Opinion: How to keep Arizona teachers in classrooms? Try rigor

| July 8, 2015

My Turn: Arizona is losing teachers. But ASU’s teacher college is working hard to keep them here

By Mari Koener • AZ I See It • azcentral • The Arizona Republic

As the dean of the largest college of education in Arizona, I’m pained and pleased to see national attention paid to our state’s teacher supply and retention crisis.

The New York Times looked at our schools in a June 5 article, “Recession, politics and Policy Stretch Arizona School Budgets.” The Washington Post‘s Valerie Strauss followed up with a blog post headlined “Why teachers are fleeing Arizona in droves.” Then, on June 30, Marian Salzman, an Arizona PR executive who also helms a non-profit called Tucson Values Teachers, weighed in on Huffington Post.

I don’t like to see my state held up as an example of how teachers are fleeing the profession. But as a champion of educators and schools, I welcome constructive attention to the structural issues faced by teachers everywhere. Across the country, schools have long grappled with issues of teacher pay, state funding, teacher retention and how to create a climate in which teachers are valued as professionals.

In Arizona, the Great Recession presented distinct economic challenges, eroding property values and property tax revenues, which are a big part of school budgets. We continue to face demographic challenges that affect the state’s tax base: Arizona’s populations of people under 18 and over 64 are growing faster than its population of mid-life peak wage earners.

Yet, despite the wicked headwinds generated by demographics and the budgetary fallout of the Great Recession, we’ve made measurable success in addressing teacher retention.

…Read the full article HERE


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Category: Education

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