Governor Ducey’s 2019 State of the State address began with a reminder that he is the governor of all the people, as well as a promise to work with all members of the Legislature on “good ideas.” In particular, he suggested that, “The challenge before us is to lay the groundwork today to make sure the Arizona of tomorrow remains strong.”
We agree. And while there are many important issues facing our state, if we truly want to secure Arizona’s future, education must be Arizona’s top priority. Education unlocks the potential of individuals and communities. The success of every student is vital to our state’s economic prosperity and civic health and everyone’s quality of life.
Things That Matter
So, we have some good ideas we’d like to share with Governor Ducey and members of the Legislature that can be found in the recently released Roadmap for P-20 Education Funding.
- The Governor reiterated his commitment to raise teacher pay 20 percent by 2020, and discussed expansion of the Arizona Teacher’s Academy. We’re happy to hear that the remaining 10 percent pay raise is still on track, but Arizona needs to do more. We would like to see a plan to raise teacher pay to the national median and additional funding for professional development, mentoring and induction.
- School safety remains a priority for the Governor and he continued to press on his Safe Arizona Schools plan. We look forward to seeing how the Governor’s budget invests in the plan’s call for additional school counselors, and we would like to see funding scaled up to support the success of every student, including special education, early interventions and screenings, and other wraparound services.
- Career and Technical Education (CTE) has strong bipartisan support and Governor Ducey suggested he has a plan to build and expand these programs in Arizona and align them with the jobs of tomorrow. That’s great news! We are anxious to see how this proposal helps move us toward doubling the STEM workforce funding for all community colleges, including restoration of the funding to Maricopa and Pima Community Colleges.
In short, we agree that teacher pay, school safety and career and technical education are vital elements of a strong P-20 education system, but the attention and investments cannot stop there. In addition to what is outlined above, we’d like to see funding for: Arizona resident students attending a state university; K-12 school building construction and maintenance; Strategies and interventions to support reading proficiency by the end of third grade; and Increased access to quality childcare, including Pre-K.
The Arizona Education Progress Meter serves as a reminder of the goals the state aims to meet by 2030 and the Roadmap for P-20 Education Funding outlines the long-term investments needed to reach those goals and support the success of every student every step of the way.
Governor Ducey told members of the Legislature we need “action now to do the things that matter and secure Arizona’s future.” Surely we can all agree that investments in students, educators and classrooms will have an enormous return for our state.
An Opportunity to Take Action
Join us in advocating for the additional investments and policies Arizona’s students, teachers and communities deserve. Email your state legislators and Governor Ducey today!