AZ School Letter Grades on the Rise
Recently, Arizona’s public schools received letter grades from the AZ State Board of Education for the first time in 3 years. The results show incredible growth for public schools across the state.
Scores Show Dramatic Improvement
According to the data, 70% of Arizona’s public schools are now rated “A” and “B,” overcoming all odds during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This percentage is up from 61% in 2018-19, showing significant growth in the three-year period between the 2018-19 school year to the 2021-22 school year.
An astounding 93% of Arizona’s public schools have received “A,” “B” and “C” ratings from the state for the 2021-22 school year. Furthermore, 98% of public schools received a passing grade, meaning less than 2% of Arizona public schools received a failing grade.
In sum, the majority of Arizona public schools are attaining positive results for kids despite chronic underfunding from the state, woefully inadequate resources and low teacher pay, proving that manufactured rhetoric around “failing” public schools is unequivocally false.
Factors for Success
It is important to note that school letter grades place a large focus on standardized test scores and therefore correlate most closely with the socioeconomic status of the families in a school. Lower-performing schools desperately need intensive investment from our state to lift students into success. However, these dramatic improvements show significant academic growth in the three-year period despite pandemic-related remote learning.
This progress is a testament to the dedication and hard work of Arizona’s classroom educators, principals, aides and support staff, counselors, custodians, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers. We celebrate these committed public servants and their hard work on behalf of Arizona students.
Kathy Hoffman, Superintendent of Public Instruction from 2018 to 2022, deserves enormous credit for achieving substantial progress despite chronic underfunding and a worldwide pandemic. From increasing mental health supports, improving the student-to-counselor ratio, advocating for more classroom resources, and focusing on equitable distribution of funds, Supt. Hoffman has worked to ensure a quality education for every Arizona child.
Additionally, districts were able to use federal, one-time ESSER pandemic relief funding to alleviate some of the hardships caused by extremely low state funding. With these funds, district schools were able to provide classroom aides, interventionists, tutors, technology, software, classroom grants, and much more. These investments had direct impacts on student learning and achievement.
Our local public schools continue to consistently serve their communities and help Arizona children from all walks of life access a strong future. An investment in public education is an investment in the health and well-being of our communities as well as Arizona’s future workforce and economy. That is the best investment our state can make.