« Teacher Salary Schedules Were Meant to Equalize Pay. Do They Have the Opposite Effect? | Main | A Primer on the Supreme Court Case That Teachers' Unions Have Been Fearing »

Prospective Teachers in Arizona to Get Free Tuition. But Will It Help Shortages?

Yesterday Gov. Doug Ducey announced a program that offers prospective teachers in Arizona a year of free tuition for every year they commit to teaching in the state

The effort, which will run at the state's three public universities, is aimed at curbing Arizona's teacher shortages, reports the Arizona Daily Star. The program will fund 230 prospective teachers during its first year.

About 18 percent of the state's teaching positions remain unfilled a month into the school year, according to a report released today by an Arizona school personnel group.

The governor also signed legislation this spring easing some of the requirements for becoming a teacher, citing teacher shortages then as well. Under the controversial law, people with five years of experience in fields "relevant" to the subject area they plan to teach can now enter the classroom without formal training. 

Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, said in an interview that the new teacher academy is "a flashy program and great for the tiny number of people it impacts, but it doesn't get at underlying problems" in the state. Those include what he called the "double gut punch" of low teacher pay and high class sizes.

The Arizona school personnel report shows that more than 500 teachers have either abandoned or resigned from their positions since the school year began four weeks ago. And a survey released this week by WalletHub, which looked at 21 indicators of teacher-friendliness including pay, called Arizona the worst state in the country to be a teacher

The academy "does nothing for the tens of thousands of teachers that are currently in the classroom and have been in the classroom since pay freezes and cuts to the budget," Thomas said. "They've been loyal to Arizona and are getting nothing out of it."

Diane Douglas, the state superintendent of public instruction, has pushed for a sales-tax increase to fund an 11 percent teacher salary hike. The governor, who Douglas has clashed with before, has opposed raising taxes.

Last year's budget included a 1 percent salary increase for teachers, with the same amount promised for next year. Thomas called that increase "abysmal."

For more news and information on the teaching profession: 

And sign up here to get alerts in your email inbox when stories are published on Teacher Beat.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments