Elvia Diaz: Teachers everywhere should unapologetically seek competitive salaries to save themselves and the profession.
No one can blame opportunists for luring low-paid Arizona teachers to their ranks.
In fact, we must welcome them shamelessly advertising in Arizona for better-paying teaching jobs elsewhere in the wake of the recent massive walkout.
Why? Because fighting for good instructors is one way of rescuing a profession deemed irrelevant by those in charge of funding it.
It’s an opportunity they can’t pass up
The Fort Worth Independent School District has five digital billboards in Phoenix advertising its teacher salary of $52,000 – thousands more than Arizona’s average pay.
Let me be clear. I don’t want Arizona to lose any good teachers. And the competition is not just from Texas but other neighboring states like Nevada, New Mexico and California.
But district officials in Texas saw an opportunity in Arizona, and they’re taking it.
Last month, Arizona teachers stunned everyone with their audacity to walk out in a state that abhors any type of organized labor. Equally impressive is the fact that they got a Republican governor to cave to their 20-percent pay raise demand.
It’s true that not every teacher will get that kind of raise under Gov. Doug Ducey’s spending plan. But it’s huge that they got an anti-labor, Republican-controlled state government to take a walkout seriously.
Take higher pay to save the profession
Neither this year’s budget nor a proposed income tax increase will raise enough cash to significantly boost teacher pay. Joanna All hands, opinion columnist
Teachers walked out because they’re fed up with Arizona’s disdain to invest in K-12 education. A one-time gesture isn’t going to cut it.
It’ll take a massive investment of public dollars to get Arizona out from near the bottom of the list of states with lowest spending per pupil.
It’ll take a transformational attitude toward public education to shell out the necessary tax dollars. And because that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon, teachers everywhere should unapologetically seek competitive salaries to save themselves and the profession.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT #iBELIEVE