Arizona Schools Above Average For Less Money

Arizona Schools Above Average For Less Money



Arizona Schools are slightly above average and that is​ pretty good news. When Superintendent Tom Horne released the​ state’s 2006 report card,​ it​ was with the​ news that Arizona Schools are usually placed either average,​ or​ slightly above,​ on​ indicators used to​ compare schools nationwide. the​ college entrance exams,​ the​ SATs and ACTs,​ and the​ National Assessment of​ Educational Progress (NAEP) all place Arizona Schools in​ the​ upper half of​ the​ nation’s public schools.

What’s even more interesting is​ that Arizona Schools are reaching this above average status while spending less money per pupil than every state except for Utah. Superintendent Tom Horne has stated that increasing state spending to​ the​ national per pupil average would propel Arizona Schools into the​ top ten. the​ state has yet to​ approve that funding.

According to​ numbers from Education Week magazine,​ Arizona Schools spend $6,​010 per pupil annually. Compare this to​ the​ top spender New Jersey with $11,​269,​ mid-ranker Virginia at​ $ 7,​751,​ and bottom-of-the-barrel Utah at​ $5,​132. the​ fact that Arizona Schools still manage to​ achieve above average rankings indicates that Horne could be correct in​ his assumption. Studies have shown a​ positive correlation between a​ state’s per student spending and its achievement. Arizona Schools appear to​ be doing something right.

That’s not to​ say that all is​ rosy with Arizona Schools. Student results on​ the​ statewide AIMS test consistently report passing rates of​ 70% or​ less. While this places Arizona schools squarely in​ the​ “expected performance zone” of​ the​ NAEP index,​ the​ numbers fall apart when looked at​ by race and ethnicity. Passing rates drop to​ about 60% for African-American students,​ 50% for Native American students,​ and 40% for children of​ migrant workers. When assessed using the​ national Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) marker,​ 1,​249 of​ Arizona Schools passed,​ while 608 did not reach their goals.

Concerns over the​ achievement gap effect the​ nation,​ as​ well as​ Arizona Schools. Where Arizona Schools has a​ special concern is​ in​ the​ area of​ educating children who do not speak English as​ a​ native language. Funding for English Language Learner (ELL) programs have come under heated debate as​ the​ nation battles over border control and immigration policies. Whether complete immersion is​ providing non-English speakers with the​ skills to​ succeed,​ if​ and how to​ pay for children of​ undocumented immigrants,​ and instruction time devoted to​ these students are all topics of​ heated debate in​ Arizona Schools.

Some legislators feel that the​ state should not foot the​ bill for what they see as​ the​ federal government’s inability to​ enforce immigration laws and border control. Others insist that those issues don’t take away the​ state’s responsibility to​ meet the​ educational needs of​ every child in​ Arizona Schools. Given the​ state’s above average rankings (21st on​ the​ NAEP) in​ many areas despite concerns over minority and immigrant education,​ it​ will be interesting to​ see if​ the​ state does fund higher per pupil spending for the​ coming school year. And if​ Arizona Schools do make a​ higher investment,​ it​ will be exciting to​ see the​ results.




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