Arizona public schools rank near bottom in study of quality, safety
PHOENIX — Arizona’s public schools ranked near the bottom in quality and in the bottom half for safety, according to recent analysis from WalletHub.
The personal finance website’s study placed Arizona No. 47 overall, finishing 48th in quality and 30th in safety.
Quality measurements included, “test scores, teacher certification and dropout rate,” Jill Gonzalez, an analyst for the website, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.
Quality was 80 percent of the final score.
School safety — 20 percent of the score — was rated on armed high school students, bullying and laws that regulate mandatory school resource officers.
“That has really come into the national conversation,” Gonzalez said. Bullying could be either at school or online, she added.
In Arizona, “About 8 percent self-reported they participated in violence (on school grounds).”
Arizona has no laws that mandate school resource officers at every campus.
Gov. Doug Ducey proposed a school safety plan in March that he said would also use federal funding to increase behavioral and mental health resources on campuses across the state.
The plan also was to provide training resources and improved access to funding to ensure that school resource officers had proper training.
The proposal lost momentum in the Arizona Legislature mostly because of a provision that would allow family members to obtain a court order to take guns from a person at risk of committing a shooting. The provision would also have allowed the person deemed to be a shooting risk to be held for mental evaluation.
In learning elements, Arizona had the second-highest pupil-to-teach ratio.
“The average class size in Arizona is about 24 students for every one teacher,” Gonzales said.
“New Jersey, Maine and Vermont have about 13-15 students for every teacher.”
Massachusetts was No. 1 overall, while New Mexico was No. 51 (including District of Columbia).
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report.