Governor Jan Brewer today launched the "Arizona Ready Education Report Card," an online data tool designed to monitor the State's progress in reaching its educational goals. View the Education Report Card at www.ArizonaReady.com.
"This online Education Report Card puts right at parents' finger tips some of the most critical information about the quality of our schools and the achievement of our students," said Governor Brewer. "With this novel, user-friendly tool, parents and educators alike will be empowered to measure Arizona's education successes, monitor our shortcomings and, ultimately, help ensure our children are college and career-ready after graduation."
The education reform plan known as Arizona Ready was jointly developed by Governor Brewer, the Arizona Department of Education and multiple education stakeholders in 2010, and implemented the following year. The initiative sets specific and measurable goals, each based upon recommendations from statewide education and business leaders, as well as Arizona's Race to the Top grant application. These goals reflect the State's necessity to hold our students, teachers and administrators to higher expectations while improving transparency and accountability in our education system.
Before real improvement could be made, the State needed to know where its schools and students stand, plus have a way to track progress and present all of that data to parents and educators in a fashion that is easy to follow. That's where the Arizona Ready Education Report Card comes in.
"As someone deeply-involved in education reform, I am very pleased to have this tool available," said Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Arizona Ready Education Council. "The ability to drill down into our goals and access detailed information will enable the Council to make more thoughtful and deliberate recommendations that can drive meaningful change. This will prove invaluable to education in the State of Arizona."
The Education Report Card tracks the State's progress in six major areas: pre-kindergarten; elementary education; junior high; high school; post-secondary education; and workforce. A review of the data indicates, while there remains much work to be done, Arizona has made improvements in vital education areas.
For example: Arizona 8th graders showed solid improvement on the National Assessment of Educational Programs (NAEP) in 2011, as compared with previous years. Additionally, the percentage of 3rd graders meeting State reading standards has steadily increased. The information provided in these and other key areas will shine a light on the positive strides our schools are making while pinpointing areas that still need improvement.
These improvements have been accelerated largely by key education reforms Governor Brewer has championed since taking office, including: grading schools based on the academic progress of their students using an A-F letter grade system; requiring 3rd graders to read at or near grade level before advancing to the 4th grade; expanding school choice; and requiring more rigorous teacher evaluations that include quantitative measures of students' academic progress.
Though a significant amount of work has been done in terms of education reform, there is much yet to come. The impending implementation of Arizona's Common Core Standards, as well as a continued focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, will provide new ways of learning and help ensure students are well-equipped for higher education and a competitive workforce.
"An educated workforce is crucial to the future economic success of Arizona," said Governor Brewer. "This Arizona Ready Education Report Card -- in addition to our other ongoing efforts to improve Arizona schools -- will help align our education system with the needs of employers. I am proud of the progress we have made, and excited to see how these reforms will shape our educational and economic future."
For more information about the Report Card -- and to see where Arizona stands in terms of educational progress -- visit www.ArizonaReady.com.