Educator studies for Arizona Town Hall

KINGMAN - Bea Yazzie is dealing with more homework than she assigns to her first-graders at Hualapai Elementary School.

Yazzie, who is of Navajo descent, is reading through a seven-chapter book concerning "Who Will Teach Our Children" to prepare her as a representative to the 92nd Arizona Town Hall to be held April 27-30 in Prescott.

She was nominated to attend by Kingman Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Betsy Parker, who also will represent the district. "It's a lot of reading and it's all interconnected," Yazzie said. "I can't say one chapter is more important than another because it talks about qualifications of teachers as well as demographics of children."

An executive summary breaks down the chapters of the book as follows in sequence: number of teachers in the state, including their distribution and qualifications and sources of new teachers to accommodate student growth, replace teachers who leave and support possible changes in educational programs; growth and characteristics of student population in the state; state and federal policies that have an impact on quantity and quality of teachers for our children; costs of teaching to both districts and teachers; developments in two special areas of concern for teaching, namely early childhood education/care and preparation of science and math teachers (two chapters); and challenges of leadership for teaching.

"I hope that what comes out of it will be something that benefits schools, teachers and mainly students," Yazzie said. "Any decision will ultimately affect students."

Keynote speakers scheduled are Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation; Gov. Janet Napolitano; Marc Tucker, president and chief executive officer of the National Center on Education and the Economy; and Tara Jackson, president of Arizona Town Hall.

Panel discussion times dot the agenda.

"I think recommendations coming out of Town Hall will be taken seriously by the governor and state Department of Education," Parker said.

"When I look at the list of people participating, I see it as a group that will work really hard to make an impact."