#RedforEd

Myra Luv joined the walk-in in support of her sister, a teacher with nearly 20 years’ experience who still struggles to make ends meet due to low teacher pay during a 2018 #RedforEd protest.

MORENCI — As the #RedforEd education reform movement continues in Arizona, reports show things have improved in the classroom . . . but not by much.

A report issued by the National Assessment Governing Board has indicated growing progress for Arizona in the past decade or so, pointing to a rise in test scores between 2005 and 2017. In particular, mathematics and reading have both shown improvement against the national average.

“All that ever gets the headlines are the doom and gloom stats,” said Sean Ross, the director of English language arts at Arizona’s Department of Education. “So it’s really effective to be able to begin discussions with positive trends to show that the hard work is paying off.”

In spite of that, however, Arizona is still at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to school quality among other states. A study by WalletHub ranked Arizona in 49th place, ahead of only Louisiana and New Mexico.

“Public elementary and secondary education money usually flows from three sources: the federal, state and local governments. According to the U.S. Department of Education, states contribute nearly as much as local governments, while the federal government supplies the smallest share,” WalletHub’s study said.

Arizona earned its infamous position in the polls by ranking quality (dropout rates, test scores, pupil-to-teacher ratios, etc.) against safety (public opinion, bullying, access to drugs, road safety). In that regard, Arizona slips to 50th for quality and sits below the average at 34th in safety.

Arizona is 48th for dropouts and dead last in teacher-to-pupil ratio (23:1, according to the National Center for Education Statistics).

According to the most recent letter grades issued to schools by the Arizona Board of Education, in 2017-18, Duncan Elementary earned a “C” grade, while Duncan High School was graded “B.” Morenci High School and Fairbanks Middle School were both graded “C,” while Metcalf Elementary earned a “B” grade.

In spite of efforts by Governor Ducey to increase educator wages in Arizona, the low pay and lack of funding has made it a struggle for schools to find qualified applicants to teach. Teachers around the country already are appealing to social media and public campaigns to fund school supplies through Amazon gifting and donations.

You can read the full analysis online at https://wallethub.com.

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