Expect More Arizona has spent a decade advocating for the policies and resources needed for every student in Arizona – regardless of their background, income, or zip code – to access an excellent education every step of the way. We have been part of efforts to build broad coalitions to develop bipartisan, P-20 funding solutions, which unfortunately did not advance. Along the way we have championed targeted investments and praised incremental funding increases signed into law, each time recognizing there was much more to do throughout the P-20 continuum to close persistent achievement gaps and reach our state’s shared education goals.
Today, Expect More Arizona supports passage of Proposition 208, as the funding will meaningfully impact compensation for teachers and education support professionals throughout the state. An excellent educator in every classroom is critical to student success. Even with recent state investments, teacher compensation lags woefully behind other like professions and educator pay in neighboring states. Paired with Arizona’s already robust accountability systems and the lowest administrative spending per pupil in the country, this investment will bolster recruitment and retention of highly qualified educators for every classroom and ensure students are surrounded by education professionals supporting their success.
Teacher pay is one of eight key indicators in the Arizona Education Progress Meter and one of seven short-term priorities outlined in the Roadmap for P-20 Education Funding. Both of these important tools address the entire education continuum and have received broad statewide support.
While Proposition 208 makes strides in K-12 funding, moving forward there is a dire need to financially support other identified short-term priorities in early education and higher education. The strength of our communities and our ability to quickly recover from economic downturns is reliant on the strength of our entire education sector, P-20. Quality early learning settings prepare children for a life of learning and allow caregivers to engage in the workforce, while higher education and training opportunities support the talent pipeline businesses so desperately desire.
Expect More Arizona stands ready to bring people back together to discuss these and other concerns. Education shouldn’t be a partisan issue. The deep political divides in our state do not benefit our students. To best serve the needs of every student and address the inequities within our current systems, we need everyone working together.