One data point does not a student make.

AzMERIT results are out.

The newspapers are publishing results, schools are planning award assemblies, and parents are sticking reports on their refrigerators.
However, students are more than a single percentage on a test. We are all complicit in overemphasizing the importance of a single test to define the quality of schools, teachers, and student learning. Let’s elevate what really matters in public education.

When you were a fourth grader, did you care how many of the kids in your school exceeded the state test? Definitely not. You cared if your teacher was kind, funny, or creative. You cared about learning new things. You cared about doing interesting projects with friends and participating in after-school clubs. You cared about your school community. That is what is paramount in a school. That is what we should be printing on banners and sending out in press releases.

Imagine driving your own fourth grader up to her school with a banner hanging over the door that says, “100% of our kids create solutions to difficult problems.” Wouldn’t that be a better message?
As the Maricopa County School Superintendent, I commit to discuss, support, and celebrate what really matters.

So here’s to the teachers that are funny, kind, or creative. Here’s to the teachers that teach our kids to read and multiply. Here’s to the teachers that model good citizenship and inspire future leaders. And most importantly, here’s to the teachers that dedicate their lives to educating all kids, regardless of zip code, family situation, or socioeconomic status.

Join me in celebrating our teachers for all of the things that really matter in the education of a child. Not just one success – on one test – once a year.

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