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Brewer says Ducey, elected officials must lead to solve teacher pay issue

(AP Photo)
LISTEN: Jan Brewer, Former Arizona Governor

PHOENIX — Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday that it will be up to the state’s elected officials to lead the way when it comes to solving the problem of low teacher salaries.

“They’re going to have to lead on this,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos.

“They’re going to have to come up with a solution because all this rhetoric and just talking about it is not going to get the job done.”

She also said that lawmakers could not wait the matter out until the public’s eye turned to another issue.

“They’re not going to back down. There’s too much momentum going, so someone is going to be held accountable for that,” she said, later clarifying that she was referring to November’s general election when talking about accountability.

“The people of Arizona, they want money in their education,” she said. “They want their kids educated.”

Much has been made of teacher salaries in recent weeks, both in Arizona and other states. Brewer said some of the fuss has been caused by teachers who feel they are ignored by the state and other detractors.

“All these people are tying to distort the fact that our teachers are hard-worked and underpaid,” she said.

Brewer — who was in office during the Great Recession and admitted it was “shameful” what the state paid teachers under her watch — said educators had a right to be upset when they get their paychecks.

“They are very put out and rightly so,” she said. “I mean, they are always at the bottom of the food chain, it seems like and they are the people that are going to plan and train these people for the future.”

However, the former governor said teachers should stop short of going on strike and instead meet the state halfway.

“They ought not to strike, but I think they ought to try at least to sir down and see what they can work out between our elected officials, the governor and the teachers,” she said.