This story was originally published by the Arizona Republic on February 21, 2021.
Education in Arizona was far from perfect before the pandemic…. But the picture wasn’t all doom and gloom. Data compiled by Stanford University show that while many states were stagnant or regressing academically pre-pandemic, Arizona was growing, and in some counties and schools, by nation-leading leaps. There were gains all over Arizona through 2018, in rural and inner-city schools, among poor students and students of color.
Because there is no shortage of examples of what happens when we empower teachers to run with ideas that can raise the bar for their students. Witness the academic growth that’s occurred in Santa Cruz County, where districts and charters are sharing resources and partnering with businesses and universities to offer hands-on science and engineering lessons.
Schools need the proper resources to do more stuff like this – which, yes, includes funding, but also more flexibility in regulations to help facilitate the experiments.
A handful of bills this session are making some important first steps, including House Bill 2862, which would allow schools to promote students when they’ve mastered concepts, not just because they spent the required number of days in third grade.