Tag: Arizona Public Media

Arizona Voters Would Say Resounding ‘Yes’ to Soda Tax, Poll Suggests. See related story

| November 22, 2017
Arizona Voters Would Say Resounding ‘Yes’ to Soda Tax, Poll Suggests. See related story

Fifty-nine percent of Arizona voters reported they would approve a $.02-an-ounce soda tax to raise money for education. Thirty-two percent would oppose the same question, according to a new poll from OH Predictive Insights.

The poll of 600 likely 2018 General Election voters found the most support for the hypothetical soda tax in rural Arizona.

“Rural rely far more heavily on public education and have less private- and charter-school options than, let’s say, in the main cities,” said Mike Noble with OH Predictive Insights.

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Report: Arizona children of color face disparity in opportunity, achievement. Please see related story

| October 25, 2017
Report: Arizona children of color face disparity in opportunity, achievement. Please see related story

In Arizona, less than 20 percent of Hispanic fourth-graders scored at or above proficient in reading, 19 percent of black eighth-graders scored at or above proficient in math, and only 16 percent of young American Indian adults have completed an associate’s degree or higher.

Those are findings of the new “Race for Results” report from the private Annie E. Casey Foundation, which focuses on improving the well-being of American children.

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Group Works to Block Arizona School Voucher Expansion

| July 12, 2017
Group Works to Block Arizona School Voucher Expansion

A law that expands Arizona’s school voucher program is set to take effect Aug. 9, and one group is working to block that from happening.

Arizona’s school voucher program was created in 2011 for students with disabilities. In recent years, it’s been opened up to kids on reservations; those with parents in the military; wards of the state; or children in failing schools.

Earlier this year, legislators passed a law that expands the program to all public school students and puts limits on how many vouchers will be issued. 

Opponents say the law will take much-needed money from Arizona’s cash-strapped public schools and redirect it to private or religious schools.

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Education Group: State Should Step Back, Let Teachers, Districts Decide

| June 28, 2017
Education Group: State Should Step Back, Let Teachers, Districts Decide

Thousands of education professionals, including 80 from Arizona, are meeting in Boston over the next two weeks to hammer out the education priorities for their states at the annual National Education Association Representative Assembly.

It’s a business meeting, said Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas, and anyone can take the floor and present and advocate an idea in hopes of getting the NEA behind it, through debate and a vote from the delegates.

This year, Thomas said, the AEA has a couple of priorities among the many issues facing Arizona.

One is the rollout of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind in 2015. ESSA significantly rolled back mandates on testing, school ratings and teacher evaluations, according to Thomas, a “giant step backwards in federal control” that puts education programs in the hands of the states. 

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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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House gives approval for mandatory recess at schools

| March 1, 2017
House gives approval for mandatory recess at schools

Arizona elementary school students are a step closer to getting time each day to pretty much do what they want.

Without dissent the state House Feb. 20 gave preliminary approval to a requirement that students in kindergarten through fifth grade be given at least 50 minutes of “unstructured recess.” HB 2082 needs a final roll-call vote before going to the Senate.

Rep. Jesus Rebalcava, D-Gila Bend, who has taught hyperactive students, is pushing the measure based on his belief that giving students a break during the day will help them focus better when they come back to class.

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Wish List for State Business Leaders: Education, Roads

| January 11, 2017
Wish List for State Business Leaders: Education, Roads

“We’re very bullish, where the state is going,” said Glenn Hamer, president of the Phoenix-based Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We’ve made tremendous progress in the state in terms of our economic competitiveness.” …

For many, the biggest issue is the same.

“I think education is a top priority for most of the citizens in Arizona as well as the businesses who are worried about attraction of customers or even new industries to Arizona,” said Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Lea Marquez-Peterson.

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Arizona Program Helps College Students ‘Earn to Learn’

| October 19, 2016
Arizona Program Helps College Students ‘Earn to Learn’

Some incoming college freshman attending Arizona’s state universities are getting a boost from a savings and financial aid program.

When Katrina Verduzco was a senior in high school she saw money as the biggest obstacle to going to college.

Then she learned about the “Earn to Learn” program at the University of Arizona and saw a way over the biggest hurdle standing between her and a college degree.

“I really want to go to college and I’m going to figure out how to get there. And I wasn’t going to take no for an answer,” she said.

Earn to Learn is a savings program that allows students from low-income backgrounds to pay for tuition, books and other school-related expenses. Once they enroll at one of Arizona’s three state universities, they are eligible to receive $8 for every $1 saved, and up to $4,000 in matching funds.

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Arizona’s Prop 123 Money Goes to More Than K-12 Schools

| July 6, 2016
Arizona’s Prop 123 Money Goes to More Than K-12 Schools

Universities, prisons, juvenile justice and state hospitals are all beneficiaries of larger payouts from the state land trust fund, thanks to voter passage of Proposition 123.
The proposal was billed as a way to get more money into Arizona classrooms without raising taxes. It increases the payout from the state Land Trust Fund from 2.5 percent annually to 6.9 percent annually for 10 years starting with the fiscal year that begins Friday.
Included in the plan is a $191.5 million payout this week, before the end of the fiscal year, to the 12 institutional areas that have been part of the Land Trust Fund since statehood in 1912.

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Education Conference Shines Light on Arizona Funding

| June 29, 2016
Education Conference Shines Light on Arizona Funding

Arizona still lags most states in its pace of returning to pre-recession funding levels, and the Arizona Education Association says the only way to improve the quality of education is to spend more on it.
This week AZ Merit test scores showed a majority of students failed the state standardized test.
That’s an indication of how many resources they have to learn, and teachers have to teach, said Joe Thomas, president-elect of the Arizona Education Association.

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