Arizona teachers voted 78% in favor of walking out, why? Arizona ranks 49th in education funding. The walkout started on Thursday, April 26th, as demands for increased funding weren’t met. Here’s what you need to know about the walk out.
What is the problem?
Arizona has cut $8 Billion from school funding since 2008. Consequently, our state spends under $7500 per student annually (less than almost every other state). Teacher salaries are significantly less here than in neighboring states. As a result, many qualified teachers are leaving the state to teach somewhere they can make a living. So we currently have 2,000 unfilled teaching positions. Class sizes are larger, schools don’t have the resources, education facilities are derelict. The quality of your child’s education is suffering and your teachers are walking out to change that.
What are the demands?
- 20% pay increase to create competitive salary and sustain a qualified workforce
- Competitive pay for education support professionals
- Provide critical tools for classrooms with supplies and updated textbooks and technology
- Fund school maintenance and repair to give students clean, safe places to learn
It’s not JUST about teachers getting a raise
Governor Doug Doucey proposes “meeting” the demands of the movement by sweeping funds away from school improvement/maintenance, state universities, and programs for the developmentally disabled (among other things). Essentially funneling funds away from what teachers are fighting for, to give them a raise. Teachers are fighting to improve quality of education for Arizona kids. While sustainable competitive pay is an important component of that, it’s not enough.
What to do with your kids if they can’t go to school
Teachers are essential. Our entire system relies on their undervalued work. In order to provide safe spaces for kids while schools are closed the following businesses are offering special programs. Space is limited, so contact them for more information.
Momentum Aerial Arts RedforEd circus camp (Ages 7-14)
(This is not a complete list, if you know of any other places offering childcare for the walk out, mention them in the comments!)
How to support your educators
Contact legislators. Tell your neighbors. Make sure your friends and family understand what the walk out is really all about. Your teachers aren’t walking out because they are greedy. They are risking their careers to advocate for your children and for the future of education in Arizona.