Arizona's Education Priorities
Education Forward Arizona conducted a poll of Arizona voters to better understand voters’ priorities for education. The survey complements and is intended to go deeper on the findings in the Arizona Voters’ Agenda, in coordination with the Center for the Future of Arizona. The survey was conducted May 10-17, 2022 by HighGround Public Affairs on behalf of Education Forward Arizona, a statewide nonprofit and nonpartisan organization.
What we found is that Arizonans deeply care most about the issues that will support good teaching and learning, not the political hot button issues that often get the most attention. Voters want to see candidates and elected officials discussing key education issues, many of which are aligned with meeting the Arizona Education Progress Meter and Achieve60AZ attainment goals.
This work is supported in part by the Helios Education Foundation, the Arizona Community Foundation, Pharos Foundation, Rodel Foundation of Arizona Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation, and Southern Arizona Leadership Council.
Summary of Poll Results
What are the Biggest Issues Facing Education?
Voters are concerned that teachers are underpaid and schools are underfunded. Voters also demonstrated concern for Arizona’s ongoing teacher shortage and a lack of qualified teachers in the state.
Are Teacher Pay & School Funding Too High or Too Low?
When voters were asked about teacher pay, specifically if the salaries K-12 teachers receive are too high, too low, or just about right, 78.2% of voters said that they believe salaries are too low. Additionally, 66.2% of voters believe that school funding is too low.
What Do Voters Prioritize as Top Issues?
- Every school having quality teachers and principals (90.2% strongly support)
- Making sure students are proficient in math (88.2% strongly support)
- Making sure students can read proficiently by the end of 3rd grade (88.2% strongly support)
- Increasing opportunities for Career and Technical Education (84.8% strongly support)
- Providing support and resources to fix underperforming schools (69.6% strongly support)
- Helping working adults build their job skills and earn a diploma or degree (64% strongly support)
- Providing scholarships to Arizona low-income students to go to college (55.8% strongly support)
- Increasing the number of school counselors (51.4% strongly support)
What Issues Do Voters NOT Support?
The poll also showed that a majority of likely Arizona voters do not support the following issues:
- Banning critical race theory
- Restricting discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation during sex education
- Closing failing schools
What Education Issues are Important for Candidates To Be Talking About?
With more than a dozen options presented, Arizona voters prioritized: ensuring every classroom has a qualified teacher, raising teacher pay, increasing school funding, and fostering more opportunities for Career and Technical Education for Arizona students.
An Open Letter Supporting Arizona’s Education Priorities
More than 300 Arizonans joined in on an open letter to Arizona candidates asking them to offer solutions to these education issues that matter most to us, our students, and our state. Read the letter here.
To add your name to the letter, click here.
Questions for Candidates and Elected Officials
Use the questions below to ask candidates and elected officials how they would address these priorities Arizonans have for education. Find your elected officials using our Policymaker Look Up Tool.
- How will you ensure that every Arizona student has quality teachers and school leaders?
- How will you increase teacher pay?
- How will you address funding for education, including early education (PreK and full-day Kindergarten), K-12, community colleges and universities?
- Are you supportive of providing additional funding to support low-income students in K-12?
- What would you do to increase the number of quality early learning opportunities for 3- and 4-year-olds? Would you support greater PreK options and full-day Kindergarten?
- What strategies will you use to help more students be proficient in reading and math?
- What would you do to close achievement gaps to help low income and students of color succeed?
- How will you expand career and technical education opportunities for students?
- How will you expand scholarships for low-income students to go to college or provide other state-based financial aid?
- How would you target investment in our community colleges to address the workforce development gap of jobs that require certificates and degrees?
- How would you support Arizona’s universities in increasing the number of students who receive the postsecondary education that the industry is demanding?
- What will you do to increase the number of school counselors or these types of services to students across the state?
As a 501(c)3 organization, Education Forward Arizona does not endorse candidates or influence the outcome of candidate elections.