Arizona lawmakers heading back to the classrooms

Posted at 8:10 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 08:11:27-04

Dozens of Arizona lawmakers are getting "schooled" this month.

More than 30 lawmakers volunteered to pair up with teachers in their districts to learn firsthand about classroom needs.

At Akimel A-al Middle School in Ahwatukee, teacher Beth Snyder said students would benefit from smaller class sizes. 

"When you have 35 to 40 bodies in a room and only 50 minutes to accomplish something—it gets difficult," Snyder said.

Rep. Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, spent Thursday morning at an elementary school in Laveen. She explained that she is concerned because Arizona still falls near the bottom nationwide in per-pupil funding.

 "We have a young population," Rios said. "We have a population that's having a lot of children. We really need to get on the ball in terms of getting ahead, and we're not even doing a sufficient job of taking care of the education system we have.”

The Arizona Educational Foundation arranged the school visits. Legislators and teachers, who met through the program, exchanged contact information so that they can reach out to each other and discuss bills that directly impact schools when the state Legislature convenes in January.