The push to get students back to school in person

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We talked with Chris Kotterman, the Director of Governmental Relations at the Arizona School Board Association about the push to get all students back into the classroom and the education bills that are before the legislature including expanding the school voucher program.

We talk about where we stand on students going back to school in person. Kotterman said they have seen in the last week or so that a few districts have voted to go back to school in person. He believes this will probably be the trend, especially if we don’t see another spike. He said that the number one thing they need to do to get kids back in classes make sure the schools have the resources they need. Some examples of this are vaccines, masks, and creative planning for social distancing. Kotterman said a misconception is that schools don’t want to go back. He said schools do you want to go back but students and staff have people they are responsible for as well. He said it was all about doing their part to stop the spread of Covid.

On Monday The Department of Education said they will not be granting waivers like last year for the AZ merit test, the annual test given in April. Kotterman said his organization advocated for not doing the test this year, but that did not work out. They will not be reading schools based on the test scores this year. KottermanThey will not be reading schools based on the test scores this year. He said the data is going to be suspect because they didn’t do it last year and the testing experience is going to be completely different. They also feel there are better assessments than AZ merit for figuring out where they have to “make up ground.”

We also talk about the voucher expansion bill that is in the house now. We ask about Kotterman’s thoughts about the bill. He said ASPA as opposed to the public funding of private and religious education. He does not support the bill and does not support the program in general because they feel it is the state’s responsibility to fund district schools. He said the bill uses the language of socio-economic status and poverty to help sell the idea. Kotterman said he thinks putting an income cap on the bill would be an improvement but it still would not change his opinion.

Chris Kotterman, Director of Governmental Relations, Arizona School Board Association

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