Expect More Arizona, a statewide nonprofit education advocacy organization, and the Center for the Future of Arizona, a nonprofit organization focused on shaping the state’s future, announced new long-term education goals for Arizona.

The goals were released as a part of the Arizona Education Progress Meter, a source for individuals to learn about how Arizona’s education systems can be improved upon, was first launched in 2016.

“Our organizations partnered to create this tool because Arizonans believe that education is one of the most important issues facing our state,” said Erin Hart, interim president and CEO of Expect More Arizona.

The Education Progress Meter is an effort of by different organizations, including government agencies, nonprofit organizations school districts, and business groups, who collectively analyze the current state of Arizona’s education systems and what direction those systems should be heading.

“The Education Progress Meter enables diverse groups from across the state to work together to address critical issues within our education system while making problem-solving relevant to local communities,” said Lattie Coor, chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona.

The Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University aggregated and validated the data data for each indicator on the progress meter. The eight indicators on the meter each have a goal to increase the current percentage, in hopes of reaching the desired outcome, and fulfilling the long term goal for improving upon the education systems here in Arizona.

“The Progress Meter is an asset to Arizona and will be instrumental in informing education policy, strategic decision-making and investments to help Arizona prepare our talented young people for success while driving the prosperity and opportunity for all who live here,” said Coor.

For younger students, some of the goals include quality early learning systems for children under 4 years old, with the current rate at 21 percent and a goal to reach 45 percent. Currently, the amount of third grade students receiving high scores in reading is at 41 percent, with a goal of 72 percent. The amount of eight grade students prepared for high school level math is at 36 percent, with a goal of 69 percent.

At the high school level, some of the goals include the amount of young adults from the ages of 16 to 24 who are not working or in school; the current percentage is at 15 percent, with a goal of 7 percent. The current percentage of high school graduates is at 78 percent, with a goal of 90 percent. Looking towards the future, the amount of those graduates who then enroll in postsecondary education is at 53 percent, with a goal of 70 percent.

The data and goal of the meter is to not only provide higher-quality education for students at all levels, but also to obtain the training or education after high school, which leads to a certification, license or a degree, and subsequently resulting in a boost to the economy.

Forty-two percent of Arizona residents have completed a two- or four-year degree or earned a post-secondary certificate, with a goal to reach 60 percent by 2030, as originally announced by the Achieve60AZ alliance late last year.

“The strategic partnership between Expect More Arizona and the Center for the Future of Arizona, along with support from the myriad of organizations who have contributed to this vision, sets a strong foundation for the sustainability of the Education Progress Meter and the impact it will have on Arizona’s future,” said Tammy McLeod, board chair of Expect More Arizona and recently named president and CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “We expect the Education Progress Meter to drive meaningful conversation about the policies and funding that are needed to reach the goals.”

This article was originally published in the Phoenix Business Journal.