Arizona's private schools are substantially less expensive to operate than their state-run counterparts, are better physically maintained, employ far more teachers per pupil, and place little emphasis on the academic histories of their applicants. Those are some of the conclusions that can be drawn from the 2005 Goldwater Institute Survey of Arizona Private Schools. This report examines the survey data and compares them to known characteristics of public schools at both the state and national levels. It then attempts to explain the pervasive differences between the two sectors.
Based on our survey data, we estimate that the real on-time graduation rate for our sample schools is roughly 84 percent and that the overwhelming majority of those graduates are admitted to college. Private estimates of the Arizona public school real on-time graduation rate vary between 68 and 70 percent.
When teachers' nine-month salaries are annualized to make them comparable to the 12-month salaries of most other fields, we find that Arizona non-government school teachers earn an average 12-month-equivalent salary of $36,456 in 2004, which is approximately $2,200 less than the average salary of media reporters and correspondents, for example. The 12-month-equivalent salary of the state's public school teachers was around $60,000 in 2004, which was more than the average salary of a nuclear technician, epidemiologist, or nurse.
Another striking difference between the sectors is the far greater emphasis private schools place on teaching versus non-teaching staff. If the public sector were to match private schools' emphasis on teaching, it would have to hire 25,000 new teachers and let go more than 21,000 non-teaching employees.
This report is divided into four parts: a summary of the survey's findings, an analysis of those results, a conclusion and interpretation section that attempts to explain them, and an analysis of the representative nature of our survey sample.