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#RedForEd: Why Arizona educators are protesting

Bailey Bland '18

Bailey Bland, Class Writer

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Walkouts among Arizona’s public educators are happening this week and support for #RedForEd is becoming stronger day by day. Schools are closed all over the state, such as Madison Traditional Academy on Maryland and 12th Street. Protesters have been standing in front of the school for several weeks holding posters with the hashtag and all wearing red. The school is closed for today due to the walkout.

Why are Arizona educators protesting in the first place? Arizona teachers and staff are frustrated, according to azcentral.com, due to “the chronic under-funding of the state’s public schools.” Arizona already is having a teacher crisis, which was revealed by the Arizona Association of School Personnel Administrators’ survey they released in December that there are nearly 2,000 teaching positions still open. In response, reported by The Arizona Republic, schools hired full-time teachers with “Emergency Teaching Certificates,” which require absolutely no formal training. The Arizona Republic also published in June that a multitude of Arizona schools’ teaching positions were occupied by under-qualified people. Arizona is in need of change when it comes to the funding of its educational system. And that is what these teachers and staff have set out to do.

According to azcentral.com, protesters made their demand at the rally on March 28. There were five demands: “20 percent teach pay raises; competitive pay for support staff; restore state funding to 2008 levels; create permanent salary structures that include annual raises; and no new tax cuts until per-pupil funding reaches national average.” An article entitled “Education Spending Per Student” by governing.com contains a chart comparing each state’s elementary school funding as of 2015. A few of Arizona’s averages included $4,016 on Instruction. This is tiny in comparison to states such as New York which averages $14.769k on Instruction. Arizona teachers have a right to be upset with the lack of funding over the years.

The movement in Arizona is, overall, a peaceful movement and a call to action for legislators to become more aware of the struggles public schools have had to face due to underfunding. These educators want more than promises, they want results to help better the state of public education in Arizona.

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