New study: ‘Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay are at crisis levels’


ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy has a new report coming out in May on education in Arizona that it is previewing this week. Here is the summary I received by email with the highlights from its (corrected) Key Facts brief added in.

Top findings from new report show crisis levels for Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay

PHOENIX – Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay are at crisis levels with more teachers leaving the profession annually than bachelor of education degrees produced by the three universities, compounded by an exodus of instructors for reasons ranging from retirement to poor salaries.

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Those are just some of the data points and facts in the upcoming Morrison Institute for Public Policy report, Finding & Keeping Educators for Arizona’s Classrooms. The study’s top facts are being released today in a two-page brief, with the full report to be released in May.

“There continues to be much discussion regarding quality education in Arizona, and that goal often begins and ends with quality teachers in the classroom,” said Thom Reilly, director of Morrison Institute, an Arizona State University public policy center. “This report looks at the status of the teaching profession from many angles to help further the discussion and resolution from a fact- and evidence-based perspective.”

Morrison Institute Senior Policy Analyst Dan Hunting was the principal researcher of the report, which includes an exclusive survey of teachers from throughout Arizona. The project was funded by the Arizona Community Foundation, Helios Education Foundation and The Pike and Susan Sullivan Foundation.

“Research shows that the most important variable in a student’s success is the teacher,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation. “We must focus on recruiting and retaining great teachers so that our students have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.”

Among the key facts in the report:

• 42 percent of Arizona teachers hired in 2013 left the profession within three years.
• 74 percent of Arizona school administrators surveyed said their campuses are experiencing a shortage of teachers.
• When adjusted for cost-of-living, Arizona elementary school teacher pay is the lowest in the nation. High school teacher pay ranks 48th of the 50 states.

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“Teacher pay and support is a proxy for how highly we think of students and their education,” said Steve Seleznow, President & CEO of Arizona Community Foundation and a former school administrator. “When we undervalue our educators, we under educate our children. This problem will not go away without fundamental change in the ways we support our teachers. If we value the education our children receive, we must provide teachers compensation commensurate with those values.”

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A Morrison Institute statewide survey found 85 percent of rural school administrators saying that hiring new teachers is somewhat or extremely difficult. Urban school district administrators also had trouble with a statewide teacher shortage, with 77 percent saying hiring teachers is somewhat or extremely difficult.

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Teachers are leaving the profession for many reasons – retirement, disillusionment, low pay and a feeling of lack of support.

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“The teacher shortage is urgent, critical and very real,” said Rachel Yanof, Senior Director of Educational Initiatives for the Pike and Susan Sullivan Foundation. “It is imperative that those with the position to influence policy read this report and act in a manner that will stem this crisis as quickly as possible. Our children deserve it.”

Research for the report featured data from a myriad of sources, including:

• Federal data on labor markets and educational statistics.
• Employment data on 89,605 individual teachers who taught between 2012 and 2016, from Arizona Department of Education (ADE).
• A Morrison Institute online Education Workforce Survey of over 300 Arizona school administrators and over 1,600 teachers from all areas of the state, including district and charter schools.
• Focus group discussions with top-performing teachers throughout the state.
• Interviews with superintendents, principals and school board members around Arizona.

The complete report of Finding & Keeping Educators for Arizona’s Classrooms will be released in May and posted on the Morrison Institute website at

Key Facts (corrected version) from the upcoming report:
Finding & Keeping Educators for Arizona’s Classrooms
Download the PDF from here.

The Republic’s Laurie Roberts looks at this report and snarks about our “Education Governor” (sic), Teachers fed up? In Arizona? Noooo:

But wait: Look at all this help they’re getting

Why, just three months ago, Ducey, in his State of the State address, said he had “a new appreciation for the excellence occurring in our school system.” He attributed that success to teachers.

“I want teachers in our state to know: You make a difference. I value your work and it’s time we return the favor.”

Four days later, he proposed a 4/10th’s of a percent pay raise that amounts to about $2 a week.

Three months later, he signed a universal voucher bill that’ll divert more public money to private schools.

This, in a state that already spends $1,365 less, when adjusted for inflation, to educate a child than it did in 2008.

Me? I can’t imagine why teachers are feeling slighted.


  1. Woe is us, woe is us, woe is us, woe is us, woe is us, woe is us.

    Teacher job satisfaction is not significantly different in Arizona than it is in other states.

    Teacher turnover is very high nationwide. Not because of pay, but because of job satisfaction. Teacher job satisfaction is down by unbelievable amounts since “Race to the Top” started – the annual Met Life survey is down more than 35%. It is very difficult to get education culture to bend enough to make teacher job satisfaction one of the key objectives of school boards and administrators.

    Not surprisingly, the productivity of our school system dropped another 5% as that plunge in job satisfaction took place.

    Teachers are treated very poorly.

    • Literally nothing in your post is true.

      You are a disgraced politician, and no one holds politicians in high regard.

      You regularly post propaganda, mis-information, and lies.

      You have regularly stated without equivocation that climate change is a hoax to enrich scientists off the taxpayer dime, that public school staff steals from the public, and that there is massive voter fraud including the buying of votes.

      If you truly thought any of these things were true, you would not be posting on a blog, you would be calling the police/sheriff/FBI/Justice Department and others.

      The GOP has been running the show since 2010 and controls over 30 states, so do not say the reason you are not alerting the authorities to these crimes is because of Obama, or whatever other lame excuse you liar conservative trolls use.

      Please admit you either have no proof there these crimes are being committed, or that you are an accomplice to these crimes.

      Because knowledge of a crime is the same as being part of the crimes.

      OMG you embarrasses yourself and conservatives everywhere.

      Go cry on the TV news some more and please stop the nonstop lying.

      It’s too obvious, and you are not a reputable man.

  2. The numbers here for teachers leaving the state early on in their careers suggests that teaching in AZ has become a pathway to other endeavors for many. But not a prestigious pathway like, for example, clerking for a judge is in the law. Say an aspiring teacher wants to teach in Massachusetts or Maryland but can’t crack the market. So she takes a position in AZ for a year or two to beef up her resume.

    Which means that in addition to all the other issues with Arizona’s schools, our kids are disproportionately being taught by inexperienced teachers.

  3. the people who care don’t have power and the people who have power don’t care. they don’t care about your education polls the only pole they care about is election night. in kansas they hired non teachers to be in the class rooms and will do the same here if necessary. the clintonista establishment democrats are discredited have only the russian hack porno to get by on. now we here the donor class doesn’t want to fund a hispanic in 201 for governor as they are afraid the latinos will take over the democratic party from the establishment rich old white clintonistas. they want another fred duval punching bag!

  4. Queue the local GOParrots – “Schools do better with less money. Paying teachers less makes Arizona schools great!”

    Based on the incoherent rants from a local cherry-picker, by his logic, paying CEO’s less should increase earnings.

    Paying cops less will decrease crime.

    Paying doctors less will improve people’s health.

    Worldwide teacher pay from 2014:

    Brookings says American teachers are underpaid:

    If Arizona teachers pay is at the bottom, and overall teacher pay in the US is too low, that’s two black eyes for Arizona.

    I do not have a child in an Arizona school, but I live in a school district that is considered desirable, which increase my homes value.

    And more importantly, I live a good live because I had some great teachers.

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