Teacher shortage and school funding concerns for voters

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With the lack of teachers in Arizona becoming more of a problem, the Foundation Education Forward Arizona put together a survey of voters to find out which type of education issues are the most important to them. Some of the issues that were the most important were concerns that teachers are underpaid, and schools are underfunded. Voters have shown concern over Arizona’s proceeding teacher shortage and a lack of qualified teachers in the state.  

As of January 2022, a teacher survey was conducted and released by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA), from that examination 78.7% of teacher positions either remain vacant or were filled by individuals not meeting standard teacher requirements. While 3,030.5 teacher positions filled using alternative methods.

With teacher pay being one of the concerns for voters, Arizona currently sits at 50th in the United States amongst other states in terms of elementary and secondary school teachers. For elementary school teachers in Arizona, they make a salary of $48,396, while secondary school teachers salary has a slight increase at $49,728.

If we were to compare salaries with other states, New Mexico pays it’s elementary school teachers $65,699 and ranks at 15th in the nation. While secondary school teachers make $65,666, just a $33 dollar difference between the two. That’s roughly about a $15,971 difference in pay between the two states, which shows why Arizona’s is ranked so low in terms of teacher salaries. You can see the full graph by clicking here.

A look into Education Forward Arizona

According to Education Forward Arizona, public opinion polls have indicated for several years that education is the top priority for the citizens of Arizona, and yet they haven’t always agreed on how to achieve the quality education system we say we want. 

Despite collective urgency for meaningful education improvement, they’ve tolerated an education system in Arizona that has underperformed, one that has denied educational and economic opportunity to many of our citizens. That has, in turn, hampered the state’s growth and has tarnished their reputation.

How you can help

Thanks to Education Forward Arizona, they showed us steps off their website on how people can offer their help and support for teachers. Here’s what you can do:

Business

  • Partner with your local community college to meet your workforce needs
  • Focus your charitable giving toward programs or initiatives that advance the Education Progress Meter goals
  • Give your employees the flexibility to volunteer in local schools
  • Join a school or district’s community council
  • Host an internship program

Local Governments

  • Issue a proclamation in support of the Education Progress Meter and statewide goals
  • Review your local data
  • Set goals for your community
  • Use the Education Progress Meter to focus your education initiatives
  • Celebrate success stories in your communities at your city or town council meetings
  • Link to the Education Progress Meter from your website

Policymakers

  • Evaluate policy using the Education Progress Meter framework. Make policy decisions based on whether or not those decisions will help close the achievement gap and make progress toward the shared goals
  • Ensure high quality data is accessible

Educators & School Board Members

  • Set school or district goals that align with the Education Progress Meter as part of your strategic planning
  • Link to the Education Progress Meter from your website
  • Share stories of how your school or district is making progress toward the goals for Education Forward Arizona to highlight

Philanthropy

  • Fund programs or initiatives that drive progress toward the Education Progress Meter goals
  • Collaborate with other funders to drive funding or policy change toward the goals

Nonprofit & Advocacy Organizations

  • Use the Education Progress Meter to align your programs to the indicators, data sources and goals
  • Educate your network about the Education Progress Meter and the role of your organization in moving the needle on one or more of the indicators
  • Advocate for effective policies or funding that advance the goals in the Education Progress Meter

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