Arizona Teachers Call For Investment In Education

By Mariana Dale
Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 9:58am
Updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 2:24pm
(Photo by Mariana Dale -KJZZ)
Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas called on Arizona lawmakers and the governor to increase education funding.
(Photo by Mariana Dale -KJZZ)
Gubenatorial hopeful David Garcia, a longtime educator, prepares for a press confernce outside the Arizona Education Association offices.
(Photo by Mariana Dale -KJZZ)
Amber Gould said even her mom, who was also an educator, tried to convince her to choose a career other than teaching.

Educators around the state Wednesday are wearing red to raise awareness about the issues teachers face from low pay to under-stocked classrooms.

“I’ve not seen this many teachers this frustrated since I’ve been in Arizona,” said Joe Thomas, who’s taught for more than two decades and now president of the Arizona Education Association. “I think today is about a positive statement, a statement of awareness that there are issues in our schools that people really need to start paying attention to. If that doesn’t work then I don’t know what we’ll do next week.”

Thomas said he’s talked with leaders in West Virginia where teachers walked out of school for almost two weeks in protest.

The strike ended when the Governor signed a bill raising teacher salaries five percent.

“We’ll hopefully see change and we can see change in this year’s budget,” Thomas said. “There is plenty of time for the governor and the legislature to enact changes that positively address the teacher crisis.”

Arizona’s 60,000 school teachers make on average some of the lowest teaching wages in the country.

Amber Gould teaches English at a Glendale High School. She wore a dark red shirt underneath a black blazer in solidarity with fellow educators and to send a message to all Arizonans.  

“Investing in education is an investment in our community, when we have students that can immediately enter the work environment, when we have students that are going on to college and then they establish their own businesses here that grows our economy, that makes Arizona better as a whole,” Gould said.

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The Arizona Education Association also announced its endorsement of educator David Garcia for governor.

“We are going to treat teachers as professionals,” Garcia said to applause. “It starts by paying teachers what they’re worth.”

Garcia previously ran for Superintendent of Public Instruction and lost to Diane Douglas.

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