A preview of a new report released last week by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy offers further insight into the teacher recruitment and retention issues we’ve been hearing about for several years.
While the full report (available in early May) will cover a variety of factors that impact teacher recruitment and retention, a number of key facts in the preview focus on teacher pay.
- When adjusted for inflation, elementary teachers are paid 14% less than in 2001 and Arizona secondary teachers are paid 11% less.
- When adjusted for cost of living, Arizona elementary teacher pay is lowest in the nation and high school teacher pay is 48th of the 50 states.
In addition, we learn that high percentages of teachers are leaving the profession within their first few years and that rural and urban schools alike struggle to attract and retain quality educators.
If we care about the success of every student, this is an issue we cannot wait to address. High-quality teachers are the most important factor to improve student achievement, which is why teacher recruitment and retention, including teacher pay, is a top advocacy priority for Expect More Arizona.
It is unacceptable that Arizona is last in the nation for teacher pay. Arizona’s students deserve better than last. And investments in our teachers and classroom will positively impact our communities and everyone’s quality of life.
Arizona should make a commitment to work to move toward the national median. Understanding that this requires a tremendous ongoing investment of resources, Expect More Arizona is advocating for new funding to increase teacher pay over the long-term.
We must also create opportunities for meaningful professional development, high-quality mentoring and induction programs, and teacher student loan forgiveness programs for Arizona educators.
Do Your Part! Arizona’s educators work hard and they deserve our support. Take action now to tell your elected leaders to make education, including teacher pay, a priority in this year’s budget. Help us highlight best practices around the state. There are many great initiatives and innovative programs in schools and communities across Arizona that are successfully building support for educators, providing professional development, training mentors and more.
Expect More Arizona