Arizona class sizes still among the largest 3 years after Red for Ed

Apr 29, 2021, 4:45 AM

Teachers crowd the lobby of the Arizona Senate as Arizona legislature debate a budget negotiated by...

Teachers crowd the lobby of the Arizona Senate as Arizona legislature debate a budget negotiated by majority Republicans and GOP Gov. Doug Ducey Thursday, May 3, 2018, at the Capitol in Phoenix. The budget gives teachers big raises but falls short of their demands for better school funding. The teachers, in the sixth day of walk outs, have agreed to return to the classroom once the budget has been approved by the legislature.(AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Three years after thousands of Arizona teachers rallied at the state capitol, Arizona continues to have some of the nation’s largest class sizes.

“I think in the three years since Red for Ed, potentially there’s been a dent,” State Sen. Christine Marsh, who’s also a teacher, told KTAR News 92.3 FM, referring to class sizes. “But we were so far in the hole, and we are still in the hole.”

The latest data by the National Center for Education Statistics shows Arizona had the highest average class size at 23.5 students, while the national average was 16 students.

Marsh said the problem with those averages is that it includes special education classes and gifted classes, which might only have a handful of students. So she said it’s hard to know exactly how large most class sizes are because “we don’t have any disaggregated data.”

The newly-elected state senator, who also happens to be the 2016 Teacher of the Year, introduced a bill this legislative session to try to address that issue.

“We know that we have among the largest class sizes in the entire nation,” Marsh said. “But we don’t have a breakdown of exactly what it looks like at each grade level or within specific subject areas or anything like that.”

Her bill, SB 1227, would’ve created a study committee to explore those issues. It sought to determine an appropriate class size, identify methods of reducing class sizes, determine the cost of those methods and identify how reducing class sizes is possible using existing facilities and class spaces.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee but went nowhere after that.

Marsh said she also believes very little progress has been made when it comes to the state’s teacher shortage.

“We still desperately need to attract and retain teachers,” she said. “We still have a teacher shortage of crisis proportions.”

The most recent survey by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association shows nearly three-quarters of Arizona’s teacher positions remained vacant or were filled by people who didn’t meet the state’s standard certification requirements.

Marsh said the good news is “as a state we are talking about this issue more than we have in the past.”

“I think the Red for Ed movement from three years ago raised awareness of this issue,” she added.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

An aerial view map shows where a homebuilder bought a former golf course site in Glendale at 55th a...

Angela Gonzales/Phoenix Business Journal

Shuttered Glendale golf course site sold to Denver homebuilder for cash

Richmond American Homes of Arizona Inc. paid $28.64 million for land that was once home to a golf course in Glendale.

23 minutes ago

Live Love is a nonprofit dedicated to improving local communities. (Live Love photos/via Facebook)...

David Veenstra

Chandler approves long-term partnership for new community center development

The city of Chandler reached an agreement with nonprofit Live Love to be able to use a new community center currently being developed. 

10 hours ago

southern Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly...

Associated Press

Jurors don’t have a verdict yet in an Arizona rancher’s trial for fatally shooting a migrant

A jury in southern Arizona is still deliberating in the trial of a rancher charged with fatally shooting an unarmed migrant on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

12 hours ago

During an earnings call on April 18, 2024, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said engineer...

Amy Edelen/Phoenix Business Journal

Wafer production underway at TSMC’s Phoenix factory; Q1 earnings beat expectations

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is making “significant progress” on its north Phoenix site with engineering wafer production already underway.

14 hours ago

Repeat killer sentenced to life in prison after murdering girlfriend...

Tempe man sentenced to life in prison for murdering girlfriend

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said it sentenced Gary Cox, 60, a repeat killer, to life in prison for murdering his girlfriend.

15 hours ago

Mugshot of Alvin Massenburg II, who was arrested April 17, 2024, in connection with a fatal shootin...

Suspect arrested 2 days after deadly shooting at Phoenix smoke shop

An arrest has been made in a Phoenix smoke shop shooting that left one man dead earlier this week, authorities announced Friday.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Arizona class sizes still among the largest 3 years after Red for Ed