Daily Rundown   |  May 03, 2013

Education Nation: Arizona

NBC’s Chuck Todd joins The Daily Rundown guest host Peter Alexander live from the NBC Education Nation on the road tour in Phoenix, Arizona to talk about the state of education in the Arizona.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> heading out to arizona where chuck is taking part in the 2013 education nation on the road tour across the country. education nation, of course, is nbc news ongoing initiative to engage the country in a solutions focused conversation about the state of education in america . chuck joining us now live from phoenix. good morning to you, nice to see you. chuck, give us a sense. what's the state of education in phoenix? why is the focus on arizona ? they spent, i think, 49th in the country per pupil spending in thatyear, we partner with a lot of our affiliates in different states and in different cities where there have been some challenges, and the entire state of arizona to put it bluntly has a challenging issue when it comes to education . you brought up the per pupil ranking, 49th out of 50, yet when you think about how fast-growing arizona is, the challenges they have and that they have a lot of students where english is a second language, for me, it's somewhat familiar. this is how i grew up in the '70s and '80s in miami, in south florida , when it was growing like crazy, had sort of this culture clash , if you will, and you can see when you dig deep into what's going on here, a lot of this has to do with sort of old political guard not ready to change the infrastructure, if you will, to modernize the education system , to handle all the new students, new types of students, new types of challenges. it really is sort of a mess here. they've got some interesting pilot programs. we're going to highlight those. they're trying different things, they're trying to see if they can figure it out, but the big picture in arizona when it comes to education is pretty bleak.

>> you're moderating a series of panels today. i want to get a sense of what the focus is on those panels, some of the guests you'll be visiting with.

>> well, we're going to get, you know, arizona 's one of the few states that actually elects its chief education government officer, if you will. they call it the state public -- i believe the state public superintendent of public instruction . so we're going to have that person here. we're going to have a lot of the state speaker of the house , lot of the leaders here, to try to get at what is this issue, why has it been so hard to either push for new funding mechanisms to help with these challenges that the schools are having. they've got a lot of goals. arizona is one of these states that have signed on to a lot of the national goals when it comes to reading. a lot of different things. but there's no funding behind it. so that's going to be a large part of the conversation is that, you know, you can set all the goals that you want on teachers, on students, on when everybody reads, but if you can't fund it, for the people that you're holding back, for the extra work that has to be done, then it's not going to work.

>> chuck todd , at education nation, around the cross country tour. today's stop in phoenix, arizona . chuck, we appreciate it. thanks for letting me fill in