Why #RedForEd Matters

English Teachers United in #RED4ED

English Teachers United in #RED4ED

Connor Fries, News Editor

The Red for Ed movement is sweeping across Arizona in protest of  the lack of funding in public schools, as well as the low teacher pay. Arizona has some of the lowest paid teachers in the country with the median starting salary for teachers in TUSD only being $34,000, while in Vail, the starting salary is $39,000. In protest of the low pay and lack of funding, teachers across Arizona have banded together to wear red as well as create protest rallies in Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Show Low, Vail, Sierra Vista, Kingman, White Mountains, Prescott, and Yuma. A rally was held in front of the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, as well at the Arizona State Building in Tucson.

Arizona Educators United, an organization associated with the #RedforEd movement, has compiled a list of demands they wish to be met by the Arizona State Government. The most notable demands are a 20% pay raise for all teachers and certified staff, more funding, 23:1 class sizes, as well as newer 21st century materials and curriculum to be brought into schools across the state. Arizona Educators United is also asking for continual pay raises until the national standard is met.

Wednesday’s #RED4ED Rally

Arizona currently ranks 51st out of the 50 states (including the District of Columbia) for education due to the poor quality of education and the small amount of spending. In 2016, Arizona spent only  53.5% of their budget on instruction, this is the lowest amount spent on instruction in Arizona since 2001. Many schools in TUSD struggle to meet demands of teachers and supplies for each school year. This year alone, over 100 teaching positions weren’t filled in TUSD and next year, if the demands aren’t met for teachers, the teacher shortage will become drastic. The teacher shortage has been a problem plaguing Arizona for the past few years, with the highest turn-over rate in the entire country, and with 866 teacher quitting just last year, it’s no surprise that the teacher shortage is slowly becoming worse.