Why would a person want to be a teacher, coach, counselor or administrator in our Arizona public schools? We pay them a paltry salary, we have almost impossible expectations of them, their medical and retirement benefits have been reduced, their tenure has been rendered impotent, and some are even facing layoffs.
After our students, the second most important group of people in our schools are our teachers and administrators. They need to be able to create a positive learning environment, discipline, encourage, inspire, and motivate our future generations (who are also future taxpayers!). How are they going to achieve these critically important tasks with diminished resources, reduced salaries, and uncertain job futures? What person would want to go into education as a career or choose to remain in education as a profession under these conditions?
This much is clear: We have a legislature that is miserly toward public education. Until we elect better educated legislators, ones that value education as a conduit toward economic prosperity, and ones that view education as an investment rather than an expense, we’ll continue to struggle with improving education in Arizona or even maintaining the marginal status quo.
The Republican-dominated legislature has done very few positive things for education in the past, their present penny pinching hurts students and staff alike, and the future with the GOP at the monetary helm portends bleakness for all Arizonans who care about public education in our state.
We are indeed in an educational performance race with all the other states and we don’t seem to mind that Mississippi, South Carolina, and us are mired in the basement.
Richard K. Meszar