Arizona’s schools Superintendent Diane Douglas went on a listening tour this week following her announcement that she’d asked the state Legislature to pump $680 million into Arizona schools.
The money would go directly to school districts and charter schools, Douglas said, in order to pay teachers more, improve structures and build new ones, boost transportation and fund preventive maintenance. All of that would amount to an effort to make schools safer and more effective, she said.
Education in Arizona has been on a bumpy road in recent years, culminating this year with the passage of the controversial Proposition 123. With an upcoming hike in the minimum wage, there are yet more questions. Douglas has been using the tour of about 40 schools to talk with teachers, parents and students to learn what people want in their education system.
Arizona Week sat down to talk with Douglas about her listening tour and the inevitable battle at the Capitol, amid a host of newcomer legislators.
We also take a look at Altar Valley, the school district working to establish effective STEM curricula in a place where nearly 30 percent of the community is below the poverty line. School leaders are determined to give kids some of the best educational opportunities, they said.
Missile-maker Raytheon is also encouraging STEM efforts in the state, according to a spokesman, contributing 40 percent of its community donations to STEM education.