Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Education is Better Off in Arizona Than You Think

OUTSTANDING op-ed in the Tribune by Matthew Ladner of the Goldwater Institute. Some excerpts -

Myth No. 1: Schools simply cannot afford the budget reductions being proposed by the Legislature.

Fact: The budget cuts proposed by the state House leadership amounts to a 2.5 percent reduction. Over the last five years, kindergarten through 12th grade funding has increased by 40 percent. Reducing funding by 2.5 percent will still leave schools with more money than they had in 2008 after adjusting for inflation.

Myth No. 3: Arizona already ranks 49th in the nation in education funding and we don’t want to be number 50.

Fact: When all of Arizona’s funding streams are added up, Arizona school funding ranks in the middle of the states at more than $9,000 per student per year.

Myth No. 6: Full-day kindergarten is essential to successful child development and should not be eliminated by budget cuts.

Fact: Studies have consistently shown that any benefit from full-day kindergarten disappears by the time a child reaches the third grade, a phenomenon termed “fade out.” Also, full-day kindergarten was widespread in Arizona public schools before a specified state funding stream was created two years ago. Districts can continue full-day kindergarten with their own funding if it is a priority.

Myth No. 10: Cuts to university budgets will make it necessary to double tuition thereby violating the Arizona Constitution’s clause to make higher education “nearly as free as possible.”

Fact: The Arizona Board of Regents has determined that “nearly as free as possible” means tuition for Arizona public universities must remain in the bottom third of the nation. Any increase in university tuition is required to meet that standard. As it stands, tuition at Arizona public universities is very low compared to national averages.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The National Education Association ranks Arizona 51st. The US Census Bureau, 49th. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) 48th, Education Week 50th and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) 50th. And that's before the recent cuts to this year's budget.

ALEC is a well respected conservative organization and Arizona's our Auditor General just released a report on Public school education that said even they used the National Center for Education Statistics because "it provides a basis for comparing Arizona's results with other states, with the national average and with Arizona's past performance."

Moreover, school lunches, adjacent ways and adult education are included in the $9,700 number. No other state includes such things.

Finally, in 1986-1987 Arizona spent $6,309 per pupil and ranked 31st in the nation

In 2006-2007 Arizona spent $6,248 and ranked 50th in nation.

For a full report see Arizona K-12 Education/Examination of the Facts by Lisa Hawkins and MaryLee Moulton posted on http://www.aasbo.org/