The Nation's Report Card released 2009 results on its 4th- and 8th- grade math test, and you can examine the results for Arizona and other states here.
The news is not good. Arizona has stalled out with bad scores.
With a score nine points below the national average, Arizona 4th graders know almost a grade level less math than the average American student. Florida and Texas--states with similar levels of spending and student demographics--both scored above the national average.
I noted previously that Arizona students have scored below the national average on 32 of 32 NAEP exams at various grade levels and subjects since the early 1990s. Now you can make that 34 of 34, with 4th and 8th grade reading results coming out in a few months.
Public school apologists can recite their litany on spending and learned helplessness, but don't expect any results, they imply, until Arizona has the combination of old money, hedge fund billionaires and high income tax rates of Connecticut.
Despite a reform push during the 1990s, the fact is that on the whole Arizona is a K-12 backwater and will remain so until it decides to get serious about reform. Since the 1990s, Arizona's AIMS has been dummied down, and the positive impact of choice programs have been drowned by enrollment growth. Rome continues to burn, we continue to fiddle.
Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president for research at the Goldwater Institute.
Goldwater Institute: Tough Crowd: Arizona High School Students Evaluate Their Schools
Goldwater Institute: Demography Defeated: Florida's K-12 Reforms and Their Lessons for the Nation
Goldwater Institute: A Test of Credibility: NAEP versus TerraNova Test Score Results in Arizona