Many have seen the commercials bragging about education in Arizona Sponsored by the Arizona Education Project. As an educator, I will take you into a “teachers” view of these facts, cut and pasted from their site. I will not refer to them as facts, but as claims.
10 Facts You May Not Know About Education in Arizona
Claim 1: When Arizona voters passed Prop 123 in 2016, we committed an additional $3.5 billion over ten years to education funding in Arizona – more than $350 million each year. As a result, state spending for education is up more than 10% over the last three years alone.
Fact: This is not “NEW” money which is a misrepresentation of the truth. The lion’s share of these monies is restitution for a lawsuit that the state lost, in which Doug Ducey is named as the state treasurer. So, he even knows this is a half-truth. That’s why he always says since 2015 in his public arguments and on the commercials.
Why did they lose the lawsuit? The State Legislature failed to fund prop 301 monies appropriately and basically took money from children and teachers to balance their budgets.
Fact: On November 7th, 2000 the voters of Arizona passed proposition 301 part of which secured cost of living increases and increases in inflation.https://ballotpedia.org/Arizona_Sales_Tax_for_Education,_Pr…
Here are some highlights: (j) For increases in teacher base level compensation, teacher compensation based on performance, and maintenance and operation purposes.
2. Automatic inflation adjustments in the state aid to education base level or other components of a school district’s revenue control limit.
Here’s a short 30 second video in response to this by Save Our Schools Arizona.
Claim 2: Arizona is among the nation’s leaders when it comes to letting parents select the right school for their children. Nearly 1 in 2 students across Maricopa County attend a school other than the one to which they were assigned based on their home address, according to data from Yale University researchers and the Center for Student Achievement.
Yes, that may be true but now we enter “CHARTER TERRITORY” which we don’t mind unless there is shady business practices taking place. Some state legislators are going about it a dirty way to open these avenues. Some people are making lots of money. Don’t take our word for it. Read for yourself.
There are also some shifty practices to help corporation kids to get priority over the public children.
Claim 3: Arizona leads the country in improvement in NAEP testing scores in math, English, and science since 2009. The National Assessment of Educational Progress – also known as the “national report card” — is considered the gold standard in measuring student progress, and Arizona is improving better than every other state in the country over a sustained period of time.
SWEET. Arizona teachers are leading the country!!!! Our teachers are excelling but our funding from the state legislature is failing miserably. The State Legislature is however in the top of the country for funding prisons. Shocker on this list they are number 1. Are they privately owned???? YES!!!!
Claim 4: Arizona recently created “Teacher Academies” at our state universities. College students who go into a career in teaching after graduation and teach in Arizona will have their college tuition paid for by the state and will graduate debt‐free.
TINSTAAFL- There is no such thing as a free lunch. This will put these college graduates in indentured servitude where they are locked into low pay because they OWE the state. Likelihood is that they will do their time in AZ as teachers, then leave to a state which pays them more. And guess what? A fresh batch of indentured servants are on the hook. To any kid going to college, beware of this trap.
Claim 5: Five of the top seven public high schools in America are located here in Arizona, according to US News & World Report – in Scottsdale, Tucson, Oro Valley, Peoria, and Chandler.
Yes that is awesome!!!!! And they are all BASIS Schools. Which are great!!!! We have a need for BASIS schools because they provide gifted kids who can handle the rigors an amazing opportunity. BUT!!!! These schools are basically schools for the gifted, DREAM STUDENTS and they cannot be compared to the common school as a formula for success. If one state Representative has his way, a corporation who makes donations to BASIS would be able to have the children of their employees have priority over the public school kid who is there based on merit. Money talks!
Claim 6: Chandler and Peoria school districts were recently named among the top 10 school districts in America where students are learning more and learning faster. Students there show more than 5 years of educational growth between 3rd and 8th grades – 5.8 years of learning for Chandler students, and 5.6 years for Peoria.
Once again TOP 10 in the nation in results and almost the bottom for pay!
Claim 7: Arizona gives families more choices about where to send their children to school. Currently ESAs are available only to children with disabilities, students from foster families, military families, poorly-performing school districts, and schools on tribal land. A law expanding ESAs to all families in Arizona is on hold pending voter approval in the November 2018 election.
ESA’s are basically school vouchers. We will wait until November and see. Here appears to be the plan to get kids away from public schools.
Claim 8: Arizona was the first state in the nation to require all students to pass an American civics test before graduating from high school. This ensures our high school students know the same information necessary to pass the test to become a U.S. citizen.
And why is this an amazing fact? They are looking to round out a list of 10. Civics is already a required class and they test in that class and give grades. It’s actually a redundancy.
Claim 9: Measured as a group, Arizona charter students score as well as students from the highest-achieving states in the country. BASIS leads of course like I mentioned, but you may wonder why they are including this.
Why are they measuring just Arizona Charter Schools as a group???
Claim 10: According to audits and public reports, 53% of money spent on K-12 education in Arizona makes it to the classroom. The remainder goes to administration, overhead, transportation, and other items.
Why is this a fact? It is an attack on public school administration and who doesn’t enjoy that? But this is purely deflecting from the fact that the state does not fund education well in general. By the way, those “other items,” include such things as extracurricular activities such as sports and the arts, support staff, nurses and counselors.
Conclusion…. Make your own.