84th Arizona Town Hall
Pre-k - 12 Education: Choices for Arizona's Future
Jun. 13 - 16, 2004

Identifying and formulating means of enhancing and improving the public education system must become a greater focus of Arizona's parents, administrators, teachers, students, businesses, communities and leaders throughout the state if Arizona is going to be an effective member of a global society in the future. Following are just a few of the major recommendations from the 84th Arizona Town Hall that could be instrumental in improving the public education system in our state.

  • Students at risk of educational failure must be identified early and appropriate intervention should follow. We must immediately resolve the issues that are causing students to fall behind.
  • Evidence-based data demonstrates that quality, highly trained and effective teachers are most critical to student success.
  • A gap or disconnect exists between the skills and skill levels required to graduate from our public schools and those needed in the workplace and entry into higher education. This gap must be reduced.
  • Many Arizona high schools must be fundamentally restructured to meet the needs of their student populations in order to adequately prepare them for citizenship, higher education or technical school and the challenge of the workplace in the future.
  • Parents must be partners with the school in the education of their children. A variety of methods exist to successfully engage parents, family members and other adults in students' education.
  • Arizona currently has not identified the best possible path for teaching students for whom English is not their primary language. Bilingual and immersion programs both have their own positive and negative aspects.
  • While recognizing that standardized tests may not be the most effective means of assessing every student, all agreed that standards-based testing can be used appropriately for objective evaluation of a school and students. High-stakes testing, however, must not be the only component for effective evaluation.
  • Pre-k and child care settings should be supported and accessible but not mandated. Focus should shift from child care to early education and development.
  • A commission, not composed of any legislators, should design a unification/consolidation plan based upon research, physical boundaries and educational advantages.

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