After 6 Days Out Of School, Arizona Parents Are Ready For Kids To Go Back
Arizona’s teacher walkout closed schools for an estimated 850,000 kids at its peak.
Just before 8 a.m. Thursday, kids and parents waited outside the Boys and Girls Club branch near 40th St and north of the Loop 202. It was the sixth day the club opened extended hours to care for kids who would normally be in school.
Adriana Aguilar was in a hurry to drop off her kids before heading into work.
“I kind of understand the teachers’ point of view, but it’s our kids’ education, they need it,” Aguilar said. “I’m a single mom of five kids. It’s a big help when they’re in school for me.”
On the first day of the strike, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix served 1,300 kids across the Valley. Monday there were about 800 kids needing care.
Katie Goodwin and her fiance Jennifer Thornbury’s kids usually go to the center after school. They’ve had to rearrange their schedule slightly to make time for drop off and pick up at the Boys and Girls Club.
“I have kids in the school system. I went to public schools here. So seeing improvements would be awesome,” Goodwin said. “I know apparently there are places in the world where you don’t have 40 kids in a class.”
Thornbury is finishing classes at ASU soon.
“I considered going into teaching and because of some of the conditions here I’ve opted not to,” Thornbury said. “I hoping that it makes Arizona a better place for educators in general.”
Thornbury and Goodwin have heard from their kids’ teachers during the strike.
“She called and checked on all of her students,” Thornbury said.
“Also checked if he was doing his homework,” Goodwin said, laughing.
The classic science fair project. He’s researching the effect magnetism might have on how radishes grow.
Deandra Brooks was walking through the neighborhood near the club. Her 2-year-old daughter isn’t in school yet, but Brooks said the walkout is important for the future of her education.
“Teachers deserve everything that they’re asking for, and I think they should have walked off, because they’re not getting treated the way they’re deserved to,” Brooks said.
Scott St. Gelais dropped off his granddaughter. He’s self-employed and his daughter, the girl’s mother, works full time.
“It’s tough because the teachers do deserve that raise,” St. Gelais said. “It’s hard that the Arizona state government hasn’t built back up the funding that was lost in 2008.”
Up the street, Jefferson Nez and his son rested in the shade of a ramada after riding their bikes to Phoenix’s Pierce Park.
Nez is a carpenter and he was able to watch his son while waiting for a shipment of wood.
“I’ve been kind of worried about my son, he keeps telling me he misses his teacher and school and class,” Nez said.
Nez said education is important to his son.
“So they can do better than I did,” Nez said. “I would love to see that.”
Some Arizona school districts, including Mesa, Scottsdale and Madison have announced they will reopen Friday.