What 2018 could mean for education in Arizona
The New Year represents a time of change. More than any other time of year, people are focused on reinvention and goal setting, and how to make the coming year even better than the last. Education is no exception.
Last year, Expect More Arizona and the Center for the Future of Arizona announced goals for the eight indicators that form the Arizona Education Progress Meter. The good news? Recently updated data show four of the eight metrics have moved in a positive direction.
This is good news for Arizona voters who, according to recent poll results, believe education is the most important issue facing our state, above immigration, the economy or healthcare. More specifically, those surveyed say lack of funding and low teacher pay are the state’s two most significant education issues.
And it’s no surprise that three out of four voters are supportive of extending Prop 301, the sales tax that helps to fund our schools. The likely voters who were surveyed are even willing to pay more in taxes if the funds are allocated for teacher salaries and recruiting and retaining educators for hard to staff subjects, such as math and special education.
Perhaps most importantly, Arizonans see the strong connection between education and the strength of our communities and believe every child, regardless of background or zip code deserves an excellent education.
With an eye toward achieving the long-term goals outlined in the Arizona Education Progress Meter, Expect More Arizona will be working with our network of organizations and individuals to move the following priorities forward in 2018:
- Promoting policies to identify struggling students early
- Building support for policy changes to address the growing achievement gap (including support for students with special needs and English Language Learners, among others)
- Supporting reinvestment in Arizona’s community colleges
- Supporting continued progress toward funding 50% of Arizona’s university resident students
- Supporting efforts to provide salary incentives for teachers to complete and maintain research-based credentials
The 2018 legislative session begins on January 8 and Governor Ducey will soon give his State of the State Address and share his budget proposal for the next fiscal year. We encourage you to stay informed on the issues that matter to you, and take advantage of opportunities to share your voice.
Expect More Arizona is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan education advocacy organization working to ensure every child receives an excellent education every step of the way. For more information visit ExpectMoreArizona.org.