One day after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won primary elections in five states, she’s turning some attention to Arizona, which holds its presidential preference vote Tuesday.
New Times got an exclusive look at a new ad set to air later today that draws attention to the abysmal state of Arizona’s public-education system:
“Arizona’s schools rank 45th in the nation. Dead last in funding per student,” the ad begins, the narrator speaking in the requisite ominous voice of political ads, of course. “Hillary knows our kids deserve better.”
Then cue the uplifting music and a montage of Clinton posing with children and diploma-waving high school graduates.
After that, the 30-second video quickly launches into an overview of her education platform: universal pre-kindergarten education, empowering teachers, and helping students graduate from college “without crushing debt.”
We’ve heard a lot from both Democratic candidates about the absurd cost of higher education and about empowering teachers throughout this election season, but much less focus has been paid to the idea of providing free preschool for every child.
A 2015 report by Education Week found that Arizona ranks 49th in the nation for the number of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool and last when it comes to enrollment among 3- and 4-year-olds living below the poverty line.
“[Clinton’s] proposal would work to ensure that every 4-year-old in America has access to high-quality preschool in the next 10 years,” a statement from her campaigns says. “It would do so by providing new federal funding for states that expand access to quality preschool for all 4-year-olds.”
Clinton’s main rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, also has championed better early-childhood education. He told his state’s Legislature in 2014: “There is perhaps no issue more important than how we educate our youth. I am very concerned that, on many levels, we are failing our youth. We must do away with the archaic notion that education begins at 4 or 5 years old. For far too long, our society has undervalued the need for high-quality and widely accessible early-childhood education.”
Speaking about the new ad, Tim Hogan of the Clinton campaign tells New Times: "Arizona students need a president who will fight for them, and the candidate with the strongest commitment to do so is Hillary Clinton. She believes that every child in Arizona should be guaranteed a high-quality education, regardless of their ZIP code, which is why she has been working to improve and support public schools for decades.
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"She also knows we must end the crushing burden of college debt on families, which is why she has proposed a comprehensive New College Compact so that costs won’t be a barrier and debt won't hold students back."
Watch the new ad: