exposure, which can be a felony in some cases. But state lawmakers are working to change the law to allow women to breastfeed in public places. That would put Arizona law in line with 31 other states. Learn more Thursday at 7 on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
And of course on Friday we will have our Journalists' Roundtable right here at this not very round table when we will take a look back at the week's happenings and headlines. Thank you very much for joining us this evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a terrific one. Good night.

Women and Work


  • For 25 years, Arizona Women’s Education and Employment Incorporated has helped women move into the workforce. Dr. Clara Lovett, President Emerita of Northern Arizona University, will talk about an upcoming AWEE symposium on the future of women in the work force.
Guests:
  • Toni Helen - State Senator
  • Linda Lopez - Assistant Minority Leader , State House of Representatives


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon, the debate continues over how Arizona should improve K-12 education, the English Language Learning program, of course being the most controversial aspect. A couple of legislators to give us an update. And women and the Arizona work force is the topic of discussion among state policymakers, business and civic leaders and at an upcoming statewide symposium. We'll talk about the conference and the effort to prepare more women for the work place. All that next on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the Friends of 8, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. I'm Michael Grant. Welcome to Horizon. Since January legislature has been debating how to best structure next year's education program from the English Language Learners program or E.L.L. to all day kindergarten, teacher pay raises and various other issues. Recently Governor Napolitano allowed house bill 2064 to pass without her signature, therefore allowing the federal judge to review the legislature's E.L.L. plan. The republican backed bill would place an additional $32 million into schools helping decrease classroom size, provide for more teaching materials and tutoring. A federal judge has not yet made a decision on that bill, however last week he ordered the $22 million collected so far from court fines against the state to be immediately put back into schools with E.L.L. programs. Republican leaders disagree with that decision and the debate continues. Today during the governor's media briefing she tabbed about education, answered a question from a kindergartener who asked her what she plans on doing for 5 -year-olds.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
I think you should have the option or the ability to go to kindergarten all day. Are you learning how to read?

Kindergartener:
Yeah.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Learning your letters and some an arithmetic? Numbers? A little bit of numbers, maybe?

Kindergartener:
Yeah.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Some numbers? And you're getting used to being in school and doing all kinds of different activities, right?

Kindergartener:
Yeah.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
And you like it?

Kindergartener:
Yeah.

Gov. Janet Napolitano:
Yeah. Well, I'd like every Arizona child to have that opportunity and really get a head start on their education. Thank you for asking the question. In my view, in this session we need to produce a good budget for '07 that invest wisely, that continues to invest in education, which I think remains the top priority in Arizona. I think it is sad when the superintendent of public instruction is appealing a ruling that would actually put more money into classrooms. It's a sad state of affairs. I think the superintendent of public instruction ought to be helping us get more funding in to teach English to the students in Arizona, not opposing it at every turn.

Michael Grant:
Joining me tonight to talk about education issues at the legislature are Senator Toni Helen and the Assistant Minority Leader Representative Linda Lopez in the House. Welcome to you both.

Sen. Toni Helen:
Thank you.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Glad to be here.

Michael Grant:
How do we know it wasn't a very short legislator the governor was talking to in that clip?

Sen. Toni Helen:
We couldn't see, could we?

Michael Grant:
That's right. We don't know. Senator Helen, we might as well start with English Language Learning. What's your position on the bill that was passed?

Sen. Toni Helen:
I voted for the bill that was passed. I had voted against the previous bills because it combined corporate tax credits to the E.L.L. plan and I did not believe that they belonged together. So once they stripped that off, and I was in a couple of the last negotiation meetings on the E.L.L. bills, and it became clear, I think to most of us who were in there, that we were not making progress coming closer together on something. So I did vote for the bill, and hoping that it would get to the judge and the judge would make a decision. Help us know what --

Michael Grant:
Precisely what needs to be done?

Sen. Toni Helen:
What needs to be done? We don't have a sense of that.

Michael Grant: In fact, Representative Lopez, in this current -- was it two weeks ago now? I'm having so much fun I'm losing track of time. It might be three weeks ago.

Rep. Linda Lopez: March 3rd when it was allowed to go into law.

Michael Grant:
Three weeks ago. One of the comments at that point in time was that in fact some democrats were urging the governor to go ahead and allow this version to go into law whether she signed it or just sat on it for five days because the feeling was that was the best legislative product absent further guidance from the court that was going to be produced. Was that the consensus opinion?

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Yes, you know, Michael, I was in all of the negotiating meetings. I won't call them negotiations, actually. They were just meetings with the governor, with Senator Aguirre and the republican leadership and Tom Horne. It was very clear early on that we were going to go through the same thing that we went through last year at the end of session where we met, met and met and tried to come to some sort of agreement. And at the end they discounted everything that we had put on the table and went ahead with their own plan. That's what they did this time as well. So you know, in my discussions with the governor and other members of the democratic caucus on both the house and senate we said, we have to just let this go. We can't get anything better. There's nothing better that's going to come of this. We're going to have to get in front of the judge. And so that's why the governor then let it go into law but she wrote a very extensive letter accompanying that, delineating all of the flaws of 2064, which there are many.

Michael Grant:
Senator Helen is it a good bill in your opinion? I know you voted for it, but I don't sense enthusiasm.

Sen. Toni Helen:
Your sense is very good, actually. I wasn't enthusiastic about it. I do think there needs to be more money in it. I'm never in favor of implementing yet a new task force to look at things. That's always something I question.

Michael Grant:
What does the task force do?

Sen. Toni Helen:
It will have to review the progress of the schools that are receiving the funds. They will-- I forget. They determine what the needs are, what programs. Because the way it's set up now, schools will choose from a series of models that they will use to implement for their E.L.L. programs. And based on that they will be funded. So the task force looks at that and evaluates that.

Michael Grant:
Is that one of the reasons for that a concern by the legislature that despite passage by the voters of I believe roughly 6 years ago of English immersion requirements that in fact many school districts are not English immersing, if there is such a word?

Sen. Toni Helen: I would say that's part of it. Another part was that we had people who weren't really trusting one another in this whole process. It's gone on so long that people are suspicious of one another's motives. So a task force is something sort of like a study committee that people consider in the middle and everybody has appointments to that task force. And it helps to mediate something. And that was, I think, in my estimation, that's the role it played in these negotiations.

Michael Grant:
Representative Lopez, one of the controversial aspects is the requirement that the funding will only remain in place for two years.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Exactly. The two-year limit.

Michael Grant:
Right. And why don't you like that?

Rep. Linda Lopez:
For a couple of reasons. First of all, it fails to comply with the court decision at the federal level which says that kids need to be educated for as long as necessary so that they're not only conversant in English but they're also at their maximum level in the rest of their academic subjects. It's also in direct opposition to proposition 203, which you were talking about that passed back in 2000. Proposition 203 does not put a time limit. It says not normally to exceed 12 months but it also says kids should remain in those programs until they are not only able to function in a regular classroom in the English language but that they also maintain their academic studies.

Michael Grant:
Isn't that there a safety valve though on that? Can't you come back and say, hold it. I have a student who simply hasn't gotten it 24 months and I need an additional year of funding.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
There's no guarantee for that funding. No guarantee for two years. They were adamant in the discussions that that needed to be left out. Two-year limit. That's it.

Michael Grant:
I understand there's no guarantee, but there is a process whereby you can apply for additional funding.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
One of the things we did ask for is that school districts could say, we have a student that needs more than two years and they have to apply. But there's no guarantee they would get the funding for the child and they would have to go ahead and continue under the proposition 203 and probably what comes out of the Flores decision is to continue to educate that kid with no funding. But there are other huge major flaws, Michael, with 2064. And I think one of the biggest flaws is the supplant versus supplement for federal funds available for English Language Learners and the desegregation dollars. Those are two huge areas. That's one of-- I believe that's going to be one of the major reasons why I foresee the judge saying you know, this doesn't meet the requirements.

Michael Grant:
Senator Helen, let me go back to the two-year limitation. And Senate President Bennett was on explaining that provision. Basically he was saying that if you don't put something in there, if you stop to think about it, school districts are really not given incentive-- in fact to the contrary -- there is a disincentive for them to move students along. Intuitively that sounds like it might be a problem.

Sen. Toni Helen:
I do understand what they're talking about. I agree to a point there is no incentive. Because if you get funded by the number of students you have in the program, then what is the incentive to move them out of the program?

Michael Grant:
You're getting an additional 450 or 500 or whatever dollars it ends up being.

Sen. Toni Helen:
Whatever it ends up being. So that's part of it. But when you have 91 people, basically, trying to come to an agreement on something, you're going to have some areas that are-- that we're not going to be able to agree on. The huge problem for me is that the longer and longer we delay this, this is 170,000 students in our state, as near as we can tell. And the longer we wait, there are more and more students that are not getting the benefit that they deserve. And so we get so wrapped up in all of us agreeing and all of us, you know, who's right and who's wrong. And we so often forget about what we're trying to do in the first place.

Michael Grant:
Let's say just hypothetically that the federal court has this scheduled for a hearing I think on April 3rd. Who knows when the court will rule? But I assume that the court will try to move on it fairly expeditiously. Let's say the federal court says, no, this is an inadequate plan. When this comes back to the legislature, doesn't the governor and the members of representative Lopez clearly have the upper hand at this point in time?

Sen. Toni Helen:
I'm not sure that I totally agree with that. We fully expect some changes and I would expect the supplanting and things like that maybe not to get the approval of the judge. But no matter what happens, the judge has made it clear that he would like to see this resolved by the end of session. What that probably means to us is that we'll be there longer, be here longer than we thought we were going to be.

Michael Grant:
So if I'm placing a bet in the die pool I should go toward June?

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Go towards June. And maybe a special session.

Michael Grant: Do you agree with my assessment? If the federal judge kicks this you guys are going to be in the catbird's site, aren't you?

Rep. Linda Lopez:
I don't know. I don't want to characterize it that way. But I think what it says is that we've been looking at this carefully and looking at all the legal aspects of it and looking at the consent decree and the judge's decision and trying to respond to that. And that what was in the proposals that we on the democratic side put forward on the table when we were in these meetings. And no matter what we tried to say to the republican leadership about, this is going to violate the constitution, federal law, it's not going to help kids, you know, the judge is going to rule against it, they still wouldn't hear that. So I think what it will do is say, I guess maybe I can say, "Well, I told you so."

Michael Grant:
Yeah, right.

Sen. Toni Helen:
Which she will.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Exactly.

Michael Grant:
I do want to touch on at least the status or maybe the perception feel for a couple of other legislative issues, a couple that the governor highlighted in the state-of-the-state. First wanted to accelerate all day kindergarten from a 5-year program, I guess, to what would be a three-year program. I think this is the third year implementation and fully funded. That's a budget issue, obviously. But senator Helen, what's your feel on that at the current time?

Sen. Toni Helen:
I support that and I think that even in the few budget discussions that we've already had in the senate, we get the sense that that's a possibility. Certainly nothing is in concrete yet. We're not going to go back behind where we are now. And we are going to move forward. I'd like to see us get this completely done. Because now we're starting to hear from parents whose children don't have the program and saying, "all these other schools do and we want to be part of it, too."

Michael Grant:
Are republicans feeling the heat politically on that in an even-numbered year? You just alluded to parental feedback; let me fill in voter feedback here. I mean, do they feel like that's a popular measure and we lose points if we're against that?

Sen. Toni Helen:
Yes. I think it is. It is very popular. And it's not just with the parents, by the way. One of the reasons that all day kindergarten was able to move forward as quickly as it did in the beginning, three years ago, was that the business community got behind it very strongly.

Michael Grant:
Yes.

Sen. Toni Helen:
And they're not backing off from that. They've seen the benefit of it and they do support it. So there's pressure from a lot of different areas and we all will feel that. It's an election year, so yes, there will be more emphasis. But it's been a hot topic in our budgets for three years.

Michael Grant:
Representative Lopez, also on the -- well, the appropriations side of the process, the governor had suggested if I recall correctly a 30,000 base pay level for all teachers. I guess the primary argument that I have heard against that is $30,000 base pay for teachers is certainly a good idea. But I don't know that we ought to be running at the legislature individual district-by-district school-by-school decisions, which might be made, based on factors peculiar to different areas of the state.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Right. And I understand that argument that, you know, we need to have local control. And I'm a huge proponent of local control. I've been a school board member for like 20 years many that's kind of like my mantra. I understand local districts need to be able to do that. I think the idea of making sure the funding is available so that districts can do a minimum of $30,000 entry-level pay. That's the appropriate thing to do. I would hate to see something imposed upon districts where it could interfere with their salary schedules. I know what we go through in my school district in terms of negotiating that salary schedule with our teacher's association. And so I would hate to see that imposed upon us. But I think making the funding available with the understanding that districts set a base pay of 30,000.

Michael Grant:
So in other words, you would ear mark -- that's a very bad word right now but I made it in a positive way -- you would ear mark additional funds to say, if you want to take it up you can but you're not mandated to do it.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Right. Exactly. For instance, in my school district in Tucson, our base pay, our entry-level pay is already beyond 30,000. It's above 30,000. So if there were dollars available to us we could do some more enhancements of merit pay and that sort of thing.

Michael Grant:
Okay. Representative Linda Lopez, thank you very much for joining us.

Rep. Linda Lopez:
Thank you.

Michael Grant:
We appreciate it. Senator Toni Helen, good to see you again. For 25 years now Arizona's women's education and employment incorporated has been helping women enter the work place. The organization has helped 33,000 women get into the work place through life and career planning and training and support. Next Thursday and Friday that organization will hold a symposium at the Arizona Biltmore to explore the future of women in the work place. I'll talk to a representative from the group. But first here's a background on the history of women and work.

Mike Sauceda:
In the 50s the only job she was offered was as a secretary at a law firm. A lot has changed for women in the work place since then, but there was a time it was even worse for women who wanted to work. According to NASA quest a website with information pertaining to NASA employees only 17\% of women were in the work force in the united states in the 1890s. Women then worked as teachers, nurses, domestics, field hands or factory workers. In the first part of the 1900s until the 1930s, 20-22\% of women were employed but other fields opened up to them. They were also able to work in offices as telephone operators, sales clerks and even bond brokers by the 1920s. In the 1940s the work opportunities for women exploded as men went off to war. Women worked as welders, riveters, mechanics, ship builders, miners, bus drivers and postal workers. As much at 36\% worked. That dipped down to 30\% in the 1950s and jobs available to women also was reduced. Job opportunities didn't change too much in the 1960s but more women went to work. In the 1970s things started to change for women in the work place. 44\% of women worked and careers in medicine and law opened up to them. In the 1980s more than half of women worked they went into engineering, construction, and computer programming. By the 1990s 75\% of women worked with virtually all jobs opened up to them.

Michael Grant:
Here now to talk about Arizona women's employment and education symposium and women in the work place is Doctor Clara M. Lovett a member of the group's board of directors. Dr. Lovett thanks for being here.

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Thank you for having me.

Michael Grant:
So tell me about the symposium on future of women in work in Arizona.

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Women and work, the future. We are bringing together employers, policymakers and civic leaders to look at what the Arizona work force provides now in terms of opportunities for women and what the Arizona work force is going to need 10, 20, 25-years down the road. It's one way to celebrate 25-years of work in Arizona. Almost 40,000 Arizona residents, most of them women, have gone through the program over 25-years. Earning a good, stable foothold in the work force.

Michael Grant:
Now, precisely what is planned for the symposium? Thursday and Friday --

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Thursday and Friday, March 30 in the afternoon, and March 31st in the morning.

Michael Grant:
And what sort of programs, presentations, features, those kinds of things does the symposium involve?

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
It's organized around three topics. One is women and retirement. Why? Because the baby-boom generation of workers, men and women, is reaching retirement. And there are very serious issues that relate to women in the work force as they approach retirement age. These are national issues but they are also issues in the Arizona work force.

Michael Grant:
Well, so are they issues about women in the work place or women getting out of the work place?

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Women who are now in the work force and are approaching retirement age. Many of them are not-- don't have adequate funding for retirement. And so we will look at those issues. And also look at policies that might be different for the next generation so that we don't end up in the same situation as the baby boomers.

Michael Grant:
Put that issue in a little more context for me. Is it one of discrimination between retirement programs and those kinds of things offered men versus women? And women participated less in 401 k programs?

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
All of the above. If you look at the generation of baby-boomers, which are the largest group in the work force now, nationally as well as in Arizona, women generally are paid less for the same work than men. So they earn less over a lifetime of work. Most women, partly because they raise children, are in and out of the work force during some period of their lives. So they have less time to accumulate. And also, older women who are now approaching retirement age in many cases suffered discrimination that is they had fewer opportunities to build their careers and to diversify their employment than men of similar age.

Michael Grant:
So you put those factors together, if I'm following correctly, you may, for example, impact the level of social security benefits.

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Yes. And also private pensions. Again, women generally have accumulated less over time.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
And so there is an issue of how many women would be able to work longer than the standard retirement age. Can women who are not quite of retirement age, say women in their late 40's and 50's, be retrained so that they move up in the work force and earn more in their last years? This is one topic for the symposium.

Michael Grant:
What about challenges for the "x" generation, the echo booms?

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
That's the second topic. The second topic is balancing work and other adult responsibilities, particularly raising families. And that, of course, the attention will be on women who are younger, in their 30's, 40's, who juggle a lot of responsibilities. Childcare, parental-care in some cases as they try to build their careers. So we will talk about the options that women have and the limitations and what employers can do to facilitate that juggling. And then the third topic is, as we look at the transformation of the Arizona economy, we talk about that all the time from service-based to knowledge-based, are we ready? Are the women in the work force able to support the new economy and are the younger women coming in being prepared adequately?

Michael Grant:
Okay. Doctor Clara M. Lovett, thank you very much for joining us. Best of luck on the symposium.

Dr. Clara M. Lovett:
Thank you. We hope you'll join us.

Mike Sauceda:
Under Arizona law, breastfeeding could be considered indecent exposure, which can be a felony in some cases. But state lawmakers are working to change the law to allow women to breastfeed in public places. That would put Arizona law in line with 31 other states. Learn more Thursday at 7 on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
And of course on Friday we will have our Journalists' Roundtable right here at this not very round table when we will take a look back at the week's happenings and headlines. Thank you very much for joining us this evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a terrific one. Good night.

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