In your recent State of the State address, you implied that there were problems with our state’s teacher certification process. You argued that well-known citizens such as Sandra Day O’Connor should not be required to go through the same educational process as other Arizona teachers.
I don’t believe that anything with teacher qualification needs to be fixed. If the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor wants to teach civics, she should go through the same qualification that all teachers have to go through. Rather than changing our certification system, it is critical that we change how we pay our teachers.
Pay Them What They Deserve
If you value something, you pay a higher price for it. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Arizona educators. Instead, teachers in our state are paid nearly lowest in the nation – averaging at 49th of the 50 states for pay. Many of our state’s property owner and taxpayers don’t want to pay for this valuable service. Many retirees feel that they’ve done their part in another state; one that outranks Arizona in teacher pay and performance.
Arizona has become a revolving door for teachers because of low pay. Teachers work here for a year or two and then move on to another state that pays more. Why would you want to bring in more teachers? Pay the ones you have higher wages and they will stay, and Arizona will be able to keep great teachers here for the long haul.
It has been said that a society truly reveals what it values most by how it prioritizes the sufficient funding of its most vital programs. A thriving education system is a central bedrock of a prosperous, flourishing society.
Currently, Arizona is 49th out of the 50 states in teacher salary pay, and it is last in capital funding per student spending. What does that say about whether our state values education?
It is critical to focus on actions, not words. Words are only words until there are actions to fulfill them. Governor Ducey, if you truly value education for the children of Arizona as you claim, then you must adequately pay teachers for the indispensable value they provide to all of our students.