In response to the ongoing and increasing need to address education funding in Arizona, representatives of more than 80 education, business and community organizations joined together to create a Roadmap for P-20 Education Funding (Roadmap). The Roadmap represents consensus on the major investments needed for P-20 education by 2030 that, coupled with effective instruction, policy and strategy implementation, will advance the shared goals in the Arizona Education Progress Meter and close persistent achievement gaps.
Participants involved in drafting the Roadmap agreed that future state budgets and funding proposals should prioritize investments that: (1) Support the entire education continuum; (2) Significantly advance outcomes for all students; and (3) Provide predictability, consistency and flexibility. Using these principles, the group discussed the major investments needed in each sector: early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary education. The list of investments was then prioritized into short, mid and long-term categories based on each item’s ability to stabilize the education system and advance outcomes for all students.
As a first step, participating organizations agree that these are the short-term investments needed:
- Raise teacher pay to the national median and fund professional development, mentoring and induction that are research-informed and driven by best practices.
- Increase access to quality child care, including pre-K (including increasing state funding for child care, providing budget authority to spend the $56M in additional federal Child Care and Development Block Grant funds, and increasing the reimbursement rate to a quality level).
- Fund effective strategies and interventions to support reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade, as identified by the State Board of Education, including targeted intentional reading supports and technical assistance in the early grades, a comprehensive assessment system, renewing and redirecting Early Literacy Program Funding to areas of greatest need.
- Provide funding for K-12 school building construction and maintenance, beginning with a focus on rural schools.
- Begin scaling funding for wrap-around services for students where those services are based on individual needs assessment, early interventions and a supply of school internal and external staff resources (including social workers, mental health professionals, nurses, speech and language therapist, school counselors, special education, etc.).
- Double the STEM workforce funding for all community colleges, including restoration of this funding for Pima and Maricopa Community Colleges.
- Increase funding for Arizona resident students attending a state university (e.g. 50/50 model).
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO MAKE THIS VISION A REALITY
The Roadmap is intended to be used by policymakers, business, education and community leaders to inform and evaluate funding proposals and to focus conversations on the complete picture, even as incremental investments are made in the short term. In addition, it is intended that the Roadmap be used to unite the community around a set of shared priorities that can be communicated about and advocated for over time.
Join us in advocating for the additional investments Arizona’s students, teachers and communities deserve, beginning with the short-term priorities. Email your state legislators and Governor Ducey today!