Kathy Hoffman delivers State of Education address to state lawmakers

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- It was a lesson for lawmakers at the Arizona State Capitol, as the state's Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman, delivered her State of Education address and looked toward the future.

In her first address to lawmakers, Hoffman says Arizona has a teachers crisis.

"It absolutely is a crisis, and we need to treat it as such," said Hoffman. "We need to do everything we can, whether that's posting things on social media that talk about all the benefits of being a teacher, or talking about the achievement of our schools and our students."

The shortage of educators has created a situation with only 150 physics teachers in the entire state, and not a single science teacher at Mayer High School.

"It doesn't make any sense to me, but I do understand that people who have science backgrounds can easily find better pay in other scientific-based professions," said Hoffman.

"We no longer have a pipeline of new teachers that will replace existing teachers," said Carrie Brown with SOS Arizona. "That's one part of it, and the second part is that we're having a problem. Our teachers are fleeing the profession."

Education supporters at the State Capitol are pointing to a lack of a guaranteed funding source. While charter schools continue to bleed public dollars, Hoffman is trying to figure out a way to level the playing field.

"One idea I had, if we really want to make this a more fair even playing field for our students is let's fully fund special education, because no matter what school you're at, you have special education services and children who need those services," said Hoffman. "I think there could be a lot of bipartisan support for increasing special education funding, and that could go a long way for all schools."

Hoffman also talked about charter schools.

"What I'm hearing from the charter school community is that they have been frustrated that they feel like the public currently has a more negative view of them, because that there are some that are truly using their industry in education for a profit," said Hoffman.