[Source: Pat Kossan, Arizona Republic] — Arizona teachers have 30 days to tell state schools chief Tom Horne how he can make their life easier. Horne encourages teachers to e-mail him with their ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org in his fifth “State of Education” address, scheduled to be delivered this morning at Phoenix Union Bioscience High School. In the speech, whose text was released in advance, Horne says he wants to raise teacher morale and attract more people to the profession. The state is struggling to find people qualified to teach its tougher curriculum. Just last month, Arizona increased both math and science requirements for high-school graduation.
Horne also proposes allowing “adjunct faculty” for high schools, similar to working professionals who get paid to teach part time at colleges and universities. Several corporations already agreed to allow their engineers and scientists time off to teach one high-school course per semester. These part-time teachers would have to agree to complete some education courses.
Horne and about 40 members of his staff were planning to walk 2 miles early this morning from the Arizona Department of Education to Phoenix Union Bioscience High School, 512 E. Pierce St., to highlight another goal for 2008: healthier kids. Horne persuaded lawmakers to keep high-fat and high-sugar foods out of elementary school vending machines and some high-school districts volunteered to do the same. Horne wants more high schools to join the healthy-foods movement and encouraged all schools to add more physical-education classes.
In his speech, Horne also announces upgrades in the state’s education information databank with the help of some state money and a large federal grant. Schools and parents can expect to access more detailed information about each student’s academic progress by the end of the year. Horne will deliver the speech in Phoenix and Sedona today and in Tucson on Wednesday. Find Horne’s entire speech at http://www.ade.az.gov/