Education News

AZ educators pressure Gov. Ducey, legislature to make students, public education top priorities

by Brian Washington

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If you’re in Arizona, join the #RedForEd March and Rally on Thurs, April 26! Click here ›

Noah Karvelis, a Tolleson, Arizona music teacher, plans to join what he hopes will be a massive crowd of about 20,000 educators at the State Capitol tomorrow. However, he admits he and his education colleagues would rather be somewhere else.

“We don’t want to be at the Capitol tomorrow,” said Karvelis. “We want to be in our classrooms with our students. But we have to go there and get solutions for them.”

Thousands of educators will rally at the Capitol to protest the state’s long history of shortchanging public education and Governor Doug Ducey’s inadequate proposal to address the problem. Seventy-eight percent of the 57,000 educators who participated in a survey last week voted to stage a walk-out tomorrow. Last week’s decision follows several weeks of educator-led demonstrations at hundreds of schools around the state. Students, parents, and community leaders showed their support by joining educators at the events. They all wore red as part of the #RedforEd movement, which involves tens of thousands of educators statewide all seeking more funding for public education.

The vote also follows Governor Ducey’s proposal to raise some teachers’ pay with no real way to fund the increase or the resources students need to learn. Organizers of the #RedforEd movement say the proposal didn’t even include education support professionals, like bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and classroom assistants, who are all vital to the day-to-day operations of any school.

Karvelis says the governor’s offer contained another major flaw as well.

“We rejected it because it doesn’t do anything for kids,” he said. “That’s the center of this fight and that’s been largely ignored by the governor.”

In Arizona, we prioritized corporate tax cuts over investing in public education. The governor just wants more of the same—little Band-Aid fixes. No new substantial funding for education. No new sustainable revenue sources.

Karvelis says if Arizona is serious about giving every student a great education, then lawmakers need to get serious about doing what educators know works. He adds the governor’s proposal does not work for students, which is why he and his colleagues from around the state, will be standing up for them tomorrow at the Capitol.

“I would love to get a face-to-face meeting with the governor, have our negotiations, and get some solutions,” said Karvelis. “That’s what we want—solutions for our kids.”

UPDATE: Seventy-five thousand educators turned out for Thursday’s demonstration at the State Capitol. Some are calling it the largest teacher demonstration in the nation’s history. 


14 responses to “AZ educators pressure Gov. Ducey, legislature to make students, public education top priorities

  1. Public funds for public education, ONLY!!! the Az legislators have siphoned billions of dollars of public funds to private education. Our state Constitiution in Arizona was written that they would fully fund public education, where 95% of our children attend. Our legislators are NOT following our state constitution!!! We stand and support Arizona teachers during this walkout!

  2. How did they all get the day off? Doesn’t seem possible they all had excused time off. Hopefully the wages times 75,000 persons get refunded to the taxpayers who were at work paying their wages and Cadillac benefits.

    1. As a former underpaid public school teacher who worked VERY hard for 30 years……you have no idea about what you’re talking about. I suggest you teach in a classroom for a week and collect all the low pay and poor benefits before you share your uneducated opinion.

  3. Teachers and their students deserve and must have the financial support of legislatures or this country and our democracy will decline rapidly and tragically.

  4. Educational attainment has declined with the growth of teacher’s unions and the consolidation of school districts. Parents need choices of where to send their kids for the best education. We need smaller school districts in urban areas to provide choices for parents. We also need charter schools that can provide competition.

    1. Wrong! Just plain wrong. Studies have not shown that “educational attainment” has increased with private and parochial schools. I have a problem allowing my tax dollars to be spent for private religious schools. Private schools are not held to the same curriculum standards as public schools. Private schools do not have to take every child. Parents of special needs students give up their federal IEP rights when they go to private schools. There is no accountability for my tax dollars when a “fly by night” operation closes its doors in my state and moves away. Let’s not take further money away from already badly funded public schools.

    2. Teachers’ unions support better education for children and better working conditions for teachers. Many bright aspiring teachers have left teaching as a career due to poor working conditions and low pay. I know… a teacher of over 30 years, I’ve seen this happen over and over again.

    3. The day charter and private schools must take any student who applies, regardless of special needs, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc., we can then talk about competition.

  5. Despicable behavior of state and federal officials! I support every teacher in every state.
    Teacher shortages already being seen in many places. This will get much worse!

    Wake up folks! Educators are tired of playing.

  6. In 2009, the AZ legislature cut teacher and university professor salaries. The housing bubble bust hurt everyone. That was ten years ago. The state constitution mandates that education be priority one and “as nearly free as possible” for students. The state legislature has failed in that mandate and is failing Arizona and Arizona’s students—the future of the state. It’s time to reverse the austerity movement against public education and public educators. If state legislators do not support public education, it’s time to vote them out of office. November is coming up fast. Be sure you are registered to vote and know where your voting poll is located.

  7. It is not easy for teachers to take this action. When it is necessary to provide a good education for the children, which means providing a living wage for teachers and the supplies and facilities in which to do it, they have the courage and strength to take on the task! BRAVO!

    1. Thanks for speaking up. Bravo for teachers! It’s way over due…..teachers deserve good pay and working conditions to do their jobs properly.

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