ARIZONA NEWS

COVID-19 pandemic causes Arizona to fall further behind on meeting key education goals

Jan 7, 2022, 4:45 AM

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona has several education goals to reach by 2030, and so far the pandemic has caused the state to fall further behind.

“This data is really a reflection of the pandemic on our education system,” Rich Nickel, president and CEO of the advocacy group Education Forward Arizona, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“So yes, we’re going to see results that we don’t like. But they’re not unexpected considering where we are.”

The Arizona Education Progress Meter was created in 2016. It sets goals for the state to meet on everything from access to quality early learning to post-secondary attainment.

The latest data for the progress meter shows an 11% drop in third grade reading proficiency and a 14% drop in eighth grade math proficiency over the past three years.

High school graduation rates saw a slight decrease while post high school enrollment now stands at 46%, down from 53% in 2018.

“We’re seeing that students of all ages, from early education to K-12 and postsecondary education, they’ve all been negatively affected by the pandemic,” Nickel said.

For Nickel, it’s especially concerning to see the number of 3- and 4-year-olds participating in early learning opportunities drop from 24% to 17% over the past three years.

“We don’t think it’s a far reach to predict that, that will ripple through the continuum as those students enter grade school and elementary school and continue on,” he said.

Nickel explained children who have access to quality early learning are more prepared for kindergarten. It also helps them develop their vocabulary, math and social skills. And as they move forward in school, they’re more likely to do well and graduate.

He added students living in poverty and students of color have been impacted the most by the pandemic and continue to perform at drastically lower rates than the state average.

“I think the way we should look at this probably isn’t thinking about how far does this put us behind, but what should we be doing moving forward,” Nickel said.

He said this should be “a catalyst” for state lawmakers, business leaders and education officials to come together and work toward meeting the state’s education achievement goals.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Phoenix Police Department vehicle...

KTAR.com

Man arrested for DUI-related collision in south Phoenix that killed 1, injured 3 others

A 22-year-old man was arrested and processed for DUI Saturday evening after colliding with a vehicle, leaving one dead and three injured in south Phoenix.

1 hour ago

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office vehicles outside man's residence in Diamond Valley...

KTAR.com

Man with criminal past arrested for allegedly making death threats to neighbor, barricading home

A 73-year-old man was arrested after making death threats and barricading himself inside his home Saturday night, authorities say.

2 hours ago

Nicholas Silvestri mugshot...

Payne Moses

Arizona husband, wife claim family friend defrauded them of over $1 million in investment scam

A husband and wife submitted a report that a family friend defrauded them of an excess of $1 million, authorities announced Saturday.

3 hours ago

A man died after he was struck while in a crosswalk Saturday in north Phoenix, police said. (Pexels...

KTAR.com

Pedestrian dead after being struck while crossing road in north Phoenix

A man died after he was struck by a car while in a crosswalk Saturday night in north Phoenix, according to the Phoenix Police Department.

3 hours ago

Kim Komando has tips for what to do if your data is exposed. (Pexels photo)...

Kim Komando

Here’s what Arizonans need to do after a data breach

It’s easy to ignore news of a data breach, there are so many that it all turns into white noise. But what do you do if your data is exposed?

5 hours ago

President Joe Biden gives a speech at the Tempe Arts Center in September 2023. (File photo by Kevin...

Benjamin Adelberg/Cronkite News

Biden’s Arizona firewall starts to crack as oldest Democratic delegate in the state calls for him to quit presidential race

Numerous representatives from Arizona have called for Joe Biden to quit reelection efforts, with some hoping for a Harris-Buttigieg ticket.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

COVID-19 pandemic causes Arizona to fall further behind on meeting key education goals