Some of you may have seen the Children's Action Alliance’s response to the proposal for Results-Based Funding. Allow us to correct the record. Better yet, let some of Arizona’s finest school leaders say it best:
“Gov. Ducey’s budget not only emphasizes education, it focuses on schools like Nogales that are delivering great results to rural and low-income populations across our state. We strongly support this approach.” – Angel Canto, Assistant Superintendent of Nogales Unified School District and Baltazar Garcia, CEO of Mexicayotl Academy
This money will serve a very diverse set of schools whose commonality is excellence. These best schools often serve students outside their district and attendance boundaries and many have long wait lists.
“400 boys and girls sit on our waitlist at Maryvale Preparatory Academy, anxiously awaiting their opportunity to learn. This will require additional dollars to support the extra time, talent, and resources needed to serve even more families and kids in the community at this ‘A’ level.” –Mac Esau, Headmaster of Maryvale Preparatory Academy
In the CAA’s press release, they incorrectly say that 65% of the funding is going to “high income” schools. This is inaccurate. The Governor’s proposal puts the largest investment into high poverty and low-income schools. CAA’s argument only holds water if you assume schools with 30-59% of their kids in poverty are rich. They’re not. They have a diverse population and the challenges that go with it. Combined with the high poverty cohort of 60% or more in poverty, they make up the bulk of the schools receiving funding.
The Governor teased high poverty schools out of the full cohort in order to fund them at a higher amount - almost double - at $400 per student. This strong funding amount is intended to accelerate their growth so that more kids in poverty can access a great school in their own community.
“We know that significant progress in closing Arizona’s achievement gap will not be possible under previous education funding paradigms. Arizona and the federal government has tried to fix underperformance through reformation of the lowest performing schools, and the results from this effort have unsurprisingly fallen flat to the detriment of the teachers and students in those schools… But our success is replicable. With support, we are prepared to serve even more students than we already are.” – Kim Chayka, Co-CEO of Academies of Math & Science
The Governor’s proposal uses limited resources toward the highest impact by targeting high performing schools that are expanding and will be able to expand more rapidly or grow their impact if given such resources.
“Results-Based Funding is Arizona’s best chance of significantly moving the needle on student achievement. – Darcy Mentone, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Vail Unified School District and The Vail Parent Network Steering Committee
If we want to move more students in to high quality schools now, then let’s invest in schools that are already achieving success.