This year, Arizona Directions assesses the health of both ends of the P-20 spectrum: early childcare and education and the high school /postsecondary-to-industry nexus. Both are viewed through the lens of Arizona’s current competitive position and its trajectory through the broader economic landscape. How well does Arizona regulate, promote and ensure equitable access to quality early childcare and to programs that help children enter Kindergarten ready to learn? Does Arizona’s production of graduates and skilled workers align with current and projected industry needs? In other words, are we setting our children up to succeed in the new global economy? At the same time, are we creating a talent pool that will help Arizona stand out as the place to start and grow a business?
Arizona Directions’ data-driven approach enables Arizonans to step back and examine the evidence without the distraction of clashing political rhetoric. The report is designed to create a common reference point for civil discourse and post-partisan, collaborative approaches to improving Arizona’s competitiveness. Still, the data are merely the kindling. Many minds are needed to stoke the fire and convert its energy into real-world results.