Already in session to find solutions to the problem, the Arizona Legislature now has all the more reason to find ways to improve the state’s public education system.
Some say the answer lies in a state sales tax increase earmarked specifically for improved teacher salaries and reduced student-to-teacher ratios.
Others say the answer lies in a massive restructuring of the system. Such a move would allow more of the state’s education dollars go directly to the mission of education instead of bureaucracy and administration.
While there is debate over the correct solution, there is no argument that public education in Arizona is in trouble.
Arizona ranks 48th in the nation in per pupil spending. This week’s annual Kids Count report shows Arizona also ranks next to last in the nation with a 15-percent high school dropout rate.
Our state deserves an F for providing a strong education system for its children.
It’s not all bad news, though. We do rank quite high in another category of education analysis.
Arizona currently ranks sixth in the nation for the dollars spent on education administration. With 229 school districts in Arizona, we provide more jobs for school administrators than most any other state in the Union. We also pay them better than most states.
We’re near the very top in one category: Few states can compete with Arizona when it comes to mismanaging the money we are supposed to be spending on students and teachers.