Arizona ranks nearly dead last for school test scores and safety, report says
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- It’s been more than two years since COVID-19 first put a strain on our education system, and recent data is showing that Arizona is still struggling when it comes to the quality and safety of its education system.
Personal finance service WalletHub recently looked at 32 different metrics, including evaluation of standardized test scores, dropout rates, and graduation rates to attempt to give a holistic view of the state’s education system. The company also analyzed safety by looking at data on bullying rates, access to illegal drugs, school shootings, and truancy rates. Wallethub then combined the info to compare all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC).
As for Arizona, it ranked pretty poorly across the board, ranking 48th out of 51. Notably, it found that the state had one of the highest pupil-to-teacher ratios, meaning that classroom sizes were among the highest in the country. The state is also tied for dead last in its dropout rate and near the bottom of the list for licensed and certified K-12 teachers. Arizona’s Family previously reported that educators no longer needed a college degree to begin teaching in the state. Legislation signed into law earlier this month gave people that power to begin teaching as long as they’re enrolled in a degree program.
Wallethub also looked at school spending for public K-12 students, where Arizona ranked 48th as well. Only Utah, which ranked 13th overall, and Idaho, which ranked 37th, spent less than our state. Recently, lawmakers approved $526 million for the state’s schools in the latest annual budget. Arizona Education Association president-elect Marisol Garcia previously said that most of that money will go toward teacher salaries.
“We just have a long way to go,” Beth Lewis, a director with Save Our Schools, an activist group hoping to boost state funding across the board. “It’s enough to move us probably from last-funded in the nation to maybe 45th or 46th,” she said. The group had hoped for a substantial increase, more than a billion dollars. This latest budget also gives an additional $100 million distributed to special education and $50 million to vulnerable and underserved communities.
Spending vs ranking chart
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