PHOENIX — The fight for the better treatment of teachers is in full swing again this school year, and one very important advocate is leading the charge.
Andrew Morrill is the president of the Arizona Education Association (AEA) and he believes results are happening, slowly but surely.
“Teachers are going to end up getting raises. In fact, we’re seeing small salary increases here and there,” he told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos Thursday. “Remember that it’s very much a local decision, district by district.”
For years Arizona cut taxes, a tactic that Morrill said was a actually double-edged sword.
“The state cut so many taxes for so many years, which sounds great,” he said. “But we just have to remember that a major part of our taxes goes to supporting our education system, so years of tax cuts have led to an underfunding.”
While very important, lack of decent pay is not the only factor in not just hiring, but keeping, good teachers.
“We have a three-legged stool that is driving teachers out of the classroom,” Morrill explained. “One is the compensation, which has never been great, but teachers were willing to put with that. They understood they weren’t able to get rich, but they’d be able to make a living.”
But in many areas, teachers can’t even do that, citing the rural areas of Arizona as examples.
“As we know, as families grow and as kids become older, you’ve got to be able to save for the security of your own family, while you’re educating the children of other families,” he said.
The other two “legs” of the stool, he explained, are the overuse of standardized test scores and the teacher evaluation process itself, even calling the state’s current education system “dysfunctional” and “not sustainable.”
“Arizona is a choice-rich state — more options for how we education our students, public and private, than any other state in the country — and what do 85 percent of parents in Arizona choose to do every year? Send their students to their neighborhood district public schools,” he said. “Why is that not the choice that we are then honoring with public policy? Why is that not the choice that we are investing our dollars in?”
Despite his frustration, Morrill was quick to point out that he views the Arizona Legislature as an ally, not an adversary.
“We need to see the Legislature not as an enemy…but as a partner that has yet to come around,” he said. “They play an important role…in creating systems that encourage good teachers to stay in the classroom.”
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- ‘Supernatural’ TV show convention comes to Arizona
- Jan Brewer thinks Paul Penzone will have tough time beating Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Mac & Gaydos joined by Burmese python after losing March Madness bet
- Mac and Gaydos deliver pizzas to winning class in REDucation contest
- Civil rights activist wants Phoenix-area NAACP boss to step down after incident