If you’ve seen the movie, A Christmas Story, you undoubtedly remember the scene where the boy is goaded into sticking his tongue to a frozen flagpole, and of course, his tongue sticks to it.

The scene is great because it captures how posturing and speech are involved in our interactions, and how we can paint one another, or sometimes ourselves, into a corner.

Flick: Are you kidding? Stick my tongue to that stupid pole? That’s dumb!

Schwartz: That’s ’cause you know it’ll stick!

Flick: You’re full of it!

Schwartz: Oh yeah?

Flick: Yeah!

Schwartz: Well I double DOG dare you!

Narrator (Ralphie as an adult): NOW it was serious. A double-dog-dare. What else was there but a “triple dare you”? And then, the coup de grace of all dares, the sinister triple-dog-dare.

Schwartz: I TRIPLE-dog-dare you!

Narrator (Ralphie as an adult): Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat!

 

If you’re in education, in any capacity, you’ll undoubtedly have heard the phrase, “ … what’s best for kids.”

If you’re not in education, you’ll likely be surprised to hear how vexing that phrase is to teachers!

The phrase is often used in the context of, “I want you to do this, after all, we have to do what’s best for kids, right?”  It’s coercive, manipulative, and rarely used to promote something that has any impact on what’s best for kids. It almost always has to do with what’s best for the person using the phrase.

And, it’s powerful.  I’ve used it myself, a few times.  Like the triple dog dare, it’s a trump card.  The first person to play it tactfully wins.

Let’s talk about what really is best for kids, in the context of education.

  1.  Stable Home Life

I never appreciated how important a stable home life was until I became a teacher.  I believed it was imperative, without consideration, and my wife and I worked very hard to provide a quality upbringing for our daughters.  But I never knew how bad things can turn for kids in the absence of a stable homelife. I’ll not chase this too far, though it deserves an incredible amount of attention, but is just far beyond the scope of what AZWP does.

The vast majority of incarcerated felons are high school dropouts.  The number one reason kids drop out, and this could be argued and dissected many ways, goes back to quality home life.

  1.  Teachers

Education is performed by teachers.  

In a way, I think that says it all.  The end, thanks for coming.

As a society we can provide the best books, facilities, the safest possible schools, the best support staff, counselors, administrators, school board members, the best buses and athletic programs, but the vast majority of kids will not receive a quality education without a quality teacher.

Yet, a quality education can be received by a student in a dangerous school, without textbooks, in a run down facility, without counselors or support staff, with bad administration, and corrupt politicians…if they have the right teachers.  That teacher that’s a source of light in a dark, dark world.

I’ve heard many, and want to tell, stories of those diamonds in the rough.  The story of a bad school in a bad neighborhood, and a kid with the cards stacked against him (or her).  Yet, in the most unlikely of places a teacher reached them, put them on a different path, one that led to prosperity and fulfillment.

If we, as a society, do not attract the right people into education, and then help develop those people into quality teachers (nobody is born a good teacher), and then encourage those people to stay IN THE CLASSROOM, it’s all for not.

Let me clear up a few points.  For a school to function well as a whole, all of the pieces need to be in place.  The top priority though, is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. We need the right people in the classroom doing the dirty work.  All of the other components are important and need to be high quality as well, but the act of educating kids is done by teachers.

The value teachers provide and the baseline perceived quality of teachers have both been under attack for decades.  Teachers are vilified and distrusted, they’re pointed at as the problem in education by textbook and test publication companies, politicians, and sadly enough, many citizens.  I could easily write volumes about each of these sources, their motivations and their proposed solutions. But there’s no need because they all have a common tactic, attacking the value of the teacher.

Teachers will still be leaving, at a record pace, if they do not make a livable wage.  As many have noted, and I’ve explored at some length here on my blog, the state average teacher salary is around $48,000 annually, as reported by the state.  That amount is far from reality when you consider the phrase I used earlier, IN THE CLASSROOM.  For those that don’t understand the reference, there are a lot of people that do not teach students that are reported as teachers.  (I’m not suggesting the services they provide aren’t valuable, but they skew the averages drastically.)

I have been teaching longer than most in Arizona and I’d be dancing in the streets if I made $48,000.  I work my second job to get to $48,000.  I would need another 26% increase over the 10% I just received to get to $48,000. I’m a quality math teacher headed into my 12th year of teaching.

Our current situation is this: #REDforED is trying to get more money into schools, and in my opinion the bar is too low.  We are trying to return to our per-pupil funding levels of 2008, when we were considered “The Mississippi of the West,” for education.

Regardless, once that money goes into schools the first and most important thing that must happen is that teachers need to earn a livable wage.  That’s not to say that other employees should be forgotten and passed over. That’s not to say facilities shouldn’t be updated. It’s not to say better safety precautions are not essential.  The act of education is performed by teachers. All other components support education.

We need enough money for all of those things.  The reality of the situation is that we are not receiving enough money for those things, not even close.

Analogies are risky because they’re always riddled with connections that are close, but not quite right.  The understanding gleaned from analogies is based on different situation with its own set of nuances and relationships and pitfalls are plentiful.  But analogies are powerful and useful in exposing key ideas.  These are all similar in the respect that the primary function of an organization is performed by one role.  Please consider a hospital without doctors, a transportation system without drivers, a computer with a processor, an airline without pilots, a team without players, a band without musicians, a canvas without a painter, a school without teachers.

#REDforED was spurred into existence because of a massive teacher shortage and all signs pointing towards the rapid expansion of that shortage.  Teachers, even after (if it comes to fruition) the 20×2020 deal, will not be staying in education, at least not in Arizona.

If you want what is best for kids, attract the right people into education, support and develop them into quality teachers, then reward and encourage them for staying.

Having quality teachers in classrooms is what’s best for kids. 

Governor Ducey claims he is giving a 20% raise to teachers in Arizona by 2020.  Let’s dig in and see what it’s all about. As is often the case with politicians, what isn’t being told is very important, it completes the picture.  What is Governor Ducey hiding here?

But first, a little history to contextualize the source.  Under Governor Jan Brewer, Doug Ducey served as State Treasurer.  Money was illegally taken from Proposition 301 (education money), and a suit was filed.  The state of Arizona lost the suit and the money that was taken from public education was to be restored.  In response, Governor Ducey came up with Prop 123, which essentially settled the debt for around 7 cents for every dollar owed.  

The dark money sponsoring the governor and his programs billed the proposition as a boon for public education.  Arizona voters have consistently voted pro-education funding and so the proposition passed. Ever since then Governor Ducey has cited Prop 123 as how generous he’s been towards public education.

Despite the funding for public education in 2017/18 being $1.1 billion below the funding a decade before (not adjusted for inflation), the governor refused to provide more than a 1% raise for teachers.  Teachers mobilized and he came up with his 20×2020 plan.  Again, he has claimed that he has always invested in public education and worked hard to fund those programs that protect the most vulnerable of our citizens.

It is as if there were 20 cookies in the cookie jar and without permission he took 18 of them.  When caught he put two back, then pointed and claimed, “Look at how many cookies I’m putting in the cookie jar!  I’ve increased it by 100%!”

Now, also keep in mind this is an election year.  

Politicians are clever with how things are worded.  The 20×2020 plan has been said to be a raise for teachers, 20% by the year 2020, and 10% this year.  But, as you’ll see, this is really a 5.7% bump in education funding. Of course that is a desperately needed influx of new money, but the problem is it leaves us about $700 million short of what funding for education was a decade ago.  It falls far short of the claim that this plan, “Fully restores recession-era cuts.”

Here are the details about how the 10% was calculated and how it is being distributed, which are why it is a 5.7% increase in education funding and not a 10% teacher raise. Governor Ducey took the average salary for people that fit his narrow definition of teachers (many elective, art, and special ed teachers are not counted) and increased that amount by 10%.  He then took total and added it to the ADM (you can read about ADM here if you like).  For all intents and purposes, ADM is used to calculate the money that schools receive, like what might be thought of as a general fund.

The increase in ADM is about 5.7% over last year.  There is no legally binding language or even hand-shake agreements that earmark the money to go to teachers and or staff.  The governor can say the money is for raises to the press, but what’s written and legal is what is real. Districts have discretion to use the money however they see best, without any guidelines even suggesting it goes to staff.

Here’s the rub: People read the headlines and hear a 20% increase in funding (Often websites misrepresent this by saying the increase is in education funding, not teacher pay. CNN reports, Arizona teacher walkout ends with new education funding,).  Teacher pay is, of course, just a part of education funding.  And not all teachers were even considered when coming up with the total amount to be added to the “general fund.”  The actual amount of increase is far less than it appears and far less than needed.

 

And some districts will really suffer.  Districts will not receive a 10% increase based on their “teacher” salaries, but instead will receive the 5.7% increase of the ADM.  Some districts will be far short of the 10% of teacher salaries, other will be far ahead.

This is also very important because one the of the major victories that the #REDforED movement had was to get people to focus their attention on the state, not the local districts.  The expectation of a 10% raise can easily become a major problem for districts that do not have that amount of money! The governor can sit back, point his finger and say, “Go ask your district, I gave them the money and the freedom to make sure it goes where it’s needed!”

This can easily take the focus off of the governor and put it on local districts, and inappropriately so.

It gets worse.  There are two other major problems with this proposal.  The first is that the proposal is not a piece of education reform legislation but a budget.  Budgets are only valid for one year. They carry no legally binding value beyond that. If the governor is not re-elected, this “deal” is dead and gone.  If he is re-elected, the 20×2020 plan is a promise from a person who has repeatedly taken money from public education (even illegally), and who is likely to run for a national level position once his next term is complete (reads little concern for righting any wrong).

The second major problem is that a portion of the money injected into education will require certain districts to raise their property taxes. In order for this to be legal, according to the Arizona constitution, a ⅔’s majority vote would be required.  The governor has tried this before and it was struck down by the state supreme court.  It is entirely likely that a lawsuit will be filed over this unconstitutional raising of property taxes.

In the past Doug Ducey has defunded public education and has only stopped when he had little or not choice (lawsuit, 75,000 marching on the capitol).  He is up for re-election in a few short months and has whipped up what he claims is a 20% raise for teachers in a few years. This is a misrepresentation of reality, one that leaves education over $700 million short of its claim!

It is my humble opinion that this is a ploy to buy some time … time enough to get the election behind him.  And his ploy is working. Over 75% of Arizonans are in favor of the program.  What would that percentage be if they understood it was a 5.7% increase, leaving us $700 million short of where we were a decade ago?

 

As the #REDforED movement moves forward, whether you support its call and actions or not, there’s a much larger problem at play here that needs the attention of everybody.  

In government and politics things are rarely what they seem.  This is no different. In exploring the funding of public education in Arizona I have stumbled upon some eye-opening problems with how our state government is set up and how what should be considered corruption is fully legal.  

Arizona has little to no oversight or legislation preventing conflicts of interests between our elected officials and their duties to serve the public.  While this is being exposed with education right now, once this comes to a close, regardless of outcome, these conflicts of interest will then turn to erode some other service Arizonans rely upon.

Let’s look at the defunding and derision of public education.  One key player (of many) is Steve Yarbrough. I do not wish to question or attack Mr. Yarbrough’s politics, but simply point out how our legislative system in Arizona is drastically flawed.  

Steve Yarbrough is the president of the Arizona State Senate and comes from District 17, basically the Chandler area.  Senator Yarbrough is also the president of The Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization (ACSTO) where he earns a base salary of $125,000 for his service to their organization.

That salary is chump change compared to the billing ACSTO received by a company called HY Processing.  For whatever services HY Processing does for ACSTO, they received over $600,000 in compensation in 2014.

This company, HY Processing, is owned by Steve Yarbrough and his wife.

The cash cow gets fatter, though.  Yarbrough owns the building where ACSTO rents office space, for over $52,000 a year.  

All of this is just one of the STOs related to Yarbrough.

Whether public education or private education is the key to securing a stable society in Arizona, it is clear that our elected officials have a massive conflict of interest on this account.  

Stepping even further back we can see that this is perfectly legal.  Where else is it happening? Unless we can get some saints, uninterested in power of money, from the Pope, simply replacing these legislators will only exchange who is being hurt by these conflicts of interest.

Do you ever wonder why a mouse falls prey to a mouse trap?   You know the classic spring trap, with a trigger that holds bait and a spring loaded kill bar that comes slamming down on the mouse once the bait is taken.

The bait must look awful enticing, so much so that the mouse will never step back and see what is connected to the bait … the kill bar!

Governor Ducey has a beautifully constructed spring-loaded trap properly placed, right now.  Let’s take a step back and see how this is attached to a kill bar.

The Bait

The 20×2020 proposal is the bait.  Joe-Public doesn’t care to dig in and see the composition of the proposal.  Joe-Public is busy. Joe-Public sees there’s an offer that seems to match the demands of educators and is left to assume that teachers are being greedy.  This of course assumes that the offer is legitimate, but bait doesn’t have to be quality, just enticing enough to lure the prey in, right?

The Trigger

The vehicle that will carry out the 20×2020 proposal is a budget.  That is of ultimate significance!  A budget is only good for one year.  Don’t take my word for it, read about it here from the government’s website. https://www.azleg.gov/jlbc/budgetprocess.pdf

The doctrine that prevents a budget from reaching beyond a year is called ultra vires.  That’s latin, so it’s legit, right?  It basically states that one legislature cannot tie the hands of another legislature.  This year’s budget has no bearing on what is voted on next year!

To be clear, there is zero guarantee that the governor follows through with his budget even during the coming fiscal year!  There is even less chance of the full proposal being carried out.

Those who don’t know history are forced to repeat it.

The Kill Bar

The kill bar is that people will accept this proposal, or be pacified by it, buying the governor enough time to continue on his path towards gutting public education.  There will be no emergency session this summer as many of the key legislators live out of state in the summer, and the fall session will be a skeleton crew as the legislators will be campaigning for re-election.

The next legislative session will be a year from.  Game Over!

Fight Back

Our job is to expose the trap.  This bait is rotten and it stinks.  Here’s why:

  1. A budget is only good for a year. This “budget deal,” is a three year plan.
  2. The past few years the government has struggled to fund their budgets.  Every year schools receive less than promised in the budget.  Last year’s budget, for example, was predicted to have a $104 million shortfall!  Let’s learn from history!
  3. Governor Ducey has claimed to work side-by-side with educators and supports public education.  This is of course a massive lie. We ended up in this position because the opposite of his statement is true.  Corporate tax cuts, designed and approved by Ducey, have landed us in this position.  He has faced little opposition along the way!
  4. The continued erosion of public education in Arizona is costing us jobs. Companies like Amazon are looking for a highly educated workforce and reportedly passed on Tucson and Phoenix as a base for their second headquarters because of our public education.
  5. Arizona’s voucher program has been a disaster to this point, yet, people like Steve Yarbrough keep pushing forward with it.  Why? Because they profit personally.

Monday and Tuesday – The Final Rounds

The last piece of work the legislative session will see is the budget.  Once the budget is passed many of these legislators will leave the state for their summer homes.  A special session will not be called. There will be no session in the fall because of elections. Whatever happens these next two days, is likely going to be the end of getting our legislation to act!

And while you may think that voting them out and replacing them will provide a new promise, it will be just that…a promise.  This problem was not created by our current elected officials, it’s a cultural issue unique to Arizona.

We have the momentum and we must seize this opportunity!  

Moral support and honking horns, wearing red to work will no longer be enough. We need everybody willing and able, outside of education, to call in sick on Monday, show up at the capitol.  

If we shut down the state on Monday, education wins!

End Game

I speak only for myself on this account, but I would be satisfied, temporarily, if:

  1. We had a budget and a piece of legislation to give it legs that laid forth a sustainable plan to restore public education, or:
  2. A committee to work over the summer on how to realize the five demands of the AEU.
    1. That committee would have to include leadership members of the AEU.

It is my responsibility as a citizen of Arizona to stand up to a government that does not serve the needs of its people.  

Join me on Monday at the capitol, 7 AM, to greet our elected officials as they arrive at work for the day.  Share this, invited friends, neighbors, relatives.

Dear Diane Douglas,

You do not likely remember, but a few weeks ago we met.  You spoke at an awards assembly where Rio Rico High School was awarded the College Board (AP exams) and Cambridge International Examinations (IGCSE) school of the year for the nation among small schools.

In your speech you spoke a few times about how funding for education needs to improve and in particular about teacher pay.  It was a deft political move.  #REDforED was just beginning to make waves and you felt them.  A teacher friend expressed a weight lifted off her shoulders by your words, saying, “It was sure nice to hear the state superintendent talk about the need for increased funding.”

We shook hands, you congratulated me and went about your way.  It was the last I’d seen of you until very recently.

Since then the Arizona Educators United group has exploded to it’s nearly 50,000 current members, and much has happened with the #REDforED movement giving you many opportunities to step in and provide the guidance that only someone in a high level position like your own can do, you’ve done little.  Let’s review:

  • There was a march on the capitol where the demands of the AEU were made.  
    • You were silent.
  • In response to the demands Doug Ducey pushed through more legislation that cuts funding for public education.
    • You were silent.
  • Doug Ducey says that teachers will only get the 1% “raise,” nothing more.
    • You were silent.
  • Doug Ducey calls #REDforED, “Political theater.”
    • You were silent.
  • Over 110,000 people participated in Walk-Ins around the state, showing incredible solidarity.
    • You were silent.
  • Governor Ducey comes up with his 20×2020 proposal to pay teachers but not fund education as a whole.
    • You were silent.
  • A plan to vote on a walk-out among educators was developed.
    • You were silent.

Now the line is drawn in the sand.  Both sides are backed into corners.  Now you speak.  The quality and character of your message will be discussed soon.  But first, an observation.

The time where people will hear you has passed.  Your inaction has shown that you serve your own political and financial concerns, not the need of students.  Your silence has been heard loud and clear.  Your statements now, both in timing and quality, only serve to confirm the public has long since known to be true.

Let us address two things that you have said.

  1.  Give the governor time to fix this.

The governor has had years.  You have failed to step in and help motivate change.  This is a stall tactic.  Your opportunity to step in and slow down the #REDforED movement to provide time so that meaningful and sustainable changes could be made has passed.  

2.  Teachers will be investigated fully, teaching certificates can be revoked and teachers can be fired.

Newsflash Diane Douglas:  You don’t need a teaching certificate to teach in Arizona.   (What did you say about those moves by the governor when they went through … oh yeah, nothing.)

You have chosen sides.  Your bread is buttered by the cream taken off  of the top of public education funding, and the knife dives deep when in your hands, doesn’t it?

I’d like to share with what one student said about his experiences and successes in a rural, poor, public school in Southern Arizona.  But first, the context…

Rio Rico High School (RRHS) in Southern Arizona was awarded two nationally prestigious academic awards in 2018.  The College Board, (AP) named RRHS the school of the year for the nation among small school districts (14,000 of these schools across the country).  Also, Cambridge International selected RRHS as the top school in the nation!  (Read about the awards here.)

Amidst all of the turmoil and angst, the possible teacher strike, Doug Ducey’s 20×2020 proposal, people choosing sides and ugliness coming at teachers from the public about the failures of education, we have this jewel.  Some use this as a way to say, “Hey, look, RRHS does all of THIS without funding, they’re a poor school in a state that supposedly under-funds education.  Why should we fund them.”  Others say, “Look what we can do … but if we don’t fund it, the people that make this possible CANNOT stay.”

All of that aside, I’d like to share with you two things.  First, a short bit about Rio Rico, and second the first of three speeches that were given by students and teachers at the ceremony announcing these awards. (The other speeches will be posted in future entries.)  The speech below was powerful in its sincerity and weight, and so eloquently delivered that there were many tears of powerful emotion in the room.

Rio Rico is a bedroom community just north of Nogales, Arizona.  It hosts about 20,000 people and is unincorporated.  The High School has just over 1,000 students, the vast majority on free/reduced lunch, over 90% Hispanic and a large portion speak Spanish at home and/or as their first language.  

I attended school in this district before there was a High School.  I went to Calabasas Junior High School and we had 68 students for both grades.  We had a multi-purpose gym with classrooms attached, but the English classes were held in trailers behind the school.  We are rural, poor and very spread out, covering over 62 square miles!  We have one grocery store, a few restaurants and since this is open range, a lot of cows.

Kids here often spend their weekends with relatives in Mexico and the most common place to get your hair cut is “across the line.”  

That is a quick snap-shot of what Rio Rico is like, typical of many towns around Arizona.  

The student giving the speech is 18, and gave me permission to post his speech.  But since he is still a student, his name will be withheld.  Here is his speech:

I am privileged to be able to stand at this podium to represent our school’s valiant efforts and scholarly intellect. Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District #35 has been recognized as the 2018 AP District of the Year. Little in size, but big at heart. The selfless efforts and dedication of this school district’s staff have directed our strong-willed community into achieving remarkable things. I represent the Hispanic community that has so proudly propelled their children without losing the roots of their culture.

Both my parents are Mexican-American and did not receive more than a high school diploma. Despite this, they instilled in me the understanding of the importance of a collegiate education and I will be a first generation college student. From a very young age, my mindset has been to take advantage of the opportunity of learning. I have been fortunate enough to have attended a school district that has made its students their priority.

Taking the step forward and engaging in AP classes seems daunting at first. There are certainly nights where you stay up trying to understand the logic behind the Laws of Thermodynamics, or recalling both parts of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, or even interpreting the symbolism in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. But on the flip side, there’s also those very early mornings spent with passionate teachers explaining those puzzling lessons. Helping us believe we are capable of all intimidating tasks while restoring our self confidence. Our teachers and administration always go the extra mile to provide us with the resources vital to our success as students. I applaud all those teachers that have laid the foundation for all those students seeking a sense of fulfillment with their place in the world. One of the many benefits of completing an AP course is the satisfaction of knowing we can compete at a university level with students nationwide.  

Our future depends on today’s youth. Rio Rico High School students have become trailblazers for future generations so that a new norm in academic standards can be set for Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District. The world is rapidly advancing and needs to prepare coming scholars for this evolution. Even though many question their abilities to be able to withstand the load of AP courses, It also increases expectation of self when they succeed. Education makes us humble and creates awareness by expanding our vision. We become more aware about ourselves, about society, and everything that surrounds and affect our lives.

Through the Advanced Placement program, I have not only benefited through the depth of cognitive understanding, but grown as a person by strengthening my confidence,  developing work ethics, and sparking an educational passion that will live to serve me for the rest of my life. Thank you.

If you find this message positive and powerful, please share it with others.  There is a lot of negativity around education today, even from those trying to improve it.  Let’s focus on the good, build it and make it grow.

 

Never (almost) take the first offer

by John Harris

@IH8PD

The Duce offered his proposal to help fund education, and I have to say, I’m slightly impressed. Not that the offer is so outstanding, but that he gave it so quickly. That tells me one of two things. Either, he is a horrible negotiator and he just gave us the absolute best offer he could, or, more likely, this is his opening offer and he has WAY more on the table that he could use.

A week ago, Ducey told us we were whiny and he was not giving one cent more than the 1%. Less than a week later, he has given us our first demand as requested and didn’t bat an eye. No pushback from legislature. No negativity with maneuvering around that much cash. No long, drawn out board meetings with corporations demanding some incentive to allocate less to private schools. They did not take the money from the voucher program already in place. It just seems so….easy.

Proper negotiations follow a certain protocol. If you’ll recall, it is a breach of etiquette to call triple dog dare before calling a triple dare. There is definitely a way to negotiate.

First, know your worth. How much is it worth to be a teacher? If I were to put a price tag on being a teacher, it would be like putting a price on your home. You compare it with similar homes in the area. In our field, the Southwest region of the United States would be our neighborhood. The average salary in our neighborhood is $59,800 (thanks California). The 20% increase would only put us at $51,600. That’s well short of our friends next door.

Next, where is the money coming from? Steve Yarbrough, a huge proponent of vouchers, wants every single education dollar to go to private schools. He does not want to fund public education at all. Do you mean to tell me, there were resources available that have not already gone into our bloated voucher program and Yarbrough did not fight him? That’s very difficult to swallow. If Ducey can so easily move money from ANYWHERE and place it with teacher salary (not as a stipend), then imagine how much more he could give if he squeezed harder.

Next, most experts will tell you not to take the first offer unless it is better than you anticipated, and even then, you should hesitate. The offer he made was at least decent. He didn’t spit in our faces and give us 2% or 5%. Out of all the other demonstrations across the country that have been happening, including some individual districts bumping pay by a few percentages, this is by far the best offer any group of teachers has ever been given. It’s just not enough, and he left out a bunch of other stuff.

 

This does not address the need for more resources for ESPs. It would be a HUGE slap in the face to every paraprofessional, aide, secretary, custodian, cafeteria worker, bus driver, and every other person who has stood with those of us who happen to stand in front of a classroom. It also does not address healthcare. Our premiums continue to increase. If we were on the state employee health plan, our premiums would go down, our districts would save so much in insurance costs they could afford to give that money back to us, and we could attract future teachers. The pay sucks, but the healthcare is good.

Overall, I sincerely believe that Ducey thinks he is making a good offer. He is trying to be diplomatic in an election year. He is playing politics because he is young and has political aspirations that do not end at Governor. Koch (who could single-handedly fund public education) has too much invested in him. They can’t have him lose this election. If he can pull this off, and win public approval, he’s on his way to the White House.

This deal is just not nearly enough. And we know that because it came too soon. Let’s now ask for 30% for teachers, 30% to all support staff, and open-enrollment in the state employee insurance. Now that we know he can and will bend, let’s see how far we can go before he breaks.

©️2018 IH8PD.com