Letter: Out of poverty, out of date, out of touch


“There are two ways out of poverty, marrying up or getting an education.”

This old adage was recently repeated by Yavapai College President Penelope Wills on a radio talk show. It highlights just how out of date and out of touch the thinking is at the top of the county’s higher education leadership.

One of the outcomes of this thinking is having Verde Valley resources being pulled away to build new facilities and hire more faculty and administrators in Prescott. And we see it when the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee — the only committee established to help advise and inform the Central Administration in Prescott about the educational needs in the Verde Valley — is suspended and silenced.

Evidence of the systematic looting of Verde Valley resources for the embellishment of Prescott is clear. Ten years ago, the Verde Valley campus had 450 class offerings and now there are one-third as many. There use to be 24 full-time instructors, now fewer than 15, and, yet, our tax dollars continue to flow over the mountain in increasing amounts.

Residents of the valley have been subsidizing the economic development of Prescott to the detriment of its own growth for decades. The Verde Valley has been harmed by this unfair distribution of tax dollars, and it will continue being harmed for decades more unless residents demand a permanent change in the system.

President Penelope Wills may feel comfortable telling young people in the valley that their best chance to get ahead in life is to “marry up,” but I suspect most residents feel otherwise. Despite recent efforts by the college administration to quiet local dissent there will be an ongoing effort by valley officials and leaders to develop plans for our own Verde Valley Community College knowing that “the best way out of poverty is obtaining an education… one that valley residents are already paying for.”

Ruth Wicks



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The_Uppity_Peasant 2 years, 5 months ago

I think that all of us graduates who are buried in student loan debt would strongly disagree. I grew up poor, have been poor and working most of my adult life, but at least I was not in debt. As you suggest, colleges and universities are out of touch and, in my opinion, running nothing more than fraudulent schemes and enterprises.

This is especially true of the so-called Humanities, including history, which are a complete waste of taxpayer money. The discipline of history especially has been monopolized by students from middle class and upper class backgrounds, and whether they know it or not, they are promoting a version of history that is nothing more than an interpretation, narratives that perpetuate the status quo. It is even worse in the elementary and secondary schools, who brainwash our kids into being good little worker bees, you know the kind that take orders well.

Our education system, economy, and society has waged war on anyone who seeks to criticize the status quo, who seeks to undermine the power of those in charge. Ironically, this most American of all acts (we WERE founded by revolutionaries), has now been deemed traitorous. Be careful about speaking truth to power in THIS country, for they may not torture you directly, but they will make sure you cannot work, that you suffer immensely, and that you die in the gutter. I tip my hat to all who have experienced such persecution, you are the true Americans.


mepkrl 2 years, 2 months ago

Today I heard Dr. Penelope Wills reference a book which argues, "There are two ways out of poverty: marrying up or community college." I wanted to find the source and accidently landed here. I think a more obvious interpretation of the line would be that marrying up simply is not an option, ergo the way out of poverty is {community} college. I think reporting that the intended meaning as you have is irresponsible. Community college offers personal empowerment and increased income prospects without going into debt. Many students are scholarshipped or receiving student aid. Many earn scholarships for university while attending community college. Whatever other truths you may be presenting in this article, I am immediately suspect due to your mishandling of the quote. I'd be more inclined to listen and understand if you presented more data and made less character attacks.