The Expect More Arizona movement for world-class education in Arizona depends on Arizonans across our state raising their voices in support of our students and our schools. One infamous Arizonan, however, has been very vocal about his lack of support for quality education in our state. Gerald, from the iconic Arizona children’s show, “The Wallace and Ladmo Show,” reemerged from seclusion this summer in Expect More Arizona’s “A Message from Gerald.”
In the satirical video, Pat McMahon revives his alter ego, Gerald, who implores Arizonans to “keep their expectations low — real low.” After the video, viewers were encouraged to respond to Gerald’s message of complacency. Just as they did as kids watching Gerald on television for 35 years, Arizonans received Gerald’s message with a resounding, “Boo!” The messages to Gerald we received reminded us that we are not alone in our mission to make Arizona’s education system the best in the nation and to make postsecondary education possible for all children, regardless of their ZIP code, background or financial status.
To date, we’ve received more than 7,500 video views, with more than 650 responses to Gerald. Here are a few powerful responses that exemplify these messages and show our state’s support of a world-class education:
• “Allow me to politely disagree with you Gerald. I had the good fortune to attend school in Arizona, all the way through graduate school at Arizona State University. This education allowed me to get the job I have now working in Houston in Mission Control. You asked where will a higher education lead you? To the stars themselves!” — Michael H.
• “Our children deserve the best we can possibly offer them. We are doing them a disservice by offering less than the best. Our children are the future of Arizona. We must support, encourage, and stand behind them as they achieve all they can.” — Deb H.
• “As an educator I try to bring that ‘Ladmo Bag’ to my classroom every day. As a native growing up with you and ‘The Wallace and Ladmo Show,’ I learned a lot as a child. Although the show is no longer here, I know that quality in education still exists. I support Expect More Arizona for my children, the children I teach and the children of Arizona.” — Angela P.
In addition, we recently polled Arizona voters and found that nine out of 10 agree that every child should have access to a world-class education regardless of race or ethnicity, family income or ZIP code. These statements are true across a wide range of audiences, including parents, non-parents and political parties, and reinforce what we see everyday: Arizonans are rallying together to ensure our education system prepares our students to be successful in college, career and life.
Expect More Arizona is proud to stand along the many Arizonans who reject Gerald’s message of mediocrity in favor of world-class education in Arizona. It is only with your support that Arizona’s students will reach their highest potential, our state will thrive and the Geralds of the world will see the power of high expectations.
• Pearl Chang Esau is president and CEO of Expect More Arizona, a non-partisan education advocacy organization that is building a movement of Arizonans who are committed to ensuring all Arizona students receive a world-class education.