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Data Show Children of Color Face Barriers to Educational Success

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that children of color and those growing up in immigrant families continue to face persistent barriers to opportunity.

The report, Race for Results, measures children’s progress on 12 key milestones for family security, health and education. The data shows small improvements since 2014. However, poverty and public policies leave many kids of color behind in every educational benchmark, from early childhood to attainment after high school.

Governor Ducey and many leaders throughout our state have made a commitment that all children in Arizona should have the chance for success, no matter what their family background or zip code is. But it is clear we can’t fulfill that commitment until we reform the very policies that are blocking the way for children with immigrant parents and children who are Latino, African American, and American Indian.

In Arizona, 445,000 children have at least one parent who is an immigrant; 90% of these children are US citizens. Nearly nine in ten children with immigrant parents in Arizona are children of color and many struggle in school because of language and cultural barriers.

 

Investments In Quality Early Education Yield High Returns

The evidence is clear: when young children have healthy and enriching experiences, with one on one attention from teachers, parents and caregivers, they are more likely to be ready for school and to transition successfully into kindergarten and beyond. Decades of evidence shows that an investment in quality early education saves considerable money in long term costs to address the issues that occur when students struggle in school.

Children’s Action Alliance has released a new policy brief entitled “Investments in Early Education Yield High Returns.”  The brief examines why quality early childhood is important for families and children, but also for businesses. It also provides an overview of the foundations that already exist here in Arizona as well as a look at some of the gaps and how we compare to other states.

It’s up to us to make sure policymakers hear the voices of teachers, parents, and business leaders: Early childhood is an investment we can’t afford to ignore.

 

Read Our 4th Quarter Newsletter – October – December 2017

Click here for our latest newsletter detailing what’s happening with the Arizona Grandparents Ambassadors this quarter.

Teacher Shortage is Reaching Critical Levels in Arizona

One hundred thirty five school districts and charter schools report ongoing challenges with Arizona’s teacher shortage in the third annual survey from the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association. This year, more than half of the identified teacher position openings remain vacant or are filled using alternative methods four weeks into the school year:

  • More than 500 teachers have already abandoned their jobs or resigned, up 13% over last year.
  • 1,328 teaching positions remain vacant
  • 2,491 teaching positions have been filled with people who don’t meet standard teaching requirements

The crisis means that many students are learning from long term substitutes and many teachers don’t have time to pay attention to each student because they are teaching combined and larger classes, curriculum in combined grades or extra classes with no time to plan.

The Morrison Institute report has documented low teacher salaries and difficult working conditions like these as large contributors to the shortage.

Last year, Children’s Action Alliance and AZ Schools Now brought specific proposals to Governor Ducey and the legislature to strengthen investments in classrooms and to boost teacher pay by 4% each year. The final budget they adopted included only a 2% bonus over two years. As the teacher shortage crisis continues, join us in demanding a statewide plan with resources to make our public education stronger.