Tag: The Republic / azcentral.com

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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Arizona AzMERIT scores show incremental gains ahead of new school letter grades

| July 12, 2017
Arizona AzMERIT scores show incremental gains ahead of new school letter grades

The majority of Arizona’s students are still underperforming on the AzMERIT standardized test, but unofficial statewide results obtained by The Arizona Republic show continual, gradual improvement since 2015, when students first took the exam.

Almost every grade level improved on the math and reading portions of AzMERIT during the 2016-17 school year by a handful of percentage points. It’s similar to the growth many educators and advocates mostly cheered when last year’s scores were released.

However, a large percentage continue to test in the exam’s lowest performance level of “minimally proficient,” a designation for students who are furthest away from mastering the state’s math and reading standards.

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Arizona business leaders want big tax increase for teacher salaries, education. Please see related stories

| June 14, 2017
Arizona business leaders want big tax increase for teacher salaries, education. Please see related stories

Some of Arizona’s most influential business leaders have a plan to significantly boost education funding, and they’re not waiting for Gov. Doug Ducey and the Legislature to make it happen.

This week, they began a public campaign to convince fellow business leaders to raise the funds to put an expansion of Proposition 301 on the ballot — and sooner rather than later, although they haven’t disclosed exactly when they’d like to see it on the ballot.

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4 things every Arizona student needs to know

| May 31, 2017
4 things every Arizona student needs to know

We’ve been talking a lot about how to improve Arizona education.

The conversation has mostly focused on funding, which is fine. That’s a big part of the puzzle.

But what about the things that don’t fit neatly into a legislative bill — things like teaching creativity and making learning fun?

At least part of the answer lies in a children’s museum in Mesa.

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Teacher shortage becoming critical for Arizona. Please see related stories

| April 11, 2017
Teacher shortage becoming critical for Arizona. Please see related stories

Arizonans continually cite education as a top issue facing our state, but statistics show that we aren’t giving our teachers what they need to achieve. From lagging salaries to a teacher shortage affecting classrooms across the state, the time for action is now.

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