Arizona’s three public universities will launch a program this fall meant to alleviate a severe teacher shortage in the state.
The universities are admitting 200 education bachelors and masters students to the new Arizona Teacher Academy, which will provide free tuition in exchange for a commitment to spend three years working in the state’s public schools.
"We feel like that’s a really great deal for the students and for the state," said Eileen Klein, president of the Arizona Board of Regents, which has been working with the universities to develop the program. She said many Arizona schools are in need of qualified teachers.
"And while this doesn’t completely solve the challenges around making sure we have an adequate teaching force, we think it really will do a lot to build the interest among students and also to meet the needs and demands of the school districts."
Gov. Doug Ducey will officially launch the academy this fall. Klein said she hopes to work with legislators to fund its expansion in the coming years.
According to the Board of Regents, 3,661 people graduated from education programs at Arizona's public universities last year, and the majority stayed in the state.