Clinton claims AZ lags in education in new ad

Posted at 2:25 PM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-17 18:52:43-04

With Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election set for Tuesday, presidential candidates -- and their accompanying advertisements -- have picked up steam.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign aired a 30-second spot on Arizona airwaves on March 16 specific to K-12 education.

"Arizona schools rank 45th in the nation, dead last in funding per student," the ad states. 

"Arizona schools rank 45th in the nation, dead last in funding per student."

We put this claim through a PolitiFact truth-check. 

Next to last

The ad cites a January 2016 Education Week ranking for the 45th in the nation claim. Education Week uses several measures, including finance, achievement and chance for success.

Arizona Department of Education spokesman Charles Tack said the numbers were accurate based on the sources cited.

For the dead last in funding per student part of the claim, the ad cites the Arizona School Boards Association, a statewide nonprofit.

Education Week uses data from several federal agencies, including the U.S. Education Department, U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Commerce Department.

According to the data, Arizona spends $7,733 per student, almost 35 percent less than the national average of $11,841 per student. The numbers are adjusted for regional cost differences.

However, Arizona isn’t dead last in per-student spending -- Utah is.

According to Education Week’s regionally adjusted numbers, Utah ranks 51st, spending $7,084 per student. The data includes all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

However, the actual text of the advertisement does mention that Arizona is 50th in per student funding though, which is correct. They’re just not dead last.

Our ruling

Clinton’s campaign said, "Arizona schools rank 45th in the nation, dead last in funding per student."

Education Week data vets the first claim, but the advertisement is off by one in its claim that the Grand Canyon State is dead last. Utah is.

We rate the ad as Mostly True.


For the complete fact-check, visit our news partner, PolitiFact Arizona