Going on strike is powerful. But, like a nuclear bomb, the fallout is dangerous! Maybe it could be powerful enough to win the war, but at what cost?
To be clear, here’s my view. I fear that if a strike took place in Arizona over education, teacher pay in particular, we may get lucky and get a 5% raise. But that would fail to bring most teachers from the depths of poverty. We would likely be in the same exact situation in a handful of years. What would we do then, strike again? I don’t think it would work a second time so soon. Maybe I’m wrong.
During a strike people will panic to find ways to appease the striking force, while others will certainly be hardened to our causes. But those working under duress to fix education will be the same that failed to do so during calm times.
And for how long could we strike? We are poor, remember. Many of us have zero savings, scraping by if barely so.
It is my opinion that teacher pay is just the first major symptom of a diseased system. Throw a bandaid over it, let it scab over, and the infection will fester under the skin, just out of sight of the public’s eye.
The next time the sore opens, it may be too far gone to repair.
The #RedForEd movement in Arizona started the same weekend as this company. The situation with education is ripe for some changes. It feels almost all parties involved sense it, feel it coming. Last week Litchfield School District used a bond (or budget override) to increase teacher and support staff pay by up to 10.4%!
There are around 3,000 teaching vacancies in Arizona, despite Ducey’s plan to stick anyone, regardless of ability, in a classroom.
A small district in Sonoita had to eliminate 5th grade, integrating those kids with 6th and letting a teacher go.
The writing is on the wall. I don’t think a strike is most effective here. I think we just need to educate the public, show them the writing on the wall while also showing them the value we bring to our communities.
It is an election year for many school board members and for our state positions. Reach out to your board members, let them know that it is time to change. Even short term help, for a year or two, can buy time for things to get straightened out at the state level.
What are your thoughts. These are the things that stand out to us at Arizona’s Working Poor, but we wish to have a conversation with those that disagree. Leave a comment below, maybe you’ll sway us!
Regardless, avoiding infighting is crucial at this point. Yet, these approaches are contentious. We are all articulate and educated, so ask to learn, not coerce, listen to understand, not respond. And remember, we all want the same thing … a great education system that best promotes the health and stability of our communities. (Attracting and retaining quality teachers is a big part of that!)