Lots of talk about education at the Thursday night debate between Fred DuVal and Doug Ducey in Tucson. It was scattered throughout the 90 minute forum. I'm working my way through the tape I made of the event, but I want to spotlight the boldest educational proposal of the night. It came from DuVal, about attracting more and better teachers to Arizona schools.
"I would go to the Board of Regents and say, any student who graduates in the top third from our universities and goes into teaching and stays for five years ought to have their student loans relieved. It is wrong for our smart students to leave university with a debt load that means they can’t make a responsible economic choice to go into teaching. We want the best of our students to go into teaching, because it’s the most important thing we do."
College grads can into teaching with its modest salary and not have to worry about a significant chunk of their paychecks going toward paying off loans every month. If they stick around for five years, their loans are forgiven. It's a terrific incentive for any college graduate with a desire to teach.
Focusing on the top third of the graduating class can have the dual role of encouraging prospective teachers to work harder in college so they can make it into the loan forgiveness group, and encouraging the best and brightest graduates to spend at least five years in the classroom. Some may leave before year six, but that's still five good years they've given to Arizona's children. Others will get hooked on the pleasures and challenges of the classroom, or decide to move up to the administrative level. It's a win-win all the way around.