Education in Phoenix Arizona
Settled in the corner of the Southwest, Phoenix is home to 58 school districts. The state places a high importance on learning from early education through post-secondary education. Local college and university graduates keep the economy flourishing. Arizona recognizes the value of a globally competitive education and strives to keep its best and brightest students in the state. To that end, Arizona has recently introduced programs to keep students engaged and active during summer breaks. The Arizona Education Association offers discounted continuing education for teachers further enhancing the educations of their students. In 1983, The Arizona Educational Foundation began working with schools in order to reinforce educational standards and design challenging and stimulating curriculums. The Education Coalition of Arizona strives to improve parental and community involvement within schools and generate tax revenue for educational purposes. Educational development has a number of allies in The Grand Canyon State and Arizona legislators are consistently introducing new legislation to improve learning facilities and create new programs for students. Arizona continues to be a rich environment for its students to grow, learn and thrive.
Like many growing cities, education is a central component when it comes to attracting residents, and Phoenix is no exception. With 30 school districts, a wealth of higher education choices that include the University of Phoenix, and a variety of trade, technical, private and parochial schools, there are plenty of educational opportunities for residents.
There are more than 400 public schools in Phoenix in both large and small districts, as well as more than 500 charter and private schools that serve students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The Phoenix metropolitan area includes the city itself, Maricopa County, most of Pinal County and parts of southern Yavapai County. The Valley of the Sun is home to Mesa Public Schools, the largest school district in the state. Serving the cities of Mesa, Tempe and Chandler, the district serves some 69,000 students in traditional grades K-12, as well as alternative schools based on nontraditional curriculums.
In all, education is a priority in Phoenix and throughout the state – and it shows. The Arizona Department of Education announced that Arizona students again performed above the national average on the College Board’s SAT college readiness examination during the 2011-2012 school year. This year’s performance of Arizona’s students marks a six-year upward trend. Arizona students scored 519 in critical reading with the national average at 496, and they scored 525 in math, while the national average was 514. And in writing, Arizona students scored 500, while the national average was 488.
Committed to education
No matter where you’re moving – and whether or not you have children – education is an important consideration for anyone considering relocation. The quality of education in a community affects everything from resale value to the schools in your neighborhood.
With the area’s tremendous growth over the last several years, school districts have increased accordingly to accommodate more students, and the city has adopted several initiatives to foster educational excellence. One is the city’s Youth and Education Commission, which, in partnership with the Human Relations Commission, offers grants to Phoenix schools through its Focus on Results grants initiative.
Each year, the mayor and Phoenix city council support the Phoenix Youth and Teen Services to fund the programs and activities that provide constructive activities for teens. The city has also created The Dropout Prevention Program working with national, state and local organizations to encourage kids to stay in school, pursue post-secondary education or careers, and provide after-school activities.
Higher education opportunities
Phoenix is also known for its higher education opportunities. Area colleges and universities include the Arizona State University (in nearby Tempe), University of Phoenix, Argosy University, Maricopa Community Colleges/Phoenix College (plus several other major campuses), Grand Canyon University, Western International University, and the internationally renowned Thunderbird – The Garvin School of International Management.
In particular, the Arizona State University has over 300 undergraduate and more than 250 masters and graduate degree programs in 16 colleges and schools. One of the largest research-heavy institutions in the U.S., Arizona State University annually devotes over $385 million in research and development expenditures.
And, the huge Maricopa Community Colleges network features 12 colleges that specialize in university transfer, continuing education, career and job training programs. Phoenix College, the system’s main campus, is nationally known for its programs in gerontology, dental hygiene, fire science, emergency medical technology, mathematics, art, graphic design, creative writing, and administration of justice.
Recent research comparing Arizona to states of similar size found that Arizona ranked second for average Arizona student test scores on the ACT college entrance exam, and that Arizona is also ranked second among states of similar size for the number of bachelor’s degrees in natural sciences and engineering