Nearly $65 Million To Expand Investments In Literacy, Adult Education And Underserved Communities

Published by The Bee News

August 17, 2021

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Investments In Literacy, Adult Education And Underserved Communities

Governor Doug Ducey today announced $64.9 million in state and federal funding for programs that improve K-12 literacy, support adult education and expand teacher professional development.

“Educators, school leaders and families have worked tirelessly to keep Arizona students on track and prepare them for their next steps,” said Governor Ducey. “We’re making targeted investments to connect adult students with jobs, strengthen literacy education in K-12 schools, enhance professional development for teachers, help students learn money management, expand access to high quality education, and much more. Students continue to excel in and out of the classroom as they recover from the effects of the pandemic and distance learning, and we will continue to put our resources toward helping them succeed.”

The Governor is investing $20.1 million in American Rescue Plan funding to expand learning opportunities for students of all ages and support students from communities in need. Investments include:

  • $12 million for Goodwill Excel Centers, which are designed to serve adult students and and result in 97 percent of students graduating with workforce credentials, certifications or college credits; 70 percent of graduates finding employment and experience; a 50 percent increase in job earnings within the first six months following graduation; and nearly four in 10 graduates going on to pursue post-secondary or higher education.

  • $5 million for the Elevated Education Teen Victory Program to provide a positive alternative for Arizona teens and young adults seeking to re-engage in their academics.

  • $1.6 million to establish a local group of the Leading Men Fellowship in Arizona, in partnership with the Literacy Lab, to recruit and train students from minority communities to implement evidence-based early literacy and social-emotional education.

  • $1.5 million for evidence-based literacy coaching through Amira Learning to pinpoint exactly where a student is struggling, and provide science of reading-based support to help the student.

“A high school education is crucial for those looking to kick start a career, find new opportunities and work their way out of poverty,” said Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona President and CEO Tim O’Neal. “Thank you to Governor Ducey for investing in the Excel Center adult high school system to help Arizonans excel in learning and life, no matter their age.”

Governor’s Emergency Education Fund dollars totaling $9.2 million will go toward closing the achievement gap and preparing students for their future endeavors. Details on the state investments:

  • $3.5 million to develop 50 microschools, in partnership with the Black Mother’s Forum, that are centered around meeting the needs of children from minority communities and their families.

  • $2.7 million for Junior Achievement of Arizona to provide 90,000 students in need with financial literacy and workforce training.

  • $2 million for Earn2Learn, a college savings-scholarship and financial literacy program that will impact approximately 2,100 university and community college students.

  • $1 million for the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University to expand civics education for high school and college students.

“The Black Mothers Forum is determined to create safe and supportive learning environments for our children who are on the path to educational excellence,” said Black Mothers Forum Founder Janelle Wood. “Thank you to Governor Ducey for investing in the future of our children who represent our communities of color. I look forward to working together to continue to meet the needs of families across the state.”

“Financial literacy and workforce readiness leads to success and stability,” said Junior Achievement of Arizona President Katherine Cecala. “Governor Ducey’s investment in Arizona’s youth will help them make decisions that work directly toward their financial and career related goals. My thanks goes to the Governor for helping students become well-rounded and prepared for adulthood. Our shared efforts will mean a brighter future for Arizona.”

“Earn2Learn provides college savings and financial literacy training for thousands of Arizona students, and Governor Ducey’s investment will strengthen our efforts and help us reach even more students in need,” said Earn2Learn CEO and Founder Kate Hoffman. “We appreciate the Governor’s investment in our students’ futures.”

This funding follows major investments in education that will result from Governor Ducey’s signing of the Arizona FY22 budget on June 30. The budget includes historic investments in K-12, with the highest level of per pupil funding in state history, and Higher Education. In addition to state investments secured in the budget, federal dollars are included in this next phase of education funding:

  • $10 million to fund transportation solution grants for school initiatives that enable Arizona students to attend the charter or district school of their family’s choosing.

  • $6.2 million spread over two years (FY22 and FY23) to deploy literacy coaches to schools with low-performing preschool through third grade programs.

  • $6 million spread over two years (FY22 and FY23) for the A for Arizona’s Expansion and Innovation Fund to award grants to schools that find innovative ways to best serve their students’ unique needs.

  • $3 million spread over two years (FY22 and FY23) to implement a standardized State kindergarten entry evaluation to demonstrate school readiness for young learners receiving early literacy support, allowing schools to target resources to those who need them most.

  • $2.6 million spread over two years (FY22 and FY23) to more effectively identify and instruct students with dyslexia and other early literacy learning difficulties.

  • $2 million spread over two years (FY22 and FY23) to fund the cost for teachers to take the Foundations of Reading Exam, ensuring all new elementary educators are equipped to implement effective literacy education strategies.

  • $2 million to fund the cost of certification exams for Career and Technical Education Program students who cannot afford it, allowing more young Arizonans to become credentialed in their industry of interest.

  • $2 million spread over two years (FY22 and FY23) for the Arizona Personalized Learning Network to help teachers and school leaders make the shift to personalized learning at the classroom, building, and district/charter network level.

  • $1 million spread over two years (FY22 and FY23) for the Alternative Teacher Development Program to  ensure students in need have access to high quality education.

  • $800,000 spread over two years (FY22 and FY23) for Jobs For Arizona Graduates (JAG) to support at-risk students and set them up for post-graduation success.

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