Quiet Crisis



            During this time of the year, our district begins to get ready for the oncoming flu season by offering district employees flu shots and instructing students on how to wash their hands properly to help prevent the spread of germs. Although the flu is a major concern in Pinal County, there is an even bigger epidemic that is sweeping across the county.  This epidemic is that high school graduating seniors do not pursue higher education.  During my high school years, one could drop out of school and enter the work force by working in the area copper mines.  However, our times and the economy have changed and high school graduates must now obtain higher education or they will not be able to compete in our 21st century economy.

Dr. John D. Haegar, President of Northern Arizona University, calls this phenomenon of not pursuing higher education the “Quiet Crisis”.  Dr. Haeger also states that Arizona college completion rates are 46th in the nation and that in Arizona nine out of every 100 ninth-graders go on to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Research indicates many students who do not attain higher education or drop out of school altogether later become a burden on society by having to apply for subsidized medical health care because their current jobs do not offer health insurance.  And in some circumstances, individuals turn to a life of crime.

            As educators we need to help cure the epidemic.  Just as we inoculate our children against childhood diseases at a young age, we need to start educating our children at a young age about the advantages of attaining higher education.

In my next blog, I will outline my “Health Care Plan” to help cure the Quiet Crisis.


Manuel Chavez

Manuel Chavez

San Manuel, AZ

My name is Manuel Michael Chavez Jr. My greatest contribution to education is being able to relate my 20 years of work experience to my students, which I obtained while working for Magma/BHP Copper, one of the largest underground copper mines in the world. My intentions had been to work for Magma Copper Company for the summer and return to school the following fall to pursue my dream of becoming an educator. Twenty years later, I was still employed with Magma Copper and had held various underground mining positions with the last position being a heavy equipment mechanic. In 1999, the mine announced complete closure and I had been forced and given a second opportunity to pursue my dream. What a bittersweet life-changing event in my life. I obtained my Bachelor’s of Science degree in education from NAU and have been teaching for the Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District in Southwest Arizona for nine years and am pursuing National Board Certification. In 2009, I was selected as an Ambassador for Excellence for the Arizona Educational Foundation and currently sit on the Board of Directors for Sun Life Family Health Care Clinics and the WestEd organization. It is my belief that by intertwining my classroom lessons with my own life experiences and providing my students real world life scenarios, students become engaged in the lessons and develop a desire to learn.

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