Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Foundation-Arizona with Arizona School Choice Trust will host a town hall, Restoring American Exceptionalism – Arizona Townhall, January 22 at Radisson Phoenix-Chandler from 6-8 p.m. as part of National School Choice Week. The purpose of the townhall is to promote school choice as an avenue to improve the performance of American students. According to the event website they want to support successful schools and hold failing schools accountable.
“It’s time to put children and parents first in the education policy debate, not the bureaucrats and not the unions,” Tom Jenney, director of AFP Foundation-Arizona, said in a press release. “Governments in Arizona spend over $9,000 a year on the average child in the public district schools, and yet 71 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in math and 73 percent are no proficient in reading.”
There will be a simulcast event with Fox News contributor Juan Williams and Hugh Hewitt that will also be aired live on the internet at www.PutKidsFirst.com. Tom Jenney, Education Policy Director Jonathan Butcher and Arizona School Choice Trust Executive Director Liz Moser Dreckman will hold a Q&A session on education policy reform.
This is one of almost 50 events taking place nationwide between January 22 and 28. Free tickets are available.
With National School Choice Week in full swing and events taking place around the nation, Arizona families have a chance to focus on educational issues through multiple events and movie screenings.
One film, “The Cartel,” was directed by Bob Bowden, who worked for many years in the New Jersey TV news world. The film takes a look at the education system through several different perspectives: from teachers and principals who are trying to change their schools for the better to policymakers in charge of how the school system works. “The Cartel” follows what Bowden calls the crisis facing students in America’s schools despite, in many cases, more than enough funding.
On the movie’s website, Bowden posted several statistics about high school students’ poor reading and math grades. While there are shocking numbers about dropout rates (“Twelve percent of American high schools are ‘dropout factories’—schools where less than 60 percent of freshmen even make it to their senior year”), it is interesting to look at how Arizona ranks compared to these national statistics.
When looking at statistics about the percentage of students at different reading or math levels, it may be more helpful to look at the percent of students who are in the “below basic” or “basic” categories as opposed to the “proficient” or “advanced” categories. According to Arizona’s State Report Card, which is organized by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “proficient” has a different definition than what we are used to. When it comes to national and state report cards, a child in the “proficient” category can handle “challenging” material. This group does not include students who can read or do math at a level that is adequate for everyday life.
In Arizona’s case, 24 percent of eighth-grade students can read at a “proficient” level, meaning these students can handle more challenging work. However, 41 percent read only at an average level and 32 percent are at a “below basic” level. The final four percent are reading at an advanced level.
In order to understand exactly where students are, as far as tests scores and standards are concerned, understanding how categories are defined offers a better picture of what the statistics mean.
The Goldwater Institute is hosting a screening screening of the Bowden movie from 6 to 8:30 p.m. today at 500 E. Coronado Rd. in Phoenix. The event is open to the public. RVSP to attend. — Veronica Jones
Posted in School choice, Uncategorized
Tagged Arizona, Arizona school rankings, Arizona's State Report Card, Bob Bowden, Cartel, dropout factories, education, education funding, education system, Goldwater Institute, high school dropouts, math levels, National Assessment of Educational Progress, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), national education rankings, National School Choice Week, New Jersey, policy makers, principals, reading levels, Student, teachers, The Cartel