Arizona spends less on K-12 education than almost every other state. Moreover, Arizona’s student performance lags much of the country, and its achievement gap is substantial. These problems are costing the state tens of millions of dollars in unrealized economic opportunities and may very well require additional public investment to solve. But adding resources on top of the current system is likely an ineffective solution.
When this project began, Arizona's Proposition 301 sales tax for public education was approaching its expiration date. It was vital that stakeholders collect and analyze a comprehensive data set so that leaders could maximize the state’s current spending, and to ensure that new money is spent in ways that make a real difference for students.
With support from the Arizona Community Foundation and the Rodel Foundation of Arizona, ERS established a comprehensive "fact base" that explores spending levels, salary levels, and labor market indicators like teacher turnover and staffing shortages. We compare Arizona to other states to identify trends and provide benchmarks.