On Monday, we covered a story about a new report out of Arizona State University that the state’s teacher shortage is reaching crisis levels.
Just a small piece from that was a statistic that, of all teachers hired in the state of Arizona in 2013, 42 percent of them have already left the profession. That is blinding!
We can continue to drone on and on that our teachers aren’t paid enough, that our state legislators messed up during the recession, that are governor raided the state land trust in a garbage piece of legislation, or the fact that the woman that runs our state education system has never taught a class in her life.
But I think I can narrow it down to two things that we just are talking about.
First, partisan politics.
Our nation becomes more politically divided each year. The Republicans become more Republican and the Democrats become more Democrat.
Each side has gathered their pet causes. The Republicans have chosen gun rights, tax cut, and family values, while the Democrats have chosen reproductive rights, the environment and, you guessed it, education.
So once the Republican start talking about gun rights or other pet causes, the Democrats immediately dig their heels in and go on the defensive. The same is true on the other side when the Democrats start writing legislation for their pet causes, the Republicans jump on the defensive. This includes education.
The great state of Arizona’s Legislature is controlled by Republicans that seem all too glad to play this game. In their mind, education is only spoken of during election cycles or when they’re railing on the Obama administration about Common Core.
Don’t get me wrong, the Democrats have dropped the ball on education. Even when they have a great tool, such as the ASU study, their knee-jerk response is to throw more money at it! We have seen time and time again, funding is not the problem, it’s how the funding is spent.
Which brings me to my next point: We all have to start talking like grown-ups.
According to the Arizona Department of Education, Arizona has 15 county education agencies, 230 school districts, 406 charter holders and 13 joint technological education districts.
Let’s keep it easy and just focus on the districts. That means 203 administration buildings. That means 203 district administrative staffs. That means 203 district IT departments, 203 district maintenance crews, 203 district automobile fleets, 203 district benefits and payroll packages.
The list can go on and on. It’s shocking to me that there is money left over to pay any of our teachers!
It’s time to consolidate districts, period! The saving has to go to go directly to our teachers and classrooms.
I have heard the argument that it’s just not done that way too many times. A very wise man used to tell me, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Here’s what Arizona has always gotten: A failing education system that is overlooked by the controlling party in our state capitol. It is being fiscally sucked dry by over 200 bureaucracies that continue to hoodwink us parents into thinking that this time the money will actually get to people that need it the most, teachers.
Bottom line: The money is there, it’s just not going to the right place and that is why we are failing our teachers and kids.
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