Arizona Education Association

Spring 2017

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SPRING 2017 | ADVOCATE 11 at the capitol L ast month, more than 300 people rallied at Central High School in Phoenix to learn about the AZ Schools Now coalition formed by the Arizona Education Association and our proposal for teacher raises. Attendees heard from different coalition leaders and learned how to use the state legislature's Request to Speak (RTS) system and provide public comment on bills. On the following Monday, 150 education advocates spent their President's Day at the state Capitol to deliver hundreds of postcards to Senate President Yarbrough and House Speaker Mesnard calling for public meetings on the state budget in contrast to last year's budget, which was passed without public comment in the middle of the night. Both events were heavily covered by local news media and provided opportunities for AEA to talk about our issues and have our members' voices heard. "It helps to hear our voices. Sometimes they don't for their own practical reasons but to remain silent is remain dead forever," Anna Cicero, an AEA Retired member, said in an interview with CBS5/3TV. Christine Marsh, a Scottsdale Education Association member and the 2016 Arizona Teacher of the Year, told the Arizona Republic that parents, grandparents and educators are fed up with underfunding, unmet promises and parts of the education-funding proposals. Julie Cieniawski, a public teacher in Scottsdale and board member of the AEA, shared with the Arizona Republic that the parents and teachers who showed up at the Capitol feel bamboozled by the Governor, "I feel like we were used by our state leaders last year. We were used by our governor to come to the table and have input in devising Prop. 123 with the hope that there was a future in really, truly funding, and having as a top priority, more funding for public schools. I'm so tired of leaders using us as their tool to get what they want, but then not giving us the same support and dignity." She added that when she learned the governor proposed a four-tenths of a percent raise for teachers each year over five years, she "thought it was a typo." Education Advocates Unite for AZ Schools Now

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