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#RedForEd Isn’t Just About A Raise

Connor Fries, News Editor

Sahauro teachers raising awareness on Camino Seco on Wednesday, April 11

On Wednesday, April 11, over fifty Sahuaro faculty, staff, and even Principal Estrella and Assistant Principal Hurley adorned with #RedForEd shirts and signs,  gathered outside of Sahuaro to hold a walk-in in conjunction with the #RedForEd movement. Like Sahuaro, many other schools throughout the state of Arizona have held rallies and protests in an attempt to fight for change in the Arizona public school system.

The #RedForEd movement has a much greater meaning than teachers demanding a pay raise, it’s about the students too. Arizona teachers are demanding more funding for schools throughout the state to better the overall quality of education a child will receive. As it currently stands, many schools in Arizona are forced to cut programs due to lack of funding, and teachers have to fund-raise for supplies. Oftentimes, teachers spend their own money and time trying to salvage the possibilities that Arizona classrooms once had when fully funded. With the lack of pay and raises to cover the cost of inflation, teachers struggle to care for themselves or their families, especially since being some of the lowest paid teachers in the country. Governor Doug Ducey finally did agree to a 20% raise for teachers statewide that Arizona Educators United has been demanding from the start of the #RedForEd movement, however it is still under negotiation because Ducey failed to meet Arizona Educators United other demands such as including raises for support staff and restoring funding to 2008 levels. Many Arizona teachers still refuse to step down until all their demands are met, only adding more fire to the #RedForEd movement.

Sahuaro teachers and staff who attended the #RedForEd protest outside of Sahuaro spoke out about the matter. Ms. Mooney, science teacher, commented on the situation, “I’ve been working as a teacher for 20 plus years, and I’m not making much more than a new teacher.” She added on the topic of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s controversial decision of allowing school districts to hire teachers without having a teaching degree, “Lowering standards for a teacher does not help the [teacher] shortage. You must pay teachers in order to get good ones.”

Ms. Smith, Counselor, stated, “Most teachers are here because they know the students are the future, they [teachers] spend their own money to provide for their classes. We need to support the students.” Ms. Smith also added that when she was a teacher she spent almost $200 a month, trying to purchase supplies for her class due to the lack of supplies in her classroom.

Ms. Hughes, English Teacher, stressed the impact low wages have on teachers. “Arizona needs to spend more money on education; kids deserve a good education and teachers need to be happy at their jobs. Many teachers I know have another job to pay bills because teaching doesn’t cover their expenses.” Ms. Hughes also explained that with her current salary it makes saving for her children’s education and her retirement stressful.

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