Arizona public schools chief pleased with Ducey’s pledges for education
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s pledge to add more dollars into education is welcome news for the state’s head of public schools.
“In total, we’ve pumped $4.5 billion in new investments into Arizona schools,” Ducey said during his State of the State address on Monday. “With our latest budget, that figure will rise to $6.6 billion. And we’ve done all of this, without raising taxes.”
The governor also vowed to fulfill the last phase of his plan to give teachers a 20% pay raise. He also called for more money for the Arizona Teachers Academy, which waives tuition for students studying to become teachers.
And he said he wants to add more dollars for career and technical education trade programs “that train students in the high-demand careers of the future.”
“There were many points that he made that I appreciated,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. “Of course, the focus on mental health for our students, including having more school counselors was great to hear.”
Hoffman said she’s also pleased to see the governor is fulfilling his “20 by 2020” plan for teachers. However, she noted Arizona still ranks toward the bottom nationally for teacher pay.
She said she also liked the governor’s plan to cover the cost of Advanced Placement tests for low-income students and his idea to help struggling schools through what he called “Project Rocket.” But she expressed concerns about Ducey’s comments on “results-based funding” for schools.
“We need to be strategic about that,” Hoffman said. “So for example, right now at our high schools we’re rewarding teachers who have high-performing students on the AP test but we’re not rewarding teachers for teaching dual-enrollment.”
Hoffman is scheduled to give her State of Education address on Feb. 3.