Arizona lawmakers consider expanding Arizona Teachers Academy to private universities

Published: Thursday, March 16, 2023 - 2:16pm
Updated: Thursday, March 16, 2023 - 6:27pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.15 MB)

The Arizona Teachers Academy helps future educators pay their tuition and fees at the state’s public universities.

Now, lawmakers are considering expanding the program to private universities.

Republican Rep. Matt Gress is sponsoring a bill which aims to do just that. He addressed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

“We need more teachers, qualified teachers in the classroom," Gress said. "This legislation could double the number of participants in the Arizona Teachers Academy.”

There are about 3,000 people currently enrolled in the program. 

Democratic Sen. Christine Marsh said the problem is there’s already a list of students waiting to get into the Arizona Teachers Academy. 

"I don't understand the necessity of expanding it our into private schools when we aren't even fully funding our public universities to take on many students as there is demand for," Marsh said. 

Some opponents argue the state shouldn’t be spending public money on private institutions.

That’s because those schools are generally more expensive and are not held to certain federal standards like Title Seven, which prohibits discrimination based on factors like race.

Republicans advanced the bill on a party-line vote.

Politics Education