At a recent town-hall meeting in Tucson, local business leaders took up education in the state of Arizona. They examined state support for public colleges — among the lowest in the country — and fretted about their future work force, says Gary D. Rhoades, a professor of higher education at the University of Arizona. They had even gone to the statehouse to meet with legislators, he heard at the town hall. “If you need to raise taxes,” the businessmen had told their representatives, “we’ll give you political cover.”
To their surprise, the professor recalls, the legislators waved off their requests. One reportedly said: “Those kids don’t need college.”
In a state where 60 percent of schoolchildren are Hispanic, and the legislature is overwhelmingly white, the words “those kids” have meaning.
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