ARIZONA NEWS

Coronavirus pandemic could impact key Arizona education goals

Dec 2, 2020, 4:25 AM | Updated: 6:32 am
(Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)...
(Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
(Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


PHOENIX — Arizona could be on track to fall farther behind on meeting key education goals, and the coronavirus pandemic is to blame.

The Arizona Education Progress Meter set goals for the state to meet by 2030, ranging from access to quality early learning to post-secondary attainment.

It’s still too early to tell how the pandemic impacted some areas, including third grade reading and eighth grade math, since there was no statewide testing last spring.

“This spring’s assessment will be the first time we really almost set a new baseline for what the impacts are on those students in those areas,” Christine Thompson, president and CEO of Expect More Arizona, said.

Her group helped develop the progress meter, along with the Center for the Future of Arizona, in February 2016. It shows key milestones that need to be met to be on the path to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for all Arizonans.

Thompson said it’s possible there will be a dip in the quality of early learning, as some parents choose to stay home with their young children instead of taking them to early learning programs.

She added the pivot to virtual learning last spring created stressors for students and teachers. She’s worried about how that impacted the quality of learning.

The coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close last spring with just a few months before graduations. Thompson said she feels schools did everything they could to get students to graduate, so she doesn’t expect last school year’s graduation rates to be gravely impacted.

“What I’m more concerned about is kids who fell behind last spring who might’ve been freshmen, sophomores or juniors and whether we can get them back on track to graduation,” Thompson said.

New data will be available in early 2021, including high school graduation rates for last spring. Data on 3rd grade reading and 8th grade math won’t be available until next summer or fall.

Thompson said the new numbers will show if groups of students were adversely impacted by the pandemic. She’s worried that the achievement gaps between white students and students of color will widen.

She’s also concerned about the amount of students going on to post-secondary education. She noted that while the three state universities saw an increase in enrollment, Maricopa Community Colleges saw a 15% drop in enrollment in the fall.

“This pandemic is going to have long-term impacts on our education system,” Thompson said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio poses for a portrait at his private office in Fountain Hi...
Associated Press

Maricopa County to pay $5M to owner whose restaurant was raided by Arpaio

Maricopa County officials approved a $5 million settlement Wednesday with a restaurant owner who claimed in a lawsuit that then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office had defamed him and violated his rights during a 2014 investigation.
8 hours ago
(Grand Canyon University photo)...
Griselda Zetino

Grand Canyon University offers new program for students with disabilities

Grand Canyon University is offering a new program meant to help students with disabilities develop social and job skills.
8 hours ago
(Facebook photo/Tucson Police Department)...
Torrence Dunham

Police group leader says Tucson vaccine mandate will increase staffing issues

Just over 50 Tucson police officers face getting a COVID-19 vaccine or a pink slip in December after the council voted Tuesday to fire unvaccinated city employees, a move a law enforcement association says would devastate services police provide.
8 hours ago
ADOT photo...
KTAR.com

US 60 to close between Superior, Miami Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The route will be closed as crews further remove the old Pinto Creek Bridge, requiring motorists to take alternate routes.
8 hours ago
(Adolfson & Peterson Construction photo)...
KTAR.com

Construction completed on new field house for Williams Field High School in Gilbert

Construction has wrapped up on a new field house for Williams Field High School sports teams, giving coaches and student-athletes at the Gilbert school updated amenities.
8 hours ago
(Gilbert Days Music Festival Photo)...
KTAR.com

New 2-day Gilbert Days Music Festival coming to East Valley park

The Gilbert Days Music Festival is set to debut at Gilbert Regional Park on Nov. 19-20.
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
...
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
Coronavirus pandemic could impact key Arizona education goals