Education as a Key to Upward Mobility

I didn’t want people to have to go through what we had to go through when we were growing up. Right now you can see that two of my boys in education. The oldest is David and Carlo, the baby, is in Coolidge coaching in the high school. And we have Dwayne, the second one, who works for the University of Phoenix, and George works for a bank. My wife and I are real proud that we got our four boys out of college. We feel that was really important for us. My parents were not educated. They could not read or write in either language. Second or third grade is as far as they were able to go. In my family, three of us graduated; my brother, my sister and me. My sister is a school teacher and my brother worked with _______________, I think he probably made so much he could own the company. With my wife, she has a brother who finished college and he was a principal. So, we have a lot of family in education.

For Casa Grande, I know we need more buildings, more schools. Where we’ll get the money, I don’t know. We are looking at building a new elementary and a new middle school which they hope to open in the next two years. They’re still going to be behind. They say they’re not, but I think we are because of the way this community is growing.

People in this community have been great to our family, especially to my wife and me. I eat and sleep good. (Laughter) And I hope with what I’ve said helps. I don’t know whether I’ve covered everything you wanted to. There is so much in those 38 years that I’ve been in education—32 here and 6 in Texas. I’ve seen some great kids and I’ve seen some that I could predict when they were little what they would be. When you’re involved with kids you can see what’s going on. But I feel we still need to strive for more.

I know we discuss about the AIMS test [Arizona’s statewide testing system]. It isn’t a particularly good test. I don’t believe the test is the answer for everything. I don’t think testing can give you a good picture of each individual. But for every child to be tested, to pass the AIMS test, or “leave no child behind,” there’s always somebody left behind! I believe that. We don’t live in a perfect world. We’re a long ways from that. By testing the kids all the time, we get kids frustrated. I’m a firm believer in P.E. I believe teaching P.E. to kids is as important as reading and writing. You’ve got to keep the kid happy to get him to do anything for you. But because of the regulations we’ve got right now, it’s so hard for teachers and administrators. I’m glad I retired when I retired. There were so many new rules to follow that we didn’t have to follow in those days. We did what we thought was best for the kids in our community. We didn’t have to listen to those who want to dictate from Phoenix or Washington, D.C.