Thinkaz: Our Mission


To stimulate public debate and enable bold problem solving by providing thorough, accurate and impartial research on Arizona’s key policy issues.

  • Serve as an independent and impartial information source in state public policy debates.
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Arizona’s Dropout Rate On Par With Model State

PHOENIX— A study released today by the Arizona Center for Public Policy (ACPP) has, for the first time, developed an accurate and meaningful comparison of Arizona’s annual dropout rate. The study, compares Arizona and Texas – a state with similar student demographics, economic interests and the model state for the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

Texas reports a 2001-2002 annual dropout rate of 0.9% for grades 7-12 while Arizona reports the same rate at 7.1%. After applying Arizona’s dropout definition and calculation, the adjusted Texas rate ranges from 5.2%-7.1%. Once the dropout rates are calculated consistently, the gap between the two states is either closed or is narrowed to 1.9%.

The study provides meaningful context to the discussion of how Arizona’s dropout rate stacks up with a peer state. The discussion is particularly relevant given the increased emphasis on school accountability systems and state comparisons.

Significance of ACPP study:

“The Chamber has learned very quickly that it is dangerous to compare dropout rates among states. It is clear that no two states define the problem or calculate the degree of the problem the same way. I am pleased that the Arizona Center for Public Policy has come forward to better define the problem and begin the search for the truth about dropout rates. Valerie Manning, President and CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

“The study underscores the importance of consistent definitions when comparing states. Arizonans will be happily surprised when proper comparisons are made,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne. “The Arizona Department of Education is releasing the Graduation Rate Study in the coming days, which provides a more meaningful comparison with other states.”

“Dropout rates directly impact Arizona’s labor pool and are an important factor in whether or not businesses invest in our state. The study is important to the business community because we know, for the first time, how Arizona’s dropout rate measures up to a state that competes for the same business investments. We need more valid state comparisons to help Arizona strengthen its competitive position.” Jim Zaharis, Vice President, Greater Phoenix Leadership

The brief, entitled Oranges to Oranges: A Comparison of the Arizona and Texas Annual Dropout Rates, is available online at