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Arizona K-12 students’ strong achievement gains dragged down by D- in education funding (+ Interactive Map & Chart)


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  • Lisa Irish/Arizona Education News Service

Aguilar Class Sends Help To Hurricane Harvey Victims. Photo Courtesy Tempe Elementary School DIstrict

Arizona K-12 students’ strong academic achievement over the past several years was dragged down by the state’s low spending for education, earning Arizona a D+ overall grade in Education’s Week‘s 2018 Quality Counts report Grading the States.

The Arizona state highlights report showed that Arizona received 68.7 out of a total 100 points, ranking it 45th in the nation among the 50 states and the District of Columbia – that’s one ranking higher than last year. The national average grade this year was a C, or 74.5.

Click on the states in Education Week’s interactive map to see their overall scores and results in the report card categories

Only 12 states received a grade higher than a C+. Massachusetts, which usually receives the highest grade, earned just a B+ this year.

This year’s results for Arizona are similar to previous report cards from 2017, 2016 and in 2015.

Arizona received a C- in the K-12 Achievement Index and ranks 26th among the states. The average state earned a C-. This index, which was last updated in 2016, is based on 18 distinct achievement measures related to reading and math performance, high school graduation rates, and the results of Advanced Placement exams. Status evaluates the state’s current performance, while change looks at a state’s improvement over time, and equity grades states on achievement gaps between students whose families have low income and those whose families have higher income.

Arizona earned a C in the Chance-for-Success Index and ranks 42nd in the country. The average state earned a C plus. This index, which was updated this year, takes data from 13 indicators that span a person’s life from cradle to career that are grouped into three categories early foundations, school years and adult outcomes. Early foundations includes items that help children get off to a good start, while school years looks at things that range from preschool enrollment to post-secondary enrollment and adult outcomes examines post-secondary attainment and workforce indicators.

Arizona earned a D- in the School Finance Analysis and ranks 46th in the nation. The average state earned a C. This analysis, which was updated this year, examines both school spending and measures of financial equity to capture the distribution of funding across districts within the state. For Arizona, that means while K-12 education funding remains low in comparison to the rest of the nation, that funding is equitably distributed to all school districts in the state.

Click on the tabs in Education Week’s interactive chart to see how states ranked in each category and overall