Arizona School Districts
Arizona embodies a unique place in the national landscape. Tucked snugly alongside California and New Mexico Arizona also shares a border with Mexico and Las Vegas. Arizona school districts are governed by the Arizona Department of Education. As of 2011 Arizona's school district was comprised of 225 districts, 374 charter holders, and 13 Joint Technological Education Districts and over 2200 public schools. The Arizona school district employed over 60,000 certified teachers and had over 1,000,000 students in attendance.
Arizona school districts are governed by the Arizona Department of Education and led by the superintendent. The Department of Education holds the basic mission of driving and championing achievement while fulfilling standards found in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The NCLB Act sets specific standards for schools to adhere to. Arizona meets this challenge as a part of their governing vision and mission plan.
Arizona school districts face many challenges as they strive to fulfill federal standards and guidelines. Socio-economic factors weigh heavily on Arizona school districts. Sharing a border with Mexico challenges Arizona school districts with students not primarily speaking English. Because English is not the native language of these students the family structure likely retains their native Mexican language posing challenges for the student as they cycle from English to Mexican throughout their education. To combat this Arizona school districts has developed English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. The goal of this program is to provide non-English speaking students an opportunity to learn English while retaining their native language.
Economically Arizona has borne a tremendous burden due to the housing collapse. Housing prices in Phoenix tumbled and much needed revenue was lost as the housing collapse cascaded through Arizona. Rampant unemployment followed and the impacts on Arizona school districts were felt by way of budget cuts as Arizona struggled under the crushing financial burdens.
Currently Arizona school districts are working under a waiver of the No Child Left Behind Act and utilizing its own measurement and accountability system. Arizona school districts are following a strict statewide initiative called Common Core Learning Standards. CCLS promises tougher core standards that will align the Arizona school district ahead of the No Child Left Behind Act.