Arizona Superintendent Horne recommends pay raises, added discipline for teacher retention

By Camryn Sanchez
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2024 - 9:30am

Man speaking into a microphone
Gage Skidmore/CC BY 2.0
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne speaking with attendees at the 2024 Legislative Forecast Luncheon hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry at Chase Field in Phoenix on Jan. 5, 2024.

In his annual state of education address to lawmakers, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne warned teachers are leaving schools at an alarming rate. 

Arizona schools are losing 2,300 teachers every year, according to data from the Department of Education.

“With our current teacher shortage, which under current trends would grow substantially, unfilled teachers’ places have to be taken by others, such as long term substitutes with no training,” Horne said.

Horne said officials must work to raise teacher salaries, but also support teachers in disciplining their students. He supports a bill that advanced at the state House on Tuesday afternoon which would lower a school’s achievement rating if they don’t do enough to discipline students who misbehave.

All Democrats in the House opposed the bill, arguing it doesn’t address the underlying issue.

“If we had well trained teachers and trained teachers from our, you know, state schools that really look at student behavior and we support them in that way, I think that discipline would be addressed,” Rep. Nancy Gutierrez, a teacher representing Tucson, said.

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs compiled a group to investigate teacher recommendations. Their main suggestion was to pay teachers more, but it’s the support in disciplining that Horne says they missed.

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