Tag: The Republic / azcentral.com

How can Arizona fund a better education system? Town Hall gathering seeks answers

| November 15, 2017
How can Arizona fund a better education system? Town Hall gathering seeks answers

For 50 years, community members have gathered at Arizona Town Hall forums to find solutions to the state’s most challenging issues, from housing and jobs to water and transportation.

This year, they will focus the power of the statewide brainstorm on Arizona’s pre-K-12 education funding crisis.

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‘I just want what we deserve’: Arizona teachers call on Ducey to hike pay. Please see related stories

| October 25, 2017
‘I just want what we deserve’: Arizona teachers call on Ducey to hike pay. Please see related stories

Arizona teachers and parents brought signs and peanuts — a symbol of low pay — to the state Capitol on Monday evening (Oct. 23) to rally for teacher pay raises.

The demonstration came in the wake of a report by The Arizona Republic that Gov. Doug Ducey gave many of his top staff a 20 percent pay raise earlier this year.

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Steve Wozniak wants to revolutionize tech education, starting in Arizona

| October 18, 2017
Steve Wozniak wants to revolutionize tech education, starting in Arizona

Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak announced Thursday the launch of a digital institute that aims to reprogram tech education and to inspire the next generation of innovators.

And he wants to do it from Arizona. It will be called Woz U.

The icon of innovation who helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products now wants to revamp the education process and address the skill gap for high-paying technology jobs across the country.

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Arizona special-ed funding benefits schools with fewest special-ed students

| October 11, 2017
Arizona special-ed funding benefits schools with fewest special-ed students

PLC Arts Academy at Scottsdale has $5,000 more to spend per student than Pine Strawberry Elementary District north of Payson.

It’s not because its students are in one of Arizona’s most well-to-do cities, or that they perform better on state tests, or that more kids are enrolled.

It’s a direct result of how the state funds education for students with special needs: Arizona’s spending on special education benefits schools with the fewest number of students who require it.

About one-third of Arizona students attend schools — most of which are charters — that receive more state money to serve students with special needs than those schools actually spend for that purpose.

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Gov. Ducey gets word of his opponents’ school-voucher referendum win

| September 13, 2017
Gov. Ducey gets word of his opponents’ school-voucher referendum win

Gov. Doug Ducey was notified (Sept. 8) that foes of his school-voucher expansion law had qualified their referendum for the November 2018 ballot, where they will seek to undo the expansion. 

The state elections director announced the news on Twitter, and through an email to Beth Lewis, chairwoman of Save Our Schools Arizona. That group, a coalition of parents and public-school advocates, seeks to undo legislation that made all public school kids eligible for the school-voucher program, capping it at 30,000 by 2022.

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Arizona Education Progress Meter shows steep but ‘obtainable’ climb

| August 16, 2017
Arizona Education Progress Meter shows steep but ‘obtainable’ climb

If all goes according to a set of goals supported by dozens of Arizona education and business groups, the state’s elementary teachers will earn the national median of $56,000 in five years and most third-graders will read at grade level by 2030.

Those are among the benchmarks that make up the Arizona Education Progress Meter, a data-tracking effort education advocates hope will drive statewide policy decisions and address longstanding student achievement gaps.

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Supporters, opponents of school vouchers in Arizona keep up pressure. Please see related stories

| August 16, 2017
Supporters, opponents of school vouchers in Arizona keep up pressure. Please see related stories

Days after delivering 111,000 signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, 200 demonstrators opposing the expansion of a school-voucher system rallied Saturday on the steps of the Capitol in hopes of maintaining their momentum.  …

While expansion opponents were rallying, supporters were gathered about 10 miles away for a grass-roots data-entry effort to check the validity of the signature petitions themselves. 

Expansion supporters are expected to challenge signatures in court in an attempt to prevent the effort from qualifying for the ballot.

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Arizona public schools find ways to adapt to funding cuts. Please see related story

| August 2, 2017
Arizona public schools find ways to adapt to funding cuts. Please see related story

Arizona consistently ranks among the lowest in the nation for its per-student funding, a fact often cited by advocates hoping for a better financial picture for the state’s schools.
But, as funding levels continue to lag years after the Great Recession, schools find ways to make do.
Some turn to the internet, searching for donations. Many crowd kids into classrooms or have principals step in as teachers. Others go to four-day weeks.
Environmental innovations, like solar panels and artificial grass, can help cut costs. And there’s even a company dedicated to helping schools find ways to save money on things like utilities.

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Legal deal pulls money to teach tribal kids native language

| July 26, 2017
Legal deal pulls money to teach tribal kids native language

New generations of children growing up in a tiny American Indian tribe in Arizona have lost a key way of learning to speak their native language, and it may not be coming back.

A private land developer stopped making payments five years ago that funded language development in Hopi schools and helped 18 other tribes in Arizona build schools, youth camps and educational facilities. The payments were required under a massive land swap with the United States.

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AzCentral Our View: AzMERIT scores aren’t great, but don’t freak out yet. Please see related stories

| July 19, 2017
AzCentral Our View: AzMERIT scores aren’t great, but don’t freak out yet. Please see related stories

Learning is a process. So is improving Arizona’s public education system.

That’s how Arizonans should view the unofficial statewide results that show continual – but gradual – improvement in AzMERIT test scores.

The results aren’t stellar. They don’t show dramatic gains. In fact, they are another reminder of the need to support public education.

But three years into testing based on tougher new academic standards, these unofficial results are in keeping with expectations. Experts told us this was going to take patience.

Arizona has committed time and resources to this process. We have to stick with it.

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