The Arizona Teachers Academy is a program that was first designed and implemented by Governor Doug Ducey in 2017 with a simple concept: to cover the tuition and fees of Arizona higher education students learning to teach in exchange for fulfilling a commitment to teach at an Arizona public school following graduation. The academy has evolved quite rapidly in its short history, going from an unfunded mandate that Arizona universities could not afford to be funded to a voter-approved tax, and seeing its student enrollment numbers increase by over tenfold. This paper seeks to be an overview and process evaluation of the program, as well as an outlook into the program’s future. As a process evaluation, the thesis includes examinations of the program’s presumed logic model, that model’s assumptions, and relevant stakeholders. I used a multi-method approach: statutory and financial data were collected from web research and agency archival collections, and a series of interviews were conducted to ask analytical questions to key stakeholders and program directors about the program’s internal operations and data findings. These stakeholders and program directors consist of staff at the Arizona Board of Regents, the Arizona Department of Education, all three major Arizona public universities (Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona), as well as multiple elected officials and political advocacy groups that have impacted the program through legislation and ballot initiative. This thesis finds that the Arizona Teachers Academy does not have a stated logic model, which in turn led to program assumptions that fail to meet the needs of Arizona public schools and did not allow for all key stakeholders to be involved in the process.
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