• Our Work, Achievements & Beliefs

  • The Arizona Business & Education Coalition (ABEC) is the coalition of Arizona business and education leaders committed to help create public education policy essential to a vibrant, growing Arizona economy.  The coalition is a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, statewide membership organization focused on K-12 public education, while recognizing the importance of early childhood development, post-secondary education and workforce development.


    What we do.

    Convene - ABEC provides reliable information and insight on education and convenes regular forums to increase members' knowledge and ability to impact K-12 education's direction and quality.

    Connect - ABEC offers ongoing opportunity for statewide networking between and among education and business leaders, and direct access to the people who are shaping Arizona education policy and practice.

    Collaborate - Building on its strong reputation, ABEC collaborates with other major stakeholders in framing and advocating informed policy positions to key decision makers.

    Create - ABEC leads the creation of a nonpartisan environment and platform for shaping long term education policy and financing, built on hard facts and practical experience.


    What We Achieved.

    • Provided high profile leadership in the successful campaign to restore $29 million in funding for public school JTED/CTE programs.

    • Produced and communicated to legislative leaders, opinion leaders and media ABEC's principled positions on major tax policy bills presented during the 2016 session.

    • Established a $3 million ongoing energy-saving pilot program for school districts approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission; exploring additional revenue-generating initiatives in collaboration with superintendents and utility companies across the state.

    • Engaged key legislators from both parties in address most challenging, complex education issues on an on-going basis.

    • Expanded ABEC's Middle School Career Exploration Project and sharply increased number of business partners participating in this successful program

    • Received major media coverage of ABEC's strong opposition to steady expansion of a wide range of tax credits approved by Arizona Legislature, which seriously undermine state's capacity to fund education and other core services


    ABEC Beliefs & Operating Principles

    ABEC will work to find common ground on key statewide issues that affect student achievement and workforce development and will influence others based on that consensus, promoting the relationship between strong schools and strong economic development.

    To this end, ABEC members will commit to learning from each other through respectful dialogue, finding common ground and taking bold action based on that consensus.


    ABEC’s work and processes will reflect the quality of its leadership and participants. Positions will be credible, fact based, thoughtful and designed to provide measureable outcomes. Participation will represent decision makers and, when appropriate, minority opinion will be recognized when consensus cannot be reached.

    To this end, we will invest the time and effort it takes to reach consensus, if possible. We are committed to open and honest dialogue, active participation, listening, and a respectful demeanor. We insist on research to support our positions and avoid unsubstantiated opinions. We will commit to the focus of the group, rather than getting side-tracked.  If results are not good enough to get or stay in the game, we will agree to disagree. When consensus is not achievable we will recognize the validity of minority opinions.


    Based on the values of mutual respect, honesty and truthfulness, ABEC is committed to working in a non-partisan, collaborative way to find common ground on K-12 education policy. ABEC staff and members will articulate the ABEC consensus positions to appropriate stakeholders, and take action, consistent with the agreements made at the table.

    To this end, we will actively participate in ABEC discussions, probe for understanding, be open to compromise, respect diverse opinions, always seeking to find common ground. Work and action outside the ABEC meeting will be consistent with ABEC consensus.


    The success of ABEC’s work depends on responsible membership. Members will be fiscally responsible to the organization and will attend meetings and events prepared to actively participate. Each member organization will assure that the right decision maker is involved. Each representative is responsible for expressing member views and opinion and for disseminating ABEC decisions and opinion to their organizations. Differing points of view will be expressed, based on fact, as well as opinion.

    To this end, we will pay dues on time and assist in keeping ABEC sustained. We will prepare for meetings, provide input and feedback as requested, and answer emails and other requests for information in a timely fashion. We will be actively involved, practice active listening, and strive for common ground. We will be straightforward.  We will keep ourselves educated and informed, and probe for understanding.  We will prioritize and follow through so we can make an impact. We will accept ownership for our actions and hold each other accountable. We will be responsible for taking the ABEC message back to our constituencies and outside ABEC.


    ABEC members are committed to the organizational standard of mutual respect and collaboration and will work together toward a comprehensive view of the common good for students and their achievement. Communication will be trustworthy and based on complete information.

    To this end, we seek areas for agreement, listen with empathy, and reveal our own assumptions. We feel safe in the ABEC conversation and provide confidentiality to fellow members. We are clear about agendas from member organizations and disclose conflicts of interest. We will understand and advocate for the group’s decisions.


    The ABEC environment for dialogue will be free of hidden agendas and supportive of all participants. All relevant issues will be put on the table in a trusting atmosphere. Meeting norms will be developed and followed.

    To this end, ABEC members will reveal assumptions, actively listen to all views in a respectful, safe atmosphere, share information from other groups that may affect processes or strategies, and openly express agreements and sticking points.


    Approved by the ABEC Board of Directors, December 2010)