Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey caved to pressure this week and announced a massive 20 percent pay raise for the state’s teachers. Educators will see a nine percent raise immediately and two smaller ones over the next two years.
Instead of being overjoyed by the generous offer, Arizona teachers are furious. Because the proposed raises are directed solely at teachers rather than everyone who works in education, liberal protesters claim that the governor’s plan is an attempt to divide people.
Modern liberals love protesting. They love it so much that they can’t stop even when they’ve gained their point.
“He made no mention of education support professionals,” Vanessa Jimenez, vice president of the Phoenix Union Classified Employees Association, said.
“When I think of his proposal, it’s an attempt to divide us… We’re not going to be divided.”
Teachers across the country are pushing for better pay and benefits. Walkouts have become common. In multiple states teachers left their jobs and protested for days, leaving students and families in the lurch. That’s why Gov. Ducey agreed to the pay raise. He wants to avoid ugly protests. A recent teachers’ union fight in Oklahoma lasted for nine days.
Still, Arizona’s teachers are skeptical.
“It feels like an attempt to stop whatever action we may have been taking, instead of a legitimate groundwork for future investment in education and to fulfill our demands,” Noah Karvelis, a teacher and Arizona Educators United organizer, said.
“This has made more questions for us than answers. We don’t know the details. We don’t know the funding sources.”
Arizona teachers have been unhappy for a while. Earlier this week they took part in a staged “walk-in” organized by the Arizona Educators United coalition. The group demanded a 20 percent raise immediately for all employees who worked in education in addition to annual raises, a decrease in the teacher to student ratio, and increased school funding.
Educators who support the group’s mission began wearing red on Wednesdays, calling their mission #REDforED.
“Arizona teachers are the biggest difference-makers in the lives of Arizona’s children, and we need to reward them for their hard work — this plan does that through a 20% pay increase by school year 2020,” Gov. Ducey said when he announced the plan for the mammoth raise.
If he thought teachers would be satisfied, he was wrong. The #REDforEd crowd believes that they didn’t get enough of what they were asking for. Arizona teachers are among the worst paid in the country, although that won’t be true if the raise goes through.
In all of the states where teachers have been profiting, the education budget has decreased in recent years. Teachers’ salaries remained stagnant or increased slightly.
Most teachers’ unions are deeply liberal. The leftist influence can be felt in today’s protests. A lot of conservatives believe that government employees shouldn’t be allowed to protest. Schools are necessary for society to run smoothly. While protesting teachers work out their wage disputes students are left behind to fend for themselves.
The country’s education system is abysmal. American students perform poorly compared to the rest of the Western world. The average student can’t afford to miss endless days of schools while teachers stage a walkout.
Still, it’s hard to argue that the teachers don’t have point.
“Teacher compensation is the biggest part of school budgets,” Michael Leachman, director of state fiscal research at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said. “If you cut the revenue that’s available to spend on schools it makes it hard to pay for qualified teachers.”
It’s possible that the reason the education system is failing students so badly is that a lot of states aren’t paying wages that are high enough to attract the best candidates. If being a teacher was a better paying job, people who were better suited to educate children might be hired.
It’s hard to tell what the teachers want exactly. Arizona’s educators should have leaped at Gov. Ducey’s offer.
“What he gave us today was just a proposal, it wasn’t legislation, and we don’t know where the money’s coming from and we don’t know if he’s talking about everybody involved in education or just classroom teachers,” Tucson teacher and Arizona Educators United organizer Derek Harris said.
“There so many more of us that need it than just classroom teachers.”
The state isn’t working with unlimited funds. Rather than supply school support staffers with a raise, it would be more prudent to trim their numbers. The Arizona teachers’ union isn’t being reasonable with its requests.
Teacher protests are happening in conservative states. It could be a sign of upcoming trouble for the republicans. Midterm elections are approaching and a lot of people believe that democrats will wrest control of Congress away from conservatives.
Teachers are more prone to demonstrations in conservative states because the unions that back them are liberal.