There are common fixes to our training system. However will GOP lawmakers assist or damage?
Controversial or competent? Stuck or goal-oriented? In 2022, the Arizona legislature and governor will have to decide what kind of leaders they will be.
This year lawmakers have a real chance to improve the lives of Arizonans. Our state has the means to fix abysmal teacher salaries, create lasting solutions for students, and provide for working families. Will our elected leaders live up to that responsibility when they meet again this week, or will they succumb to the extremism and unproductive bickering of last year’s term?
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES IN YOUR ENTRANCE
Arizona voters continue to overwhelmingly support public education. Last poll shows that the vast majority would like to increase teachers’ salaries and recognize that school funding is still far too low. A staggering 91% of voters agree that every school should have the resources to offer quality education that prepares every child for the future.
Still, Arizona remains the last in the country on per-student spending, and the majority of lawmakers are refusing to keep their promises to support teachers and students in the election year. Despite their gossamer Majority, the Republican leadership would rather appease the most extreme members of their party than to work across the aisle. We urge them to work bipartisan, which is best represents our state.
With an impending crisis of $ 1.2 billion in education cuts in March This will lead to teacher layoffs, program cuts, and worse. Instead, some lawmakers are promoting punitive and unproductive measures such as body cameras for teachers.
Local schools are desperately looking for suitable teachers, counselors and helpers to support our students’ needs. But majority legislators – committed to special interests – advocate further ESA voucher enhancements for private schools that unburden our local public schools, exploit families and support unaccountable for-profit education programs.
If Arizona’s leaders really wanted the whole system to collapse, there was little they could do to improve their current performance.
– Beth Lewis & Nicky Indicavitch, Save Our Schools, Arizona
Instead of working to ensure the health and safety of students and teachers, Republican lawmakers are threatening to prevent schools from implementing even the most basic health protocols while COVID-19 rises and overwhelmed the intensive care units in Arizona.
Rather than funding upgraded buses and working laptops for all Arizona students, heads of state are pushing for competitive “innovation grants,” which Leave the schools fighting for junk. While a handful of schools benefit and the governor pats himself on the back, the vast majority of children continue to go without.
Despite completely inadequate resources for special schools and grossly unfair funding for low-income and rural schools, majority lawmakers are focused on banning correct story teaching rather than rolling up their sleeves to find real solutions for children.
Governor Doug Ducey and the legislature’s chronic refusal to fully fund Arizona public schools have created a patchwork of haves and have nots that the pandemic has exposed in all its ugliness.
The tensions and cracks of a broken system can no longer withstand much – and if Arizona’s leaders really wanted the whole system to collapse, there was little they could do to improve their current performance.
The contrast between what our schools and communities expect from our heads of state and what we expect today is truly staggering. When the legislature meets, education advocates are likely to be stuck defending Arizona’s own version of the Hunger Games of Education. We will fight to stop massive budget cuts and ridiculous measures designed to divide and distract. And if necessary, we go out on the street again receive a ruinous flat tax or irresponsible ESA voucher extension to vote because Arizona’s children deserve better.
We have a message to Ducey and legislative leaders: Arizona residents are counting on you to rise above extremist poses and partisans to find real solutions for our schools and communities. The future of our children depends on it. And if you can’t do that, the November 8th elections can’t come soon enough.