Opinion: Red for Ed duped Arizonans into backing politics, not teachers

BY MIKE RUSSELL

To quote the great oracle, Brittany Spears, “Oops, I did it again.”

I was duped — once more — by the Arizona education system. We were all had.

I, along with thousands of other Arizonans, wore red on Wednesday. It was in support of the Wear Red for Ed movement that had all the makings of the West Virginia teacher’s strike.

This was it. I thought the teachers of this state had enough and it was time to mobilize.

As I mentioned in Wednesday’s blog, I was unsure about wearing red. I had the same feeling I did after voting for Proposition 123. Something didn’t feel right.

I should have followed my intuition, as we were all punched in our red-shirt wearing guts during a press conference from the Arizona Education Association. A strike was not announced. Instead, it was an endorsement of gubernatorial candidate David Garcia.

Wait, what? This Wear Red for Ed campaign was all a political publicity stunt? You have got to be kidding me!

This great and trusting community was publicly showing their support for teachers, not a political candidate!

This was a very bad look for a group of professionals that seeking community support.

On top of that, they backed a candidate who took the podium to announce a $1 billion tax increase by using the old Democrat play of vilifying corporations and those evil one percenters.

Tell me, which one of the past three tax and spend education measures fixed the teacher compensation problem? Or even the classroom funding problem?

If you said, “none of them,” straight to the head of the class with you! It’s not looking like a fourth will do much good.

Hopefully, the Arizona Education Association will soon realize that this is a problem of fiscal irresponsibility, not a funding problem.

The Arizona Department of Education have been horrible stewards with our tax dollars and, until they live up to that responsibility, I’m pretty sure Arizona won’t be willing to toss another billion on the fire.

Look, I like Garcia. I have interviewed him twice. He is a very intelligent and a good man. In fact, he should be sitting in the very office that Diane Douglas occupies. But this was a terrible move, politically.

This will be seen as a major step forward for Gov. Doug Ducey’s reelection bid. Yes, a governor that thinks a 0.4 percent pay increase for teachers is something to celebrate.

It’s a victory for Ducey only because it is such a bad look for his opposition.

Those that were wearing red — the voters — were tricked into becoming part of a campaign publicity stunt for a candidate that wants to tax and spend our way out of the problem.

As you have just read, the blame for low teacher compensation does not fit squarely on the shoulders of state legislators. District offices would be great places to start.

Demand that they explain to teachers and taxpayers why they decided to use Prop. 123 funds in ways not advertised by the campaign and give a reason why some district heads are being paid four or five times more than teachers.

Finally, don’t settle.

The teachers of West Virginia caved for a measly 5 percent increase. If you are going, go all in. Demand real, meaningful change in the system. Demand that the state of Arizona fix this broken education compensation system and the department of education get their fiscal house in line with the real world.

Once again, it’s time to talk like grownups. After all, it’s for the kids, right?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chris
    May 04, 2018 @ 02:32:44

    Talk about losing confidence in educators, this is quite unbelievable. But it’s 2018 and just about anything can happen.
    A little honesty would go a long way in solving many of our problems.

    Reply

  2. Mannyr
    May 05, 2018 @ 16:00:52

    It is sad that our state has had such a bad history in regards to education. The state has and does pursue in giving out huge contracts to remodel schools. Teachers are the bedrock of our nation in providing generations of American children a well rounded education. They are the candle burning against ignorance. This country has forgotten the millions of self-scarifying teachers who give their life to helping children grow. Teachers everywhere deserve to be paid a decent wage. We all know and understand limits but not paying teachers in Arizona a raise for 9 years is disgusting. Teachers deserve our respect.

    Reply

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