Craig Barrett
Former Intel Corp. CEO Craig Barrett

The former chief executive of Intel Corp. told legislative and business leaders Tuesday that Arizona won't be a real magnet for new business until it turns out more qualified high school and college graduates.

"The educational system in the United States and in Arizona in particular is not particularly attractive," Craig Barrett told members of the Arizona Commerce Authority. In fact, he said, the situation is so poor that if Intel were looking for a site to build an entirely new operation, as opposed to expanding its $10 billion presence here, Arizona would not even be on the list of Top 10 choices.

He was not alone in his comments.

"The education system here is very weak," said Doug Pruitt, chief executive of Sundt Construction.

And Judy Wood, who runs Contact One, a small call center, said even her firm, which does not need college graduates, is having trouble finding Arizona high school graduates who can properly compose a sentence.

The comments were made as Gov. Jan Brewer, who co-chairs the authority and listened to the criticisms, is proposing to cut state aid for universities by $170 million, about 20 percent of their current state funding.

But that may not be the full extent of the problem. The Senate already has approved a budget which digs another $65 million into higher education funds. It also cuts about $250 million from K-12 education, an area of the budget that Brewer had tried to leave untouched.

"The bottom line is that I've been the crusader for education," Brewer said after the meeting. "I've led the charge to protect education. And I'm continuing to try to the very best, of anybody's ability, to protect education as we move through this budget process."

The governor said, though, nothing that Barrett or anyone said would cause her to back off her proposal to cut university funding or to scale back another part of her budget which would pare state aid to community colleges by half.

"We are going to do the best job that we can with the dollars that we have to deliver the best education to everyone," she said, from preschool through college.

Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, also said he has no second thoughts about the deeper education spending cuts his chamber approved.

On one hand, Pearce said Barrett "is not missing the mark" about the quality of Arizona education.

"But the truth is, funding's not the whole answer," he said. Pearce said he's convinced there is enough money going into education as long as the funds are being properly used.

He did take issue, though, with Barrett's contention that Arizona is in the bottom quarter of all states in the quality of its K-12 education.

"When all things are balanced, we're probably running in the middle, in the average," Pearce said. And he said part of that is due to "demographics," specifically the large percentage of students in school for whom English is not their first language.

"I think we probably have a very good educational system that just has challenges that many other states don't have," he said.

The Commerce Authority is designed as a public-private partnership charged with attracting new business to the state. It will replace the state Department of Commerce.

Barrett told authority members, though, their work is complicated by the shortcomings in the education system.

"The quality of education is extremely important to companies like Intel," he said.

The state faces an anticipated $1.1 billion gap this coming fiscal year between revenues and expenses. Brewer proposes to bridge some of that with accounting maneuvers and borrowing; the Senate plan relies strictly on spending cuts.

Barrett said the budget problems "don't bode well for the future."

"If you want those high-paying jobs - the jobs that pay two to three times the average - look for your educational infrastructure to be the key," he said.

Pruitt said the state also needs to do a better job in training those who are not destined to go on to college, saying two-thirds of the jobs of companies like his do not require a four-year college degree.

"I'm a big fan of technical education, which is also very weak in Arizona," he said. And Pruitt said there needs to be a "relook at the entire K-12 system to get these young people out of high school with working skills."

Wood said her experience in trying to hire people proves that graduates don't have the necessary talents to do the job.

"They need to have good grammar, good spelling, able to write in complete sentences because we do lots of (online) live chat," she said. Wood said she finds that foreign students from the universities have "far superior" skills than Arizonans showing up to look for work.

Wood said the problem, from an economic development factor, is bigger than what her firm faces. "How can you get businesses to come when they're looking at the school system and saying, ‘Where can I send my kids to school?'" she said.

One bit of fallout from the budget problems is that students at the state's three universities are going to have to pay more in tuition, even if the schools are cut by just the governor's $170 million proposal. Brewer would not answer questions of whether that will make higher education unaffordable for many.

"The Board of Regents are meeting and they will determine where that tuition goes," Brewer said. "It's something that we're all working on."

(21) comments


This man makes me so angry at his outlook, I must add one more thing.
MY PLAN has already outlined thousands of new MFG jobs which leads to that 1 to 3 MINIMUM ratio plus the state export sales of the products...

Please call and make this happen. I am in the book if you want to call me.


So let's fix it.. But first we need jobs and cash flow.

"THE PLAN" (brief) is sitting with the Governor, we can fix this entire economic downfall quickly and easily without costing us anything but the simple "appointment" as requested for our Honorable Gov. Brewer to make.

I have the financial contacts with their funds pending for new Arizona MFG jobs (not from or for my own company, but for new businesses!)... have your readers, please humor me and help out. CALL ME if you need encouragement or clarification.

Do you realize that new Arizona based MFG will create a minimum of 3 jobs per new mfg sector job? We have the buildings all around us and the ability to have the owners put them to work for us in various ways... With new Arizona manufacturing, we will need more retail, more construction, more outside sales and more vendors, all the jobs that are gone will return (with new job titles as well) and as I stated, I have the funding waiting once Gov. Brewers makes her "special appointment" (which is a [secret] job title needed to get this done) as I requested. The title and hype alone will bring in more business, but this no brainer approach requires a bit of political cajones, so to speak.

You can find a vague outline of the plan online but the 'good stuff' is sitting in front of our great Governor (waiting for your phone calls and emails!)...

Please contact Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer and
simply ask about the "Mealer Economic [ie. jobs] Plan" ... and making this all come together.

... that's all you need to do and we can turn this ship around.
Call 602 542-1381 or toll free in rural Arizona 800-253-0883
FAXES to: 602 542-1381
Or email her office from

AND NO, It's NOT AMWAY!!! Or anything of the sort.


Message for Craig Barrett: Baloney Sausage! Intel builds plants where salaries and other costs of doing business are lowest, not on the basis of education levels. Why else would they be in Rio Rancho, NM?

Message for Jan Brewer and the Arizona legislature: Precisely where do you think the future of the State of Arizona is supposed to come from?


1. Barrett was a colossal failure that nearly ran Intel into the ground. The company was a complete disaster when he left, and Otellini had to decimate headcount to clean up his mess.

2. He's full of garbage. Intel has continued to expand in Arizona in recent years and will continue to do so in the future.

3. If he had his way, he'd outsource everything to India anyway. He doesn't give a darn about American jobs.


" First, you cant trust any politician. " Try CAN'T with the apostrophe.

"Brewer and Pearce are morons and prove to be so in there unintelligent comments.". How about THEIR.

"... man child Napo" should be "man-child" . Must be a public school graduate...

"I am against teacher unions..." You shouldn't be. The unions do not set the curriculum. The unions don't make hiring/firing decisions. The unions don't write the textbooks. In fact, if it weren't for unions your schools would be much, much worse than they are. Most teachers do care about students learning, they want to graduate educated, intelligent people. Unfortunately, there are many kids and their parents who couldn't care less. There are principals who want students to pass -- no matter what. There are politicians who put impossible mandates on schools, such as the requirement that all students have four years of math regardless of their ability or preparation. For those critics -- always on the right -- do you really believe that teachers teach a liberal/leftist agenda? Well, maybe in Tucson's La Raza studies, but go to any high school and see what teachers are teaching -- you might be surprised. But don't be surprised, either, to see large number of students dress for less-than-success, who don't, won't or can't do homework, who are disruptive, disrepectful. Yes, our AZ schools stink! We must do better. But it takes everyone pitching in. The rich people in Rio Verde who pay no school district taxes have got to help. The parents must get their kids working. The teachers must set and demand higher standards. The administrators need to help teachers, not berate them. University teachers need to speak up and let high schools know what is expected of incoming students. Employers need to shout louder about the dummies applying for jobs. Everyone is a stakeholder in this and we all have to do our part. Where to start? Close the Dept. of Education at ASU, NAU, and Arizona. Those college profs have done more to mess up education than anything!

Dale Whiting

Wake up and smell the roses here, gang. INTEL is investing in fabs here in the good old USA. But they have foreign investments in fabs, too. Cutting education here is about as short sighted as we can get. Warning, warning!

next up

Maybe Pearce can give some of that money he received from the Fiesta bowl you political hack. There are many reason why AZ education system sucks and same with the whole country in general. First, you cant trust any politician. Brewer and Pearce are morons and prove to be so in there unintelligent comments. As long as these bozos are running this state, nothing is going to change. And please, Dems are even worse as we have seen from the man child Napo.

A short list of what is wrong here in AZ. Poor funding, poor teaching, poor competition, poor pay, poor curriculum, poor parent accountability, poor politics, mega schools, waste in administration, lack of citizens who want to be taxed, people like sun city who do not pay into the system, but hell, they expect us to pay our social security for them when the younger generation is not going to get jack squat out of the ss system. The list goes on with how poor our system is here. There is no benefit to being a teacher. I am against teacher unions and believe when you allow for competition and get education out of Washington’s hands, it will improve. Also get rid of the social and liberal agenda out of public schools and just teach for once.


Seriously, what can you expect of your so called public education system when you hire progressive liberals like H.L. Bud Goodall???

Instead of teaching your children, he would rather spend his time and your money indoctrinating them with leftist thoughts. He actually wrote a book about indoctrinating your children at your expense:

Counter-Narrative: How Progressive Academics Can Challenge Extremists and Promote Social Justice, by H.L. Goodall Jr. (Left Coast Press; 207 pages; $79 hardcover, $22.95 paperback). Discusses liberal academics and what is termed a "narrative arms race" with right-wing extremists.

If you want to know why your education system has gone down the crapper, stop hiring the smelly stuff to preach instead of teach!

This radical progressive left wing professor claims to be all about social justice for anyone and everyone except right wing conservatives. They are not allowed to have their own opinions and not even allowed to have their own nation. Professors like Goodall are taking your tax dollars to try and create his own idea of a utopian society while igoring the truth of reality- and doing it through your children!

If you want to save your public education system, you might try cleaning out the progressives and hiring some real teachers.

all rise

Education in AZ seems so far gone, what will our future look like? Lots of talk, no action on the part of so many leaders. If anything, new leadership = new ideas and solutions. Enough talk, enough of the same old, same old. Vote/lobby for and support new leaders who care about the state's future vs. their own interests, annual reports, profit margins, etc. New leaders, please come forward!


This is what I never understand: everyone has an opinion about how poor education is in Arizona and that changes need to be made, but no one ever gives suggestions on how it can be changed! Politicians dance around the issue and only talk about it when it becomes a political hotbed (and still never say anything)...general public has made teachers their favorite whipping boys/girls....administrators keep taking from the classroom...and of course, everyone offers excuses for why Arizona is so low on the totem pole. Top all of this off with being locked into a room with snotty, disrespectful kids whose parents take almost ZERO responsibility in their child's edcuation....why the hell would anyone want to be a teacher????? No wonder we don't have the best and the brightest teachers...they are too smart to become teachers.


Yea, where was the State’s Chief Education Officer??
I have to say that I am not impressed with Intel. I did a brief check to find out what kind of philanthropy Intel provides to our community. What I discovered is that Chandler is not high on Intel’s list of priorities concerning community involvement. They give far more to education in places like Santa Clara, Massachusetts, Oregon etc.. I think great education also comes with a commitment and involvement from the business sector.



Arizona's legislature has made things more difficult for public education. They let private schools open up and then give them government money. They let citizens pay less state taxes when they give money to private education (usually in clever ways to pay their own kids' tuition). Arizona's school superintendents promote the enrollment of the children of illegal aliens (they call them customers) to get Federal funds. This drags down test scores and teacher morale. Arizona's parents, on average, have grown more selfish and less involved in their children's education and discipline.


And where was the State's Chief "Education Officer" during this conversation with Arizona's leading business executives?


Here is the former CEO of one of the most successful businesses in American history identifying the problem with education in Arizona: it's both underfunded and reflects poor performance on every level: K-12 through higher education.

In response, (and as a great example of the need for some basic education) Leon (above) tries to prove his point by incorrectly calculating 50,000 x 7,000. And then the Governor proclaims she is the "crusader for education" and simultaneously insists on cutting education by hundreds of millions of dollars over multiple years...then, of course, there is the really "brilliant" response by our own Russell Pearce, "But the truth is, funding's not the whole answer." No one ever said it was! But, I think that cutting funding year after year is not the answer either.

Unbelieveable! Have we just fallen down a rabbit hole?


visit to find out how you can help.


Check out my website which advocates restructuring the Arizona University System to provide greater accessibility, affordability, and accountability to a public university education for many more Arizonans while breaking-up the ASU monopoly within Greater Phoenix.

It does this by merging the ASU West & Polytechnic campuses into an independent, "medium-cost" & moderate research state university that is then housed at the Polytechnic campus location while the West campus then transforms itself into an independent, "low-cost" & non-research state university.

Clik on the link below to view my website for the details of my strategic plan:


I've always said that business couldn't care less about what laws are passed that target illegals. They only care about the bottom line and the need well educated employees to operate with. If the money was spent on the children that belong here and not on the ones who have no right to a free education maybe the competency level would go up. Spending millions to teach illegals English is a waste. The can landscape and housekeep without speaking English.

Leon Ceniceros


The ex-Chief Excutive Officer complaining about how poor the state of Arizona Education is ???


INTEL.........was one of the corporations that pressured 3 Republican Senators to vote....NO....on Anti-Illegal Alien Immigration Laws.
There are currently 50,000 ILLEGAL ALIEN STUDENTS IN ARIZONA.
The cash-strapped, job-fearing, Arizona tax-payer is paying $7000 to educate ILLEGAL ALIEN STUDENTS FROM MEXICO AND POINTS SOUTH.
If my math is correct...50,000 ILLEGAL ALIEN STUDENTS mulitiplied by $7000 is a total of.................$355,550,000.00 = THREE HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.
INTEL can't have it both ways.......just think of what that extra.. $355,550,000.00..could have done to........RAISE THE...QUALITY...OF EDUCATION IN ARIZONA.........FOR LEGAL AMERICAN STUDENTS.




Garbage in, Garbage out...Dumb parents = dumb kids. No wonder AZ is 49th out of 50 states in high school grads...LOL!!!


As long as we have 3rd world country poverty children educated in our school system nothing will improve.

"The education system here is very weak," said Doug Pruitt, chief executive of Sundt Construction."

Look who is calling the kettle black. guess this means ySundt won't have large corporation buildings to be built with cheap labor. Sundt recent letter to legislators was a joke encouraging illegals over real taxpaying citizens. 5 bills didn't pass.

When will you have enough illegals here?


Thank you Mr. Barrett for pointing out an issue that is not only obvious as the day is long, but embarrassing to we Arizona residents. For some strange reason, that no one has ever explained to me, the state of Arizona sits and does nothing to improve the state of education. We sit constantly at the bottom of national rankings in nearly every category and no one seems to notice, or care. While our facilities look impressive (which they should for $50-$60 million) visitors to our state need only to look beyond the classroom doors to see the product we produce and it’s pitiful to say the least.

Math and science, which should be a high priority, is barely worth mentioning. Of course suggesting a mandatory, basic finance course prior to graduation (so all of the geniuses we produce can balance their checkbooks and credit cards) will barely produce a whisper. The schools here in Arizona are more hellbent at getting students out of school rather than worrying what kind of citizens they will become.

The state of education always seems to be on the back burner for politicians and is only brought to the forefront for political gain. “Arizona probably ranks in the middle comparative to other states” What planet is Russell Pearce on? Perhaps he and Governor Brewer went to the same school and they missed those reading classes! For the governor to suggest that she “always supports education in Arizona” could she, or anyone else explain to the rest of us what that means? Sorry, Governor but I haven’t seen any great strides towards improving education in Arizona while you have been in office. Maybe you are following some of the great leadership examples from people like Tom Horne who proved you could be paid as a state superintendent and do absolutely nothing (he fit in well with the system).

Mr. Barrett I can certainly understand why no company would be attracted to Arizona. Who of any of us could argue with you?

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