High Standards to Remain in Arizona Schools

 by Expect More Arizona
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Last Friday, Governor Ducey announced the names of the five individuals he has appointed to the Arizona State Board of Education. The board members require approval by the state legislature, but can begin to serve immediately.

The full board convened for the first time this morning and Governor Ducey attended the meeting to share his vision for K-12 education in Arizona, expressing a desire to focus on improving outcomes for all of Arizona’s students.

Governor Ducey recommended the Board keep the standards we have in place today and conduct a comprehensive review of the current English Language Arts and mathematics standards to ensure that they are best for Arizona’s students.

We appreciate the Governor’s approach to review the standards and continuously improve them rather than start from scratch. These higher standards have been in classrooms for the last four years, and Arizona’s teachers and students have been making strong academic progress with them in place. It would be disruptive to student progress and wasteful of taxpayer resources to start over again.

Academic standards in Arizona are reviewed approximately every five years as a part of a continuous improvement process. This review process serves as a valuable opportunity for teachers, parents and other stakeholders to provide their feedback.

In addition to his remarks about the standards, Governor Ducey affirmed that Arizona’s old AIMS test was not providing accurate information to families about whether students were on track to succeed. Arizona has adopted a new test called AzMERIT, which replaces AIMS and gives parents and teachers the information they need to know if their students are on track to succeed in each grade and upon high school graduation. It is important that Arizona’s policymakers continue to support the implementation of AzMERIT, as the assessment is being implemented for the first time over the next two months in schools across the state.

At Expect More Arizona, we believe high standards, a meaningful accountability system and highly effective educators are integral to ensuring excellence, which will require investing existing resources wisely as well as investment of additional funding in the future. Arizona’s current low levels of per pupil funding strain our progress toward higher achievement, which impacts our economy and everyone’s quality of life. As our state’s economic outlook improves, we must work together to make funding for education a top priority, with a focus on achieving a world-class education for all children.

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