In Arizona's 2012 State Report Card, we learned that according to AIMS - Arizona's state test - 67% of 4th graders scored a "meets" standards or "exceeds" standards in math, and 76% did so in reading. While that doesn't sound amazing, it isn't awful either. In the same document, though, we see that on the NAEP - the "nation's report card" test - only 33% of students scored proficient in math and only 26% did so in reading. Why would there be such a disparity?
We’ve been busy at the Arizona State Capitol the past few weeks advocating for high standards and expectations for students. Teachers have been working tirelessly to prepare for the full implementation of Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards. These higher expectations will help parents understand what their child is supposed to know each year in order to be ready for the next grade. They will also help students be successful after they graduate high school, whether they choose college or a career.
Yesterday morning, 125 school, business, legislative, and community leaders gathered to talk about Arizona’s effort to provide the best possible schools for our students. 20 years ago, when Arizona passed its charter school law, the state believed that quality charters would thrive while schools that weren't operating as they should would fall away. Unfortunately, without strong accountability policies in place, Arizona became known for its quantity of charter schools rather than its quality.
If an eight-year-old child fails Arizona’s reading test on April 7, Arizona law requires that child to repeat third grade[i]. If 2014 AIMS (Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards) results are consistent with 2013, then up to four percent of our third grade students will be retained, according to the Arizona Department of Education[ii]. That means about 3,359 children will be told before their ninth birthday that they cannot move on to fourth grade with their friends and peers.
Last month, Stand for Children commissioned a poll to learn more about what voters thought of the new academic standards, known as Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards. The poll showed, consistent with other polls, that there was still low awareness across the state. Schools are in the third year of implementing these standards, but most people really didn’t know anything about them. We also wanted to learn about who the voters listened to when it came to education issues, and surprisingly, there really wasn’t one person or group who was the clear leader. But, when voters knew
Over the course of the year, we’ve been diving in to determine what really works in ensuring all students graduate high school prepared for college and a career. We are well on our way committing to rigorous, internationally benchmarked standards for all our students from kindergarten through 12th grade. This is a significant step forward for our state that will redefine the foundation of our education system and point it clearly in the direction of college and career.
The Stand Organizing Team has been in full campaign mode throughout the summer! While other families took the summer off and escaped the heat, Stand volunteers were out knocking on doors and calling their neighbors; showing that dedication to high quality education is always their first priority. Parents, teachers, community members and students are working every day to get overrides passed in the Roosevelt, Alhambra and Phoenix Union School Districts. These campaigns will bring much needed resources back into the classrooms that were lost due to state budget cuts.
More than 7,000 participants and 200 Stand volunteers made the Second Annual Es El Momento Back to School Education and Resource Fair a huge success! It was a one-stop shop where parents were able to get all the information they needed to help their children have an amazing school year! The event's guest speakers included Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, parent engagement expert, Dr. Luis Cruz, and Phoenix Union Superintendent, Kent Paredes Scribner informed parents on specific things they could do to set their students up for success.