Legislature needs to read Constitution

The story about university tuition increasing again seems to fit a pattern. The Legislature criticizes public schools for dropouts and the lack of college preparation, but they won't pay for those graduates to attend college when we succeed. It has to be disheartening and discouraging to students to know that studying hard and making good grades in high school will not pay for college, particularly when the Arizona Constitution requires that, "The university and all other state educational institutions shall be open to students of both sexes, and the instruction furnished shall be as nearly free as possible."

When a voter initiative increased education spending through a tax increase and casino proceeds, Arizona temporarily rose to 44th in the nation in per-pupil spending, but the Legislature simply backed off funding, and the next year, we were down at 49th again. Now it is backing off funding for universities so students have to make up the difference.

Michael T. Martin,

Research analyst for Arizona School Boards Assoc.