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Southern Arizona teachers outvoted general public in 2016 election


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  • Kelly Prevenas/ Tucson Values Teachers

A Portion Of An AZEdNews Infographic By Lisa Irish/AZEdNews

Tucson Values Teachers and Expect More Arizona teamed up with five Southern Arizona school districts in 2016 for the “This Teacher Votes for Education” campaign, a yearlong initiative encouraging teachers to be advocates for education through voting.

Results from the 2016 General Election show that teachers in these school districts turned out to vote in high numbers—an average of 92 percent among the five districts. For comparison, turnout in Arizona for the 2016 General Election was 74 percent and in Pima County it was 78 percent. (Click to view graph.)

Katie Rogerson, chief operating officer for Tucson Values Teachers, said, “It is important for the general public to recognize that teachers are also voters, especially now as we prepare for Teacher Appreciation Week,” said Katie Rogerson, chief operating officer for Tucson Values Teachers.

“Teacher turnout for the 2016 General Election was nearly 20 percentage points higher than the state of Arizona; this is a huge number that reflects educators’ commitment to their community, their students, and their profession. We hope teachers feel empowered knowing that together they stand up for education by showing up at the polls,” Rogerson said. 

The 2016 initiative is an expansion of the 2014 pilot project that was conducted in partnership with Tucson Unified School District.

This past year, TVT and Expect More Arizona worked with five local school districts: Marana, Sahuarita, Sunnyside, Tucson and Vail unified school districts.

In addition to a high overall turnout for this group of teachers, findings show that turnout was high regardless of the district; only two percentage points separated districts with the highest and lowest turnout in the 2016 General Election. Sahuarita Unified School District had the highest turnout at 93 percent. No district had a turnout below 91 percent. (Click to view graph.)

TVT and Expect More Arizona worked closely with participating school districts from April through November 2016, coordinating communication efforts with teachers and district leadership, as well as conducting in-person presentations at select school sites. New to the 2016 initiative, teacher ambassadors were identified at each school within the partnering districts to provide project leadership for their respective schools. TVT and Expect More Arizona provided professional training, project support, materials and specific opportunities for educators to get involved by voting.

The work done by the teacher ambassadors and other project partners made an impact on getting teachers to the polls.

Teacher turnout in the 2016 General Election increased when compared to the 2012 General Election, while the state and county turnout remained the same. Turnout by this teacher universe increased from 78 percent in 2012 to 92 percent in 2016. Arizona and Pima County turnout was the same in 2012 and 2016—74 percent and 78 percent, respectively.

“The data from our 2016 project reflects what we previously learned in the 2014 pilot project with TUSD,” said Erin Eccleston, vice president of outreach for Expect More Arizona. “Teachers vote and we know they are inclined to make education a priority when do. Educators know best what is needed to improve education in our state. We hope these findings encourage our policymakers to seek the input of our teachers and prioritize policies that will have the greatest impact for our teachers and kids.”

Tucson Values Teachers (TVT) is a business and education partnership focused on helping schools and districts attract, retain and support the very best teachers for every K-12 classroom in Southern Arizona. The organization recognizes the critical role teachers play in student achievement and the vital influence they have on Tucson’s future. It does this work by raising public awareness of the value of the teaching profession while providing programs that benefit teachers economically and professionally. For more information and to support TVT, visit tucsonvaluesteachers.org or call (520) 327-7619.

 Expect More Arizona is a statewide nonpartisan education advocacy organization working to build a movement of Arizonans in support of an excellent education for all AZ children, every step of the way. Expect More Arizona accomplishes this work by raising awareness of critical education issues and encouraging high expectations for all children; mobilizing voters to get more engaged, and fostering collaboration between community leaders and organizations around key advocacy issues. Visit ExpectMoreArizona.org to learn more and join the movement.

For more information, please contact Katie Rogerson, chief operating officer at 520-327-7619 or</em> <em>Shannon Sowby, with Expect More Arizona public relations at 602-615-6235.