AGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION
Arizona Department of Education
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) was created in 1970. Statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§15-231 et seq. The Arizona Administrative Code addresses various aspects of education in Title 7.
ADE operates under the direction of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to execute the policies set by the State Board of Education. The Arizona K-12 public education system consists of the State Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Arizona Department of Education. The Board and the Superintendent were established by the Arizona Constitution in 1912 (See Arizona Constitution, Article 11, Sections 1-10). Statutory authority for the Board and Superintendent was enacted by Laws 1912, Chapter 77.
ADE was created by the Legislature in 1970. Arizona public schools include both district schools and charter schools. ADE provides direct services, including funding, training and technical assistance to schools, school districts and charter schools; administers and distributes state and federal education monies to local education agencies; and collects student attendance data in order to calculate the appropriate level of state funding for each school. Divisions may be established within the Department as needed.
The Department executes the educational guidelines through evaluation, training, school improvement assistance, dissemination of information, and administration and allocation of funds. The Department also serves as the primary source for information on the status and needs of the public school system. See Master List of State Government Programs, January 2015.
The Constitution provides for a public school system which includes kindergarten, common schools, high schools, normal schools, industrial schools and universities. It also requires the Legislature to provide for the education and care of pupils who are hearing and vision impaired.
The Constitution vests responsibility for the general conduct and supervision of the public school system with the State Board of Education, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, county school superintendents, and other governing boards as provided by law.
Prior to statutory creation of the ADE in 1970, various Superintendents appear to have created a ‘department’ under general administrative authority. From 1913 to 1970, various reports and state documents either refer to a “Department of Education” or a “Department of Public Instruction” although no department had been established by the Constitution or statute.
The Report on General State Organization, by Griffenhagen & Associates written in 1949, describes the organization of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction: “The superintendent of public instruction has a small staff under his direction; the members of which are organized by him in what is known as a state department of public instruction, often termed the state department of education. Actually, no official title is authorized for the organization under the superintendent of public instruction; either by the constitution or statutes, and no such department exists, except by administrative direction.” (at page III-64)
The State Board of Education, originally made up of eight members, currently consists of eleven members: six educational professionals, four lay members, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Governor appoints all members except for the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Members serve four-year terms. The Board is established by the Arizona Constitution. Statutory authority is outlined in Arizona Revised Statutes §§15-201 et seq. Board responsibilities include prescribing a minimum course of study and competency requirements; certification of school district personnel; developing proficiency exams; gathering data on pupil performance; and composing reports.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction is a publicly elected position, established by the Arizona Constitution. The Superintendent is fourth in line to succeed the Governor. Statutory authority is found in A.R.S. §§15-251 et seq. The Superintendent, who serves a four-year term, works in conjunction with the State Board of Education to develop and implement educational guidelines and standards for Arizona’s common schools. The Superintendent also works with the State Board for Charter Schools to provide oversight of state charter schools. Duties of the Superintendent include apportioning funds; executing Board policies; printing and distributing courses of study prescribed by the Board; and printing and distributing laws related to schools. (See Arizona Constitution, Article 5, §6 and A.R.S. §§ 15-251 and 15-252).
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE), created in 1970, operates under the direction of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to execute the policies set by the State Board of Education (Laws 1970, Chapter 175). The Board serves as the governing and policy determining body of the Department. The Superintendent is responsible for executive, administrative and ministerial functions, distributes funds to Arizona’s public school system and works with schools to comply with national and state laws and State Board of Education policies. Divisions within the Department may be established as needed for the transaction of business.
Enactments related to COVID-19
On March 11, 2020 Governor Ducey issued a declaration of emergency and Executive Order 2020-07 to provide health officials and administrators with tools and guidance necessary to combat the continued spread of COVID-19.
On March 15, 2020 Governor Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman jointly announced the closure of all schools, beginning March 16, 2020. The Governor issued a series of subsequent executive orders related to the state response to COVID-19.
On March 23, the Legislature enacted an emergency measure outlining responsibilities for the Arizona Department of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education related to the closure of public schools. See Laws 2020, Chapter 47.
Executive Order 2020-51, issued July 23, 2020, outlined guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year. The order outlines public health criteria to be used by schools to determine when it is safe to reopen for in-person classroom instruction.
- Arizona Constitution, Article 5, Sections 6 and Article 11, Sections 1 through 10
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§15-231 et seq.
- Arizona Administrative Code, Title 7
- Session Laws
- Laws 1912, Chapter 77
- Laws 1929, Chapter 93 (ASDB)
- Laws 1970, Chapter 175
- Laws 2020, Chapter 47
Arizona Department of Education website
Governor Ducey Executive Orders and Office of the Governor website
Master List of State Government Programs, January 2015, page 330
Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind website
Auditor General Report: Performance Audit No. 06-06, Arizona Department of Education, Administration and Allocation of Funds, August 2006
Report on General State Organization, Griffenhagen and Associates. Chicago, 1949. Three volumes. Volume 3 at pp. III-62 et seq.
Report on a Study of the Public School System of Arizona, Griffenhagen and Associates. Chicago, 1952. Three volumes. Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
Some Significant Events in the History of Arizona Education, Robert L. Pickering, September 1966
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 005 – Department of Education
- Record Groups 100 through 114 – County Superintendent of Schools
- Record Group 188 – State Board for Charter Schools