Public Media: Data systems require funding

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Arizona Public Media reported that while many point to teacher salaries as the best way to address Arizona's teacher recruitment and retainment problem, one group is putting a special emphasis on another factor: data.

The National Council on Teacher Quality said Arizona, and other states, aren't doing enough to collect and connect data — in particular, data on teacher preparation programs.

"Part of the issue with teacher attraction and retention is that we don't always know very accurately what's going on — as far as where the openings are, as far as where the problems are, as far as salary, as far as what specific types of openings are occurring," Dan Hunting, senior policy analyst for Morrison Institute said.

Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy released a report last year on Arizona's classroom challenges.

The state's three public universities and Grand Canyon University constitute the major programs to produce teachers, according to Hunting, and statistics suggest the number of graduates coming from the three public universities is not keeping pace with the growth of school-age children in the state.

So why is an appropriate data system not in place?

"That's a surprisingly expensive thing to do — to really track everybody," and the Arizona Department of Education has struggled to get the funding to build a "robust" data system, Hunting said.

READ: Report: Teacher Shortage Calls for Better Data from Arizona