By a large margin, Arizona voters believe that education is the most important issue facing our state. Results from the statewide survey, conducted on behalf of Expect More Arizona in December 2015, show immigration/border security (12 percent) and the economy (10 percent) running a distant second and third to education (41 percent) as the most important issue among likely voters.
More specifically, increasing funding for schools (22 percent) and teacher pay (16 percent) emerged as the two top education issues. In fact, when asked what they would pay more in taxes to support, higher teacher pay was the top choice across all political parties.
The poll also shows that 66 percent of likely voters agree Prop. 123 is one important step toward solving education funding issues in Arizona and should be supported by additional new funding. When asked about other possible sources of funding, likely voters supported the use of surplus dollars (64 percent), future renewal of Prop 301 (56 percent) and passage of Prop 123 (53 percent).
Arizona voters would also like to see additional funding for Career and Technical Education (87%), which helps students receive real-world training that prepares them for the future.
Additional highlights from the telephone survey of 600 likely Arizona voters show:
- Overwhelming support for efforts to close the achievement gap (85 percent) and provide a world-class education for every child, regardless of background, income or zip code (94 percent).
- A strong belief that increasing the number of people who graduate from the state’s public community colleges and four-year colleges will help improve the state’s economy (85 percent).
- A focus on ensuring students have access to a great teacher and principal (92 percent) and schools have additional funding to serve low-income students (81 percent).
- A vast majority of Arizonans believe they have a role to play in supporting education (80 percent) and suggest voting is the best way they can make a difference (30%), along with volunteering (19%) and having high expectations for kids in their families (12%).
Expect More Arizona (EMA) will call on its growing network of individuals and organizations to collaborate on the following priorities:
- A long-term solution to increase education funding that focuses on equity and excellence in results and allows schools to attract and keep great teachers and principals.
- The passage of Proposition 123, as one step toward a sustainable and dependable funding plan for K-12 education.
- Restoration of the $30 million FY17 cut to Joint Technical Education Districts/Career and Technical Education, which is a proven strategy for increasing high school graduation rates and engaging disconnected youth.
- Expenditure limitation relief for the state’s community colleges.
- Reinvestment in the state’s public universities and moving toward funding 50% of in-state resident tuition.
- Rigorous academic standards in English and math in Arizona classrooms.
- The continued use of a high-quality statewide assessment that is aligned to the standards, provides teachers and parents with meaningful information, and has a proficiency score that indicates college and career readiness.
“We are encouraged to see such strong support from voters statewide for Arizona’s educators and students,” says Pearl Chang Esau, President and CEO of Expect More Arizona. “We look forward to working together with policymakers and elected officials to make education a top priority and advance the preferences of Arizona voters.”