Teachers on campus wear red for education

A+picture+of+the+teacher+strike+in+West+Virginia+that+encouraged+teachers+across+the+nation+to+protest

Courtesy of Tyler Evert

A picture of the teacher strike in West Virginia that encouraged teachers across the nation to protest

The actions of teachers across the entire state of West Virginia, participating in a walkout of classrooms to protest education funding, has sparked a nationwide movement called “Red for Ed.” The movement encourages both teachers and students to wear red every week to show their support for the teachers of America.

On Wednesday, March 21, Arizona teachers protested at the state capital. Over 350 teachers called in sick resulting in the shutting down of 9 Glendale schools.

These teachers are not just protesting for a salary increase, but more funding per student in every classroom across the state. The teachers are asking for the money to go directly into the classrooms to benefit the students, rather than first benefitting administrative agendas.

“[In Arizona] we have about 2,000 classrooms with no certified teachers” claims Nicholas Bolling, spanish teacher. “The teachers are fighting for competitive salaries with the amount in other states and smaller class sizes.”

According to the National Education Association, Arizona is ranked 43rd in the average salary of teachers and 50th in public school revenue per student in fall enrollment.

“We need less money for administration things and more for classrooms and students,” says Susan Henry, language arts teacher, when asked about the current funding for our schools in the state.

The purpose of Red for Ed isn’t just about more money for the salary of teachers, but making Arizona a more competitive state against others in the country in regards to education.

“Teachers are always asking for a pay raise. It’s not necessarily about raising salaries for older teachers, but for the younger teachers so they want to go into the field of teaching.”Henry said.

Henry also added that she believes the expenses for teacher insurance is too much. She explains that the price is reasonable for one person, but adding children makes the insurance much more costly and overpriced.

Will Jones, government teacher, agrees with the proper use of money for students, claiming “we need more per pupil spending. We need more money for each student in the state.” He also added that he would be willing to to go to the capital with other teachers to influence state representatives.

Bolling also added that the movement favors doing away with standardized testing. Ronda Cunningham, language arts teacher, explained that she feels standardized testing takes up too much time for students, and does not always test what the students know.

Students can show their support for the state and nationwide movement by wearing red every Wednesday.

“It’s shows solidarity more than anything.”Bolling said.

The teachers protesting at the capital are there to show discontent with a bill proposed in the Senate finance committee which would cause Arizona to lose more than $500,000 in capital gains taxes.

“Something like this has to be done to bring attention to the lack of funding and attention to public education.” said Kelly Simon, language arts teacher.

The GOP-led legislature in Arizona has passed a piece of legislation that implements a tax to fund education, with the teachers of the state waiting to see if governor Doug Ducey will sign or veto the bill.

The governor has largely opposed any tax increases for the citizens of the state, but claims he will pass this piece of legislature. He also explains it does not increase taxes but would simply maintain the status quo of education spending for twenty years.

Hashtags #redfored and #AZwhatistheplan can be used by everyone to ask state legislators to act on the requests by teachers across the whole state.