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

Many U.S. $100 bills are spread out. One Arizona lottery player recently won a $10,000 prize, while...

KTAR.com

Arizona Mega Millions player wins $10K while deadline nears for $50K Powerball ticket

One Arizona lottery player recently won a five-figure prize, while another is running out of time to claim an even larger payout.

6 hours ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former UArizona grad student sentenced to life in prison for murder of professor

A former University of Arizona graduate student was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally shooting a hydrology professor.

7 hours ago

Jack Smith, left. (Jack Smith for Congress Photo)...

KTAR.com

Watch: Arizona Congressional District 2 Republican debate

The Arizona Congressional District 2 Republican debate occurred on June 24 but only one candidate, Jack Smith, participated.

8 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: A preview of Arizona Congressional District 8 Republican Debate

Arizona Congressional District 8 Republican Debate is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25, but Chris Merrill and guest host Barry Markson consider the candidates running in that district.

10 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: A look at the state of Arizona politics amid primary debates

As the Arizona primary election debates continue, Chris Merrill and guest host Barry Markson take a closer look at the current state of politics in the 48th state. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

10 hours ago

(Maricopa County Recorder's Office Graphic)...

KTAR.com

Watch: Maricopa County Recorder Republican primary debate

Three candidates squared off in the Maricopa County Recorder Republican primary debate on June 24.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Coronavirus pandemic could impact key Arizona education goals