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Public education in Arizona

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K-12 Education in Arizona
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Education facts
State Superintendent: John Huppenthal
Number of students: 1,080,319[1]
Number of teachers: 50,800
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:21.3
Number of school districts: 662
Number of schools: 2,252
Graduation rate: 76%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $7,666[3]
See also
Arizona Department of Education
Arizona school districts
List of school districts in Arizona
Arizona
School boards portal
Policypedia
Education policy logo.jpg
Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Arizona
Glossary of education terms
Note: The statistics on this page are mainly from government sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics. Figures given are the most recent as of June 2014, with school years noted in the text or footnotes.
The Arizona public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards and superintendents. In 2012 Arizona had 1,080,319 students enrolled in a total of 2,252 schools in 662 school districts. There were 50,800 teachers in the public schools, or roughly one teacher for every 21 students, compared to the national average of 1:16. There is roughly one administrator for every 420 students, compared to the national average of one administrator for every 295 students.[4] On average Arizona spent $7,666.00 per pupil in in 2011, which ranks it 48th highest in the nation. The state's graduation rate was 76 percent in 2012.

State agencies

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State Education Departments

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See also
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction
Arizona school districts
List of school districts in Arizona
Public education in Arizona
School board elections portal
The Arizona Department of Education, through the Superintendent of Public Instruction, is responsible for "providing for the students of Arizona a uniform public school system kindergarten schools, common schools, high schools and normal schools."[5]

The Superintendent of Public Instruction is a publicly elected state official tasked with the following responsibilities:[5]

  • "Superintend the schools of this state."
  • "Request the auditor general to investigate when necessary the accounts of school monies kept by any state, county or district officer."
  • "Subject to supervision by the state board of education, apportion to the several counties the monies to which each county is entitled for the year. Apportionment shall be made as provided in chapter 9 of this title."
  • "Direct the work of all employees of the board who shall be employees of the department of education."
  • "Execute, under the direction of the state board of education, the policies which have been decided upon by the state board."
  • "Direct the performance of executive, administrative or ministerial functions by the department of education or divisions or employees thereof."

The State Board of Education is responsible for "regulating the conduct of the public school system." The State Board of Education is comprised of 11 members, including the following:[6]

  • Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • The president of a state university or college
  • The president or chancellor of a community college
  • Four lay members
  • The owner or administrator of a charter school
  • A high school superintendent
  • A classroom teacher
  • A county school superintendent

Members are appointed by the Governor to four-year terms (with the exception of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who is elected by the state's citizens).[6]

The mission statement of the Arizona State Board of Education reads:[6]

To aggressively set policies that foster excellence in public education.[7]

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Arizona State Board of Education adopted the standards on June 28, 2010. Full implementation was set to be achieved in the 2013-2014 academic year.[8][9]

Regional comparison

See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states
See also: Education spending per pupil in all 50 states

The following chart shows how Arizona compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.

Regional comparison
State Schools Districts Students Teachers Teacher/pupil ratio Administrator/pupil ratio Per pupil spending
Arizona 2,252 662 1,080,319 50,800 1:21.3 1:419.5 $7,666
Nevada 649 18 439,634 21,132 1:20.8 1:449.7 $8,527
New Mexico 866 135 337,225 21,957 1:15.4 1:253.4 $9,070
Utah 1,020 126 598,832 25,970 1:23.1 1:450.2 $6,212
United States 98,328 17,992 49,521,669 3,103,263 1:16 1:295.2 $10,994
Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.

National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013

Demographics

See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Arizona as reported in the Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[10]

Demographic information for Arizona's K-12 public school system
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 54,596 5.05% 1.10%
Asian 30,079 2.78% 4.68%
African American 58,029 5.37% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students 2,880 0.27% 0.42%
Hispanic 462,624 42.82% 24.37%
White 455,010 42.12% 51.21%
Two or more 17,101 1.58% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

Enrollments by region type

See also: Student distribution by region type in the U.S.

A plurality of students in Arizona attend city schools. Nearly 65 percent percent of the state's students attend city or suburban schools, compared to approximately 35 percent who attend rural or town schools.

Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)[11]
State City schools Suburban schools Town schools Rural Schools
Arizona 48.5% 48.5% 10% 25.2%
Nevada 38.5% 32% 6.6% 22.9%
New Mexico 32.6% 11.9% 27.4% 28.1%
Utah 16.5% 50.9% 12.9% 19.7%
U.S. average 28.9% 34% 11.6% 25.4%
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD)

Academic performance

Policypedia
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Education policy terms
Academic bankruptcyAcademic EarthAcademic performanceBlaine AmendmentCharter schoolsCommon CoreDropout rateNAEPProgressive educationRegulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation RateSchool vouchersTeacher merit pay
See also

NAEP scores

See also: NAEP scores by state

The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah), Arizona'a fourth and eighth graders fared worse in reading than the same students in Nevada and Utah.[12]

Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013
Math - Grade 4 Math - Grade 8 Reading - Grade 4 Reading - Grade 8
Arizona 40 31 28 28
Nevada 59 47 45 44
New Mexico 31 23 21 22
Utah 44 36 37 39
U.S. average 41 34 34 34
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013

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Graduation, ACT and SAT scores

See also: Graduation rates by groups in state
See also: ACT and SAT scores in the U.S.

The following table shows the graduation rates and average composite ACT and SAT scores for Arizona and surrounding states.[12][13][14]

Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*
State Graduation rate, 2012 Average ACT Composite, 2012 Average SAT Composite, 2013
Percent Quintile ranking** Score Participation rate Score Participation rate
Arizona 76% Fourth 19.7 35% 1,551 35%
Nevada 63% Fifth 21.3 34% 1,454 48%
New Mexico 70% Fifth 19.9 75% 1,626 12%
Utah 80% Third 20.7 97% 1,684 6%
U.S. average 80% 21.1 1,498
*Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express

Dropout rate

See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states

The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Arizona was higher than the national average at 5 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 5.9 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.[15]

Educational choice options

See also: School choice in Arizona

School choice options in Arizona include: charter schools, tax credits (individual and corporate), online learning programs and inter-district and intra-district open enrollment policies. In addition, about 4.60 percent of school age children in the state attended private schools in the 2011-12 academic year, and 2.67 percent were homeschooled in 2012-13.

Education funding and expenditures

See also: Arizona state budget
Breakdown of expenditures by function in FY 2012.
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 19 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. As a share of the budget, this is down 8.5 percentage points, or 30.9 percent, from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 27.5 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education.[11][16][17][18][19]

Comparison of financial figures for school systems
State Percent of budget (2012) Per pupil spending (2011) Revenue sources (2011)
Percent federal funds Percent state funds Percent local funds
Arizona 19% $7,666 14.69% 41.22% 44.09%
Nevada 23.6% $8,527 10.68% 33.09% 56.24%
New Mexico 24.7% $9,070 17.66% 65.78% 16.55%
Utah 24.7% $6,212 12.02% 51.19% 36.79%
Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013

Revenue breakdowns

See also: Public school system revenues in the U.S.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Arizona totaled approximately $9.3 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Arizona and surrounding states.[20]

Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)
Federal revenue State revenue Local revenue Total revenue
Arizona $1,367,644 $3,839,130 $4,105,899 $9,312,673
Nevada $447,888 $1,388,154 $2,359,519 $4,195,561
New Mexico $641,925 $2,390,635 $601,508 $3,634,068
Utah $519,547 $2,211,870 $1,589,706 $4,321,123
U.S. total $74,943,767 $267,762,416 $264,550,594 $607,256,777
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)

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Expenditure breakdowns

See also: Public school system expenditures in the U.S.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Arizona totaled approximately $9.6 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Arizona and surrounding states.[20]

Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)
Current expenditures** Capital outlay Other*** Total expenditures
Arizona $8,157,006 $796,052 $634,413 $9,587,471
Nevada $3,712,313 $324,287 $270,077 $4,306,677
New Mexico $3,045,075 $621,504 $66,091 $3,732,670
Utah $3,600,074 $693,458 $234,361 $4,527,893
U.S. total $520,577,893 $52,984,139 $29,581,293 $603,143,325
**Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)

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Personnel salaries

See also: Public school teacher salaries in the U.S.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Arizona, the average salary decreased by 1.1 percent.[21]

Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)
1999-2000 2009-2010 2011-2012 2012-2013 Percent difference
Arizona $50,430 $50,119 $49,501 $49,885 -1.1%
Nevada $53,830 $54,999 $55,467 $55,957 4.0%
New Mexico $44,488 $49,378 $46,381 $46,573 4.7%
Utah $47,757 $48,980 $48,961 $49,393 3.4%
U.S. average $57,133 $58,925 $56,340 $56,383 -1.3%
**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."

Organizations

Unions

In 2012 the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Arizona ranked 51st overall, or "weakest," which was in the fifth of five tiers.[22]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: Arizona government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Arizona School Boards Association.

Other taxpayer-funded lobbyists for state public schools include:

Transparency

On June 25, 2009, an Arizona Senate committee approved SB 1172, which would have allowed the state education department to collect data on students who could not prove that they were U.S. citizens. According to the bill, schools or districts that did not provide the information would be denied funding. The American Civil Liberties Union, however, said that they would file suit if the bill became law. The ACLU argued that the bill violated federal law (which bans collecting data with the intent of denying enrollment). Sen. Russell Pearce said that the bill was merely an effort to increase transparency. "All this is asking for is data. We passed a lot of bills out of here about transparency and disclosure this year. This is along the same line as that -- it says simply that the taxpayer has a right to know," he said.[23]

The bill did not become law in the 2009 legislative session, though some lobbyists said that they expected the bill would return for debate in the next session.[24]

Education ballot measures

See also: Education on the ballot and List of Arizona ballot measures

Ballotpedia staff have tracked 32 statewide ballot measures relating to education.

  1. Arizona Department of Public Schools, Proposition 3 (September 1953)
  2. Arizona Education Board Composition Amendment, Proposition 101 (1964)
  3. Arizona Election of State Board of Education, Proposition 3 (1950)
  4. Arizona English Language Education for Children in Public Schools, Proposition 203 (2000)
  5. Arizona Establishing Classroom Improvement Program, Proposition 103 (1990)
  6. Arizona Excise Tax for School Maintenance, Proposition 7 (1950)
  7. Arizona Expenditure Limitations for School Districts, Proposition 101 (1986)
  8. Arizona First Things First for Children, Proposition 203 (2006)
  9. Arizona Increased Salaries of Teachers and Public Officials, Proposition 3 (1920)
  10. Arizona International Teachers' Exchange Program, Proposition 1 (1956)
  11. Arizona Name of Arizona State University, Proposition 1 (1958)
  12. Arizona Physical Education in Public Schools, Proposition 5 (1928)
  13. Arizona Proceeds from Sale of State Lands for Schools, Proposition 104 (2002)
  14. Arizona Prohibition of Racially Segregated Schools, Proposition 13 (1950)
  15. Arizona Public Debt, Revenue and Taxation, Proposition 102 (2004)
  16. Arizona Regents of the Universities Amendment, Proposition 103 (1976)
  17. Arizona Removal of School Attendance Requirement for State Money, Proposition 4 (September 1953)
  18. Arizona Sales Tax Renewal Amendment, Proposition 204 (2012)
  19. Arizona Sales Tax for Education, Proposition 301 (2000)
  20. Arizona School District Debt Amendment, Proposition 106 (1992)
  21. Arizona School District Debt Limit Amendment, Proposition 103 (1974)
  22. Arizona State Aid for Public Education, Proposition 10 (1940)
  23. Arizona State Board of Education, Proposition 105 (2004)
  24. Arizona State Board of Education Amendment, Proposition 102 (1976)
  25. Arizona State Board of Education Formation Amendment, Proposition 104 (1982)
  26. Arizona State Lands, Proposition 100 (2000)
  27. Arizona State Maintenance of Public Schools, Proposition 2 (1950)
  28. Arizona State School Fund, Amendment 103 (1964)
  29. Arizona State School Trust Land Revenues, Proposition 300 (2002)
  30. Arizona Uniform Public School System, Proposition 2 (1922)
  31. Arizona University Faculty Exemptions Amendment, Proposition 100 (1960)
  32. Arizona Vote on School District Consolidation Act (2008)

Studies and reports

State Budget Solutions education study

See also: State spending on education v. academic performance (2012)

State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states which spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.

See also

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 Arizona Department of Education, "About AZ Dept. Education," accessed May 13, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Arizona Department of Education, "State Board of Education," accessed May 13, 2014
  7. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  8. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State,” accessed June 12, 2014
  9. Arizona Department of Education, "Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards (AZCCRS) Home Page," accessed June 13, 2014
  10. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
  13. ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
  14. Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
  15. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
  16. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
  17. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
  18. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
  19. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
  20. 20.0 20.1 United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014
  21. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
  22. Thomas E Fordham Institute, " How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
  23. KTAR, "Bill would have schools collect info on illegals," June 25, 2009
  24. Arizona Central, "Law tracking illegal students fails, but could return," July 1, 2009