Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs invests $2M in teacher mentoring after task force issues findings

Dec 11, 2023, 1:09 PM

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs sits in a classroom with a group of elementary school students in a fi...

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs is looking for ways to address Arizona's teacher shortage. (Facebook File Photo/Governor Katie Hobbs)

(Facebook File Photo/Governor Katie Hobbs)

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs didn’t take long to act after her Educator Retention Task Force reported its findings, but there are plenty of issues left to address as the state grapples with a teacher shortage.

Expanding statewide induction and mentoring programs was one of 11 recommendations made by the task force in its final report, which the panel presented during its wrap-up meeting last week.

In response, Hobbs announced that the state is investing $2 million to expand the New Teacher Support program at Northern Arizona University’s Arizona K12 Center.

“I am so glad to take the first step towards addressing the task force’s recommendations and look forward to our continued work in support of Arizona educators,” Hobbs said in a press release.

What is the Arizona Educator Retention Task Force?

Teacher retention has been an ongoing issue for Arizona schools.

Hobbs created the Educator Retention Task Force via executive order in February 2023, about a month after the Democrat took office.

The governor appointed the 19-member panel, which included one parent of a child currently in school along with a variety of education professionals from urban, rural and tribal areas.

The group, which worked with the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy and The Hunt Institute, met for the first time in March.

After studying the issue and conducting interviews, focus groups, and an in-depth survey of current and former educators, the task force issued a report on its findings along with recommended actions.

What recommendations did education panel make?

Arizona has one of the highest teacher turnover rates in the country and lags in pay and diversity, according to the report.

The recommendations fell under the following five categories:

  • Amplifying educator voice.
  • Increasing salary and benefits.
  • Improving working conditions.
  • Developing strong pathways into the classroom.
  • Using data to inform retention.

More than a third of the recommendations were related to teacher compensation, including raising pay to align with national averages and reducing the cost of health insurance.

Arizona’s average teacher pay is about $10,000 below the national average, according to task for research.

“We have work to do to make Arizona a leader in educator retention, and I am extremely proud of the work this task force has done,” Hobbs said.

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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs invests $2M in teacher mentoring after task force issues findings