My turn: Arizona teachers, students need you as an ally this week

This is a huge week for supporters of public education. As many of you know, our school districts are underfunded from the state level. Our community has taken on the slack passing override and bonds, but it’s time we demand the state fund public education and rural public education.

Schools across the Verde Valley will hold walk-ins Monday-Wednesday before school to create awareness for this massive issue we are dealing with on a state and local level.

Partners in Education is asking that you get involved. Contact a local school to find out what time you can arrive to show your support for our students, teachers, and future workforce.

If you know an AZ teacher, please be supportive right now.

Last week teachers across the Verde Valley and State voted to approve an unprecedented, first ever, state-wide walkout.

If you think that 44,000 teachers made a mistake by voting to walk out, please know: they fear you’re right.

I don’t know a single teacher who is 100-percent convinced that this is the right move. They were happy for our West Virginian brethren but also saw what happened in Oklahoma. They know they may lose this fight. They have agonized for weeks over this decision.

They don’t want to leave their kids and classrooms.

They don’t want to inconvenience their students’ families.

They don’t want to break their contracts.

They don’t want to have extra school days into June.

They don’t want the classified staff to go unpaid for the duration of the walkout.

They don’t want kids to go hungry.

They don’t want to jeopardize future bond or override elections in this community.

But they are doing it anyway. Even though it may not make sense to those people, who aren’t present every day in classrooms around Arizona.

Want to know why?

Because they don’t see an alternative.

Something that has been broken for a long time has finally completely snapped.

It’s not just about low pay. If it were, they would have voted to take the offered pay increase.

It’s about our students. It always has been.

Teachers can’t be as effective in helping students succeed if they are working 60 hours per week at three jobs.

Our schools need better and more current resources.

They need safe buildings.

They need more counselors, nurses, reading coaches, and lunch workers to help the schools run.

They need to be competitive in wages, so they don’t have a constant talent drain of the best teachers from our state and valley to those states surrounding us.

They need a salary plan that doesn’t exclude special teachers and support staff.

Why didn’t we opt for the legislative option? Why didn’t we wait until October? Why didn’t we take the deal?

There’s no one answer to any of those questions.

Because we’ve had money earmarked for education stolen out from under us before. Because we have been continuously advised not to make this political and waiting until October seemed like it would be targeting politicians up for re-election. Because we are afraid of losing momentum. Because we can’t take money that doesn’t include everyone on our campuses or money that steals from veterans and the arts.

Because, because, because.

Because they are tired of sounding an unheard alarm. Our system is broken, and they don’t know what else to do to make people hear them.

No, they don’t know where the money is going to come from.

But something is broken, and they have to fix it.

If you are a proponent of schools, support staff, and teachers - even if you don’t agree with the walkout - please consider being an ally for our teachers and students.

Lead with empathy. Encourage others around you to stay supportive of teachers, even if the walkout personally inconveniences them, and things start to get ugly. Speak up. Ask questions. Don’t automatically believe the commercials. Or the hateful rhetoric. Show your public support, if you can.

Children are the most vulnerable members of our society and our most important asset for the future.

It’s time for us to stand up – and walk out – for them.

Stacey Seaman is an Arizona native and 13-year teaching veteran. She currently teaches K-5 general music and band in the Casa Grande Elementary School District.

Comments

Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comment submissions may not exceed a 200 word limit, and in order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.

Lonecowboy 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The Republican victory this election was a mandate to spearhead an effort to MAGA. The Arizona State should not give in to teachers demands which is nothing more then extortion on the premise that more money will provide better education for students. It hasn't worked elsewhere, in fact, it has worsened the problem. Only turn to what happened in Atlanta, Ga and Washington for examples of that! Teachers do not deserve equal pay for the time they 'don't' spend in the classroom. What other State employee has the right to be paid a full year salary for part time work? If anything they should be treated on an hourly basis the same as other State employee. Giving into demands will create hugh unfunded retirement liabilities. New Jersey will be the first state to declare bankruptsy do to 'Quality Education'. Homeowners are strangled with obscene property taxes and no relief in sight. The ratio of sales to foreclosures is 42825 to 38,300' !!! The ponzi scheme in that state will end soon. Suffolk County NY has average property taxes of 10M to 30M for homes in the range of 1300-3500 sq.ft. The ratio of sales to foreclosures is 13,810/5117.

0

Lonecowboy 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This ia what 'Quality Education' has done to these states.Teachers in Detroit are the highest paid in the Nation! THIS is the 'State of the Union' Can these Cities be saved: Baltimore MD, Ferguson Mo, Rockford Il, Buffalo NY, Chicago, Camden NJ, Atlantic City, Kansas City,Lynn Mass, Stockton Ca, Rochester NY, Suffolk County LI, Cleveland Ohio, Philadelphia, St Louis, Gary Indiana, Sioux City Iowa, Pittsburgh, Portland Or, Milwaukee, Wilmington Delaware, New Orleans,Tampa, Charlotte NC, Sacramento or Richmond Va? Think not? There is nothing on the horizon to turn them around. Lies and denial of the Violence and lawlessness is baked into the mix and no one has the courage to step forward and call the shots. Cleveland will follow Detroit with a property foreclosure rate of three to one! New Jersey will be the first state to declare bankruptsy; homeowners are strangled with obscene school taxes with no relief in sight. The ratio there is 42825 to 38,300!!! foreclosures. This strike has nothing to do with student excellence and everything to do with the NEA dominating politics.

0

Lonecowboy 6 months, 3 weeks ago

(revised) Arizona ranks something like 43 in quality education. Not true but the B/E would have you believe it. Why? Hmmm, let me think that one out. Couldn't be the faculty? Give them a 20% raise and all will be well. Same teachers! Fire half and hire more competent educators? THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Looks like Arizona will be paying 20% more for the same mediocracy.

0