Grand Canyon University is excluded from the Arizona Teacher Academy. Why?



Opinion: Grand Canyon University has a well-regarded teacher education program. If the goal is to produce and retain more teachers, it should be included.

Governor Doug Ducey is highly touting his budget proposal for the Arizona Teachers Academy. He advocated that $ 21 million be earmarked to cover tuition and fees for students at state universities – ASU, U of A and NAU – who commit to teaching in Arizona public schools during a period of time.

Ducey says this will help alleviate the teacher shortage. But the problem does not seem to be the number of people entering education. The big problem is to keep them once they have entered the profession.

Part of that is compensation, and Ducey touched on that element. But working conditions and expectations are an important element. Doing the job as designed in most schools requires a 60-70 hour work week. Two months off during the summer does not make up for that. Particularly for single income families where the breadwinner feels compelled to take another job during this period.

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Governor Ducey on teacher salary increases and education

“More transparency and more accountability,” says Ducey, is needed for taxpayer dollars spent in schools.

Brian Snyder, Republic of Arizona

But while the state is going to offer scholarships specifically to prospective teachers, there is one important omission in Ducey’s program: Grand Canyon University.

GCU is a private and Christian college. But it has an extensive and highly regarded curriculum for teacher education and training.

If the purpose of Ducey’s mislabeled “Academy” is to increase teacher output and reduce their debt in the hope of keeping them on the ground, there is no reason to rule out GCU. His character should not be a barrier to participation, especially from a governor who professes to believe in school choice.

There is another element of the curriculum that challenges the principles of school choice. The scholarship is limited to students who commit to teaching in public schools.

There are approximately 45,000 Arizona children attending private schools. They also need teachers. And private schools face the same recruitment and retention challenges as public schools.

Contact Robb at [email protected]




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