Education State of the States

Teacher Pay Could Rise in Arizona

By Mary Ann Zehr — January 13, 2006 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona has proposed expanding voluntary kindergarten, raising teacher salaries, and providing more professional development for teachers as her recipe for improving education in the coming year.

The governor, a Democrat, said in her Jan. 9 State of the State Address that Arizona had begun to pay for full-day kindergarten two years ago, and that the program should now be extended so that it is available to every parent who wants it.

Read a complete transcript of Governor Napolitano’s 2006 State of the State address. Posted by Arizona’s Office of the Governor.

Both an audio version and video of the governor’s speech is also posted. (Both files require a media player.)

“Young minds are hungry for information and develop quickly. The more they learn, the more they can learn. Let’s offer voluntary full-day kindergarten to every parent who wants it, and let’s do it this year,” the governor urged.

The current all-day-kindergarten program covers about 10,000 children, according to Becky Hill, the governor’s education adviser. In proposing to raise salaries for teachers, the governor picked up on recommendations by a task force she had appointed last May to examine teacher quality and support. The task force said in late December that Arizona should raise its average salary for starting teachers from $28,000 to $35,000.

While Ms. Napolitano did not endorse the starting-salary proposal in her speech, she argued that the base for teacher salaries should be increased so that every teacher makes at least $30,000 a year.

Differing Interpretations

The governor, who finishes her first term this year, also said that the state is lacking adequate professional development for teachers. “The bad news is we have no statewide system for professional development,” she said. “The good news is that we have a very limited but highly successful program—called Career Ladder—that has been providing professional development in 28 Arizona school districts with great results for more than a decade.”

She proposed expanding the Career Ladder program statewide, which was also a recommendation of the teacher-quality committee. The program rewards teachers by as much as $7,000 for raising student achievement, taking on additional responsibility, and other accomplishments.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne took issue with Ms. Napolitano’s assessment of teacher professional development in Arizona. He put out a press release the day of her speech saying that she was “incorrect” in claiming that Arizona doesn’t have a statewide system for professional development. In fact, the press release said, such programs are available to teachers online 24 hours a day.

Ms. Hill said the governor believes “there isn’t a defined systematic infrastructure to serve Arizona’s 55,000 teachers.”

Gov. Napolitano did not mention in her speech the controversy over how Arizona should provide an adequate education of English-language learners, which is the subject of a long-running court case in the state.

A Dec. 15 ruling in Flores v. Arizona by a federal judge gave the legislature and the governor until 15 days after the start of its 2006 legislative session, which began Jan. 9, to find a way to adequately pay for programs for English-language learners or face fines that could reach $2 million a day. (“Arizona Gets Ultimatum on Aid for English-Learners,” Jan. 4, 2006.)

Timothy M. Hogan, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the case, said it was “a bad sign” the governor didn’t mention the issue. “They’ve been under a court order for six years to do this, and the fact that it’s not even mentioned in the State of the State Address signals we’re going to have more difficulties here,” he said last week.

Related Tags:


English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Education Civil Rights Groups Sue Tennessee Over Law Against Transgender Student Athletes
The state law bars transgender athletes from playing public high school or middle school sports aligned with their gender identity.
3 min read
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Mark Humphrey/AP