Arizona Education Association

Spring 2018

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SPRING 2018 | ADVOCATE 11 AT THE CAPITOL Teacher Calls Governor Out on Support for Education Osborn Education Association President Alexis Aguirre called Governor Doug Ducey out on his support for education at the AZSchools Now news conference on January 4, 2018, at the Arizona State Capitol. "I decided to become a teacher because of the impact teachers made in my life," said Aguirre, who teaches second grade at Encanto Elementary School in Phoenix. "Our jobs are incredibly difficult. Our students suffer sometimes from homelessness or special needs that we have to address in the classroom, because we don't have the support that our school wishes they could give us." If our school board had the money in the budget, they would pay teachers more, said Aguirre, who was honored as the 2017 Esperanza Latino Teacher Award by Chicanos Por La Causa for her impact on the future generation. "If our principals had the money, they would hire more teachers aides, they would hire more bus drivers, they would hire more counselors, but the money's just not there," Aguirre said. At the news conference, Aguirre held up her check from her school district with the 1.6 percent bonus for teachers that the governor and legislature approved last year. "This is my check. So after years of not getting a significant raise, teachers were given a one-time stipend raise for the year. It's $402," Aguirre said. "So obviously, this is not what the governor has been saying he's going to do, supporting educational funding. This is not proof that he's really taken into consideration what our kids need, what our teachers need, what our districts need. It's not enough by any means." In contrast, the governor awarded raises of up to 20 percent to 44 of his staff members over that past two and a half years and the governor's Department of Administration gave at least 245 employees pay raises that average 18 percent, according to an article in The Arizona Republic. "Real educational funding is going to be long-term, it's going to be sustainable, it's going to go beyond us teachers to support staff, our students, our buildings. There's so much that needs to be fixed in our state right now, and this is not, this is not it," Aguirre said. of critical support staff such as reading specialists and guidance counselors, and even a loss of the most basic and vital tool: a classroom teacher," Simek said. More than 2,000 people attended the March to Save Our Schools on the following Saturday, January 6, on the Arizona State Capitol's lawn organized by the Arizona Education Association, Save Our Schools Arizona, Arizona Parent Teacher Association, AZ Schools Now, Children's Action Alliance, and One Arizona that featured information, resources, and live performances from Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and Ballet Folklorico, food trucks, and bounce houses. Speakers included Arizona Congressman Tom O'Halleran (Congressional District 1), Arizona House Minority Whip Rep. Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma (Legislative District 4), 2018 Arizona Teacher of the Year Joshua Meibos, and Sunnyside high school student Patrick Robles, together calling for improved school funding. Education continues to be the number one issue facing the state, according to many recent surveys of Arizona voters. "Voters in Arizona have spoken loudly this past year by passing more override and bond elections than ever before," Simek said. Second-grade Teacher Alexis Aguirre From The Osborn Elementary School District Called Governor Doug Ducey Out On His Support For Education At The AZSchools Now News Conference On Thursday At The Arizona State Capitol. Photo By Brooke Razo/Arizona School Boards Association "The Legislature has within its power the ability to make substantial and permanent investments in our public schools and teachers," said Linda Lyon, president of the Arizona School Boards Association Board of Directors and member of the Oracle Elementary School District governing board, "And we expect them to do just that."

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