Arizona is Ranked #1!

Wow! That’s amazing. #1 in what?

On the ALEC report card for K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform.

Have you had this conversation? Maybe you haven’t. My question is: How can Arizona be ranked #1 by ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) and #49 by Wallet Hub?

In my effort to discover the answer to this question, I found some fascinating differences in how the rankings were determined.

The factors considered were:

  1. Academic Standards 
  2. Charter Schools
  3. Home School Regulation Burdens 
  4. Private School Choice
  5. Teacher Quality & Policies
  6. Digital Learning
  1. School Quality
  2. Safety


The bottom line is the ALEC research measures Charter Schools, Home School Regulation Burdens, and Private School Choice (AKA sending public money to private schools). The Wallet Hub research measures Public Education.

In Arizona, it has been widely reported that 95% of families choose public education.

According to Wallet Hub, “For the majority of U.S. families, public education is the only choice.”

I believe that both of these statements are true. Private ownership is generally not interested in areas where the economy is depressed, or the population is sparse. This encapsulates inner-city and rural areas.

According to the Morrison Institute, 2019, Arizona Speaks Poll 77% of Arizonans ranked public education as the 2nd most important issue (1st was water quality).

Why do our policies on public education not reflect that concern?

Why is our legislature continuing to pull money out of our public education system? Why are they continuing to lower the amount of income taxes paid and raise the amount of sales tax charged?

The only conclusion I can come to is that Arizona citizens do not understand what is happening in our government, or they do not know how to effect change.

There are some steps you can take to educate yourself on what to do and how to do it. Organizations like Save Our Schools Arizona and Expect More Arizona are working to spread knowledge of our public school crisis. You can request a presentation or find more information at sosarizona.org. Both organizations are non-partisan and provide factual information regarding public schools.

Save Our Schools Arizona provides a “quick guide” to Arizona education funding that you can access here. SOS AZ will come to you in person to present their “Road Show” (a presentation vetted by AZSBA for presentation on school campuses and school board meetings). Each Legislative district has “captains” in local areas to keep you informed about happenings at the Capital and where your voice is needed to support public education.

Reach out to your representatives. Look at their voting record, write to them, call them. Don’t know who your representatives are or how to contact them. You can find that information here.

Sign up for the Request to Speak system and register your stance on bills while they are in committee. You do not have to be present to participate, and you do not have to speak. You can be active with RTS from the comfort of your home.

You don’t have to make front-page headlines to make a difference. You do have to be informed and involved.

The Arizona Legislative session will be here faster than Christmas! All students in Arizona deserve a quality education regardless of zip code. What will you do to ensure that becomes a reality?







Susan Collins

I began my teaching career in 1991 in rural Mississippi. I served in 4 different communities in central and north Mississippi as a music educator, mostly elementary general music with one year as a middle school band director. I stepped out of working full time in the classroom for 9 years when my children were very young but never left teaching. I set up an early childhood music studio and taught music for children ages birth to age 5 (with an adult caregiver). I moved to in northwest rural Arizona in 2016 where I teach k-5 general music.

I achieved National Board Certification in the fall of 2016 and began my relationship with the Arizona K12 Center for Professional Development. I have served as a 2017-18 Arizona Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow and a Candidate Support Provider for National Board Candidates. I am passionate about advocating for the needs of rural schools and ensuring that every student receives an excellent education provided by passionate and qualified educators.

When I am not teaching, advocating, or writing about education issues, I am outdoors with my teenage children. I love hiking, reading, and going to musical performances. I can usually be found off the grid pondering my next writing piece!

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