State offers scholarships to address teacher shortage

PHOENIX – Willing to spend four years in front of a classroom full of fourth graders? What if you got a free education degree from one of the state's three universities?

That's the deal that Gov. Doug Ducey is offering to some people in a bid to address the state's teacher shortage.

But the small program – just $1 million spread among the state's universities – means only some would-be teachers will get tuition waivers. And it remains to be seen whether the offer can help plug the gap between the need and the number of people willing to take and remain on the job.

Ducey proposed the Arizona Teachers’ Academy in January as one method to deal with the state’s chronic teacher shortage.

“I'm looking for the best and brightest to commit to teach in Arizona public schools,” he said in his State of the State speech. “If you make that commitment, we'll make this commitment: Your education will be paid for, a job will be waiting and you will be free of debt.'”

Under the program, for each year a student who is accepted into the program promises to teach in a public school, he or she will get a waiver of tuition and fees.