As parents, there are numerous growth and development milestones we watch for to know our children are healthy and on track. For example, we chart their height and weight and anxiously await their first steps and first words, and we can’t help but compare our children to others to understand if they are above or below average.
Similarly, Expect More Arizona and the Center for the Future of Arizona set out to understand the health of Arizona’s education system. To do so, we had to determine what we should measure, where we stand currently, and where we think we should be as a state.
The result is the Arizona Education Progress Meter. Centered on a shared vision that every child deserves an excellent education every step of the way, the Education Progress Meter represents a reliable, nonpartisan set of metrics and goals by which the education, business and civic communities have agreed to measure our state’s progress and take action together. The eight quality indicators are:
- Post high school enrollment
- Opportunity youth
- High school graduation
- 8th grade math
- 3rd grade reading
- Quality early learning
- Teacher pay
Because almost 70 percent of jobs in Arizona now require some form of job training or degree beyond a high school diploma, increasing the state’s attainment rate is an important strategy to improve our economy and make our state a great place to live. To get there, we have to close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for every student, starting with access to quality early learning.
The goals might seem out of reach, but the reality is that there are already many programs in schools and communities around Arizona that are moving the needle in the right direction. And the opportunities to replicate those successful efforts are endless.
The Education Progress Meter is a great guide for schools and districts, but it’s not just for educators – everyone can get involved. Whether it’s tutoring youth, volunteering in your child’s classroom or becoming an informed voter, you have an important role to play.
This article was originally published by Arizona Parenting on September 5, 2017.