January 18, 2011 PHOENIX Governor Jan Brewer today announced the formal launch of Arizona's Education Reform Plan, which is the implementation strategy for Arizona's Race to the Top application and forms the basis of the Governor's Education Reform Policy Agenda.
"For the first time we have a solid education reform plan that not only contains real goals, but a thoughtful roadmap for achievement," said Governor Brewer. "This plan provides a coherent and aggressive framework for accomplishing true education reform as well as the opportunity to change education in Arizona in a way that will help all of our students. I am so grateful for the work and dedication of the P-20 Council, led by Dr. Carol Peck. I applaud its continuing desire to improve academic achievement in Arizona."
"I look forward to working with the Governor on developing policies which move Arizona's education system forward in a meaningful way," said John Huppenthal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. "We share a commitment to significantly increase accountability while providing every child with the educational tools he or she needs to succeed."
The Governor's P-20 Coordinating Council, with input and support across the state from educators, business leaders, and community organizations, along with the assistance of Dr. Paul Koehler of West Ed, has been working over the past few months to transform and prioritize Arizona's Race to the Top application into a reform plan to implement specific education performance goals with yearly benchmarks that will put Arizona on the path to increased student achievement, improved high school graduation rates, and increased post- secondary education success.
"When the Governor made the decision that Arizona should be an applicant for Race to the Top, she made it clear to me and the P-20 Council that the development of the application should serve as a statewide planning process for the transformation of Arizona's education system, said Dr. Paul Koehler. Her goal was not just to compete for federal funds, but to develop a plan with statewide support to reform the education system, pre-school through post-graduate (P-20), in a way that would better match the needs of Arizona's economy in the next 100 years."
The Governor directed that the goals of the Plan be built around the concept of higher expectations while achieving better results. The yearly benchmarks identified in the plan should put the State on a path to achieve specific goals by 2020 and include: - Increasing the percent of third graders meeting state standards in reading from 69% to 94% - Increasing the high school graduation rate from 75% to at least 93% - Increasing the percent of eighth graders achieving at or above basic on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) from 67% in to 85%; - Doubling the amount of students receiving baccalaureate degrees Governor Brewer is confident that momentum is already building because of the work that has already begun in the area of standards, testing and teacher evaluations. Furthermore, a solid legislative foundation was built last year in many areas such as alternative certification, accountability, and data governance. This plan lays out the vision for the full realization of these goals.