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Road map to educational success begins with quality early learning

A child’s early years are filled with milestones – first smile, first word, first steps. In a similar way, important milestones mark the path to educational success.

A statewide initiative has captured that road map for student success by setting goals to strive toward and asking all Arizonans to support this shared vision of a “world class education” – beginning with quality early learning.

The Arizona Education Progress Meter was launched by the Center for the Future of Arizona and Expect More Arizona in 2016 to provide a shared source of information on where Arizona stands on key education metrics.

The meter includes eight key indicators that are proven to be predictive of a child’s future success, starting with quality early learning. These all lead to the ultimate goal: ensuring that 60 percent of Arizonans have a professional certificate or college degree by 2030.

In the fall, the tool was updated with specific goals that support a vision that all students have the opportunity to succeed at every step of the education continuum.

Goal setting for each indicator was informed by experts, educators and community leaders from more than 100 community organizations. First Things First had a role in helping to set the quality early learning goal, which is to increase the percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds in quality early learning settings from 21 percent to 45 percent by 2030.

Quality early learning is defined as: Quality First-enrolled programs with 3-, 4-, or 5-star rating; Head Start program; programs participating in the Preschool Development Grant and those programs with national accreditation from qualifying organizations.

Since the fall launch, about 35 local governments across Arizona have adopted the Education Progress Meter. The First Things First Board endorsed the Progress Meter indicators, and, in addition, several First Things First regional partnership councils have also signed on in support.

“The Education Progress Meter enables diverse groups from across the state to work together to address critical issues within our education system while making problem-solving relevant to local communities,” said Lattie Coor, chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona, in an editorial announcing the launch of the Progress Meter.

Visit Expect More Arizona’s website to learn more about the Arizona Education Progress Meter, including how to become a partner.

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