In just a few days, Arizonans will head to the polls to make their voices heard on numerous ballot measures and candidate races that will impact students and classrooms in a variety of ways. Here’s why you should care, even if you don’t currently have children in school.
- Latino students make up approximately 44 percent of the K-12 student population in Arizona and that number is expected to continue to grow. White students currently account for about 41 percent.
- We are facing a growing achievement gap in our state. Currently only 44 percent of all third graders in Arizona can read proficiently. Among White students that figure is 59 percent, while Latino students are far below the state average at 33 percent. Students who do not read proficiently at the end of third grade are less likely to graduate high school and go on to pursue more education or training.
- Nearly seven out of 10 jobs in Arizona require some type of education or training after high school. However, only 45 percent of all Arizonans age 24 to 65 have a professional certificate or degree and among Hispanics that figure calls to 26 percent.
- Currently only 24 percent of three and four-year-olds in Arizona are enrolled in a quality early learning program. Children with access to quality early learning opportunities are more prepared for kindergarten. And as they go forward in school and life, they are less likely to need special education services or be held back a grade, and are more likely to graduate and go on to college.
It’s clear that a high-quality education is the key unlocking the potential in every student, regardless of background, income or zip code. And improving education outcomes for students not only impacts their individual quality of life, but also the future of Arizona. Far-reaching impacts include an increased quality of life, a stronger and more vibrant economy, and more importantly, the cultivation of a civically engaged group of citizens that give back to their community.
Do you know how you’re voting? It can be hard to untangle the list of candidates and their positions on the varied issues, but it’s worth the time to ensure that a candidate’s position on education mirrors your own.
Your voice and your vote matter! To learn more, visit ExpectMoreArizona.org/Vote, where you’ll find key questions to ask candidates, voter guides, more details about bonds and overrides, and easy tools to contact your elected leaders.
Expect More Arizona is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan education advocacy organization working to build a movement of Arizonans in support of world-class education for every child. As a 501c3, Expect More Arizona do not endorse or support specific candidates. For more information visit ExpectMoreArizona.org.