Editorial Comment: This post is going to be a supportive post of the #RedforEd movement! I want to share my perspective on my hero, students, families and how we need to do better.
As many of you know or you have read here before there is a certain person in my life that I definitely call my hero! It happens to be my best friend, my wife – Randi! She has been an educator ever since our kids (who are adults now) were in school full-time. She has worked in that professional for plenty of years – she would probably kill me if I mentioned how many.
Being an educator is not an easy job! Watching my wife these last 10 years has been extremely difficult for me. That job has taken a huge toll on her both emotionally and physically. She is always in 100% in for her students. They are the ones that she talks about all the time. She has been verbally and physically abused by students; disrespected and degraded by parents and she still gets up every morning and goes in attempting to do her best for her students.
She not only is a teacher. She is a life changer. I have watched her get involved with her students well beyond the classroom. She attends dance recitals and competitions, sporting events, plays, concerts and whatever her students interests that she can attend. When a student is in the hospital – she is there! I watch as her former students light up when they come back to meet her long after they are gone. She has been invited to attend graduations and weddings! You have to remember that she teaches 4th grade!!! Graduations and especially weddings are a bit well after that 4th grade experience. She also has had some of her past students request that she be her mentor while they are student teaching! To those students and families – she is very special!
I already knew she was special! I fell in love with her the first time we met…
I bet others can share some stories of a teacher that is just like Randi… Go ahead – comment below.
Here is the problem! For the past 10 years, teachers have been disrespected by our Arizona government. Student funding sucks. For the longest time, Arizona was dead last in funding per pupil and avg teacher pay. It is totally embarrassing as the student performance is much higher. Teachers have been asked to do so much more and the results are there.
The Arizona Education Project are advertising a 10.1% increase in teacher compensation… What they lack to point out is that the number of total of teachers has increase making that teacher compensation have to increase. Let’s look at what was proposed by the Gov Ducey – a 2% increase over 2 years… Wow – that is like $120 per month! Yet he gave all state employees an average of 3% in one year. Some of the top level positions received 12%.
Look at the teacher shortage in AZ alone. We have almost 2K short and about 900 teachers will be leaving… The fix for this is to stop requiring the teachers to be certified. Is that truly a fix? I have watched many new certified teachers struggle the first couple of years (and they had training)! Let’s add an untrained person to that mix and see how well they are going to do.
Let’s look at #RedforEd demands:
- 20% Salary increase for Arizona teachers in order to create a competitive pay with neighboring states.
- Competitive pay for all Education Support Professionals.
- Permanent certified salary structure which includes annual increases.
- Restore education funding to 2008 levels.
- No new tax cuts until per-pupil funding reaches the national average.
They definitely are not asking for too much. The 20% increase still has them dead last with the neighboring states! Setting up a salary structure seems like a good way for teachers and potential teachers to know what is going to happening each year. Restoring to 2008 funding levels – really we are still only asking for 10 year old funding model. No new tax cuts until per-pupil funding is at national average. If the state government keeps crying that they can’t find the money – then why provide tax cuts? We must hold our AZ government accountable to do the right thing.
I know one thing – I am sick and tired of watching how we are not taking care of our future. I am sick and tired of watching my hero come home every night being emotionally drained and then looking at the paycheck and wondering why! For those that like to say that you went into teaching know you were not going to get rich! Well, that is right, but they also did not think they could not live or raise their family either! You want them to help you raise your kids, their students, then don’t you think a fair wage is in order?
If nothing happens soon… We all must remember this come the next time we have a cast a vote of our governor and the state legislators. Most every funding proposal that has come up for vote has passed – we as tax payers have voted yes to fund education. The only ones that have not done their fair share – are in positions that we voted them in – they must go – if they do not fix it today!