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Save Our Schools Arizona
Weekly Education Report

56th Legislature, 1st General Session
Volume 5, Issue 43• Week of October 30, 2023

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AZ’s Teacher Pay Gap 2nd Worst in the US

Arizona’s teacher pay gap is the 2nd largest in the nation, behind only Colorado,  according to a recent analysis from the Economic Policy Institute. In 2022 Arizona teachers earned 33% less than their peers in comparable professions. This is the worst gap since 1960, and fully one-third less than other college-educated workers.  

The report highlights that Arizona’s teacher pay gap has deteriorated in the last 2 years, snowballing the state’s teacher retention crisis. The Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association reported in September that nearly 6,000 Arizona classrooms serving more than 150,000 kids lack a qualified teacher. As the EPI report notes, these massive impacts are directly driving teachers out of the classroom, precipitating a recruitment emergency. 

“Teachers have one of the most consequential jobs in the country — they have the future of the U.S. in front of them every day. But teaching is becoming a less appealing career choice for new college graduates. Providing teachers with compensation commensurate with that of other similarly educated and experienced professionals is necessary to retain and attract qualified workers into the profession.”

The Economic Policy Institute is clear — the only solution is to invest in public education: “A world-class public educational system cannot be accomplished without the best and the brightest heading our classrooms. And it cannot be done on the cheap.” 

Axios reports that the teacher pay gap has hit its widest level since 1960.

How can you help? If your school district has  a K-12 funding measure (bond, override, or budget continuation) on the ballot, vote YES and put it in the mail by this Tuesday, October 31. Otherwise, you’ll have to return your ballot to a voting center in or before Nov. 7. Check to see whether your local district is going out for a K-12 funding measure HERE

Arizona’s teacher pay gap is the 2nd largest in the nation, behind only Colorado,  according to a recent analysis from the Economic Policy Institute. In 2022 Arizona teachers earned 33% less than their peers in comparable professions. This is the worst gap since 1960, and fully one-third less than other college-educated workers.  

The report highlights that Arizona’s teacher pay gap has deteriorated in the last 2 years, snowballing the state’s teacher retention crisis. The Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association reported in September that nearly 6,000 Arizona classrooms serving more than 150,000 kids lack a qualified teacher. As the EPI report notes, these massive impacts are directly driving teachers out of the classroom, precipitating a recruitment emergency. 

“Teachers have one of the most consequential jobs in the country — they have the future of the U.S. in front of them every day. But teaching is becoming a less appealing career choice for new college graduates. Providing teachers with compensation commensurate with that of other similarly educated and experienced professionals is necessary to retain and attract qualified workers into the profession.”

The Economic Policy Institute is clear — the only solution is to invest in public education: “A world-class public educational system cannot be accomplished without the best and the brightest heading our classrooms. And it cannot be done on the cheap.” 

Axios reports that the teacher pay gap has hit its widest level since 1960.

How can you help? If your school district has  a K-12 funding measure (bond, override, or budget continuation) on the ballot, vote YES and put it in the mail by this Tuesday, October 31. Otherwise, you’ll have to return your ballot to a voting center in or before Nov. 7. Check to see whether your local district is going out for a K-12 funding measure HERE

Upcoming Events!

Yuma Rural Action Summit – November 4 – Mark “Going” HERE!

Get Plugged In!

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Have you signed the AZ Loves Public Schools Pledge yet? Be part of our growing community of public school supporters, sign the pledge and then share with your friends! Also check out our map of Arizona’s public school supporters and help us fill it in!

Don’t forget to join us on social media. Pick your favorite(s) and join us for fun, engaging content!! This is where we post important updates, key news articles, and informative graphics and videos you can’t get anywhere else.

K-12 Roundup

Monday, Gov. Hobbs announced the appointment of current Corporation Commissioner and former Tolleson teacher Anna Tovar to the State Board of Education. Like other Hobbs appointees, Tovar must be approved by the full State Senate but can serve for up to a year while awaiting approval. Unlike other nominees who had to suffer through fake elector and MAGA troll farm manager Jake Hoffman’s Director Nominations Committee first, Tovar will be vetted by the Senate Education Committee.   

Tovar describes herself as a “champion of the public school system” – so we know she will fiercely advocate for Arizona’s 1.1 million public school students. 

Voucher Watch

South Carolina: Public education advocates are taking a stand against the state’s newly passed private school voucher program. The South Carolina Education Association has filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court, arguing that the voucher program violates South Carolina’s constitution — which explicitly states that no public funds should be “used for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.”

South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP President Brenda Murphy said in a statement announcing the lawsuit, “It is unacceptable to send public dollars to schools that discriminate against children and families. In addition to violating our state constitution, we know that vouchers exacerbate school segregation, harm educational outcomes and undermine our public schools.”

It is worth noting that while South Carolina’s program is similar to Arizona’s, it is exclusive to families with incomes up to 200% of the poverty level. Arizona’s program is open to even the highest income bracket and requires students to relinquish any disability or public school rights. This extreme position blocks even the minimum financial or academic accountability. 

Around the Horne

This week, Superintendent Horne announced dubious new claims that his department has conducted data analysis proving that English immersion is superior to dual language programs – despite numerous studies that show otherwise.

At the State Board of Education, Horne presented a brief slideshow that claimed schools with dual language programs had lower rates of students achieving English fluency than schools with English-only programs. CBS 5 News Arizona’s Family asked for a copy of Supt. Horne’s data analysis, but did not receive a response from the department. Horne’s analysis fails to acknowledge the fact that while students in dual language programs may be slower to reach fluency than students in English immersion, by the end of elementary school, they are equally proficient as students in English-only programs, do not fall behind in other subjects, and tend to retain their native language better. 

In a strikingly ironic example of projection, Supt. Horne claims that “those advocating dual language are focused an ideology [sic], rather than what is academically best for students.”

Public School Proud!

Check out some incredible pictures and stories from across the state that make us #PublicSchoolProud!

Thompson Ranch Elementary School in Dysart got a special visit from Donovan McNabb, former quarterback from the Philadelphia Eagles. McNabb and his wife Roxi visited with students and spoke to the whole school about the importance of having confidence in yourself.

Students in Queen Creek put on their Halloween best to celebrate the district’s Boo Bash. The Queen Creek Fire and Police departments even showed up to join in the spooky fun.

Trees, Trees, Trees! (x11) Students, families, and staff at JB Sutton Elementary School planted 33 trees as a part of Isaac School District’s Community Tree Planting Initiative. Those trees will provide shade for thousands of students in the future.

Upcoming Events!

Yuma Rural Action Summit – November 4 – Mark “Going” HERE!

Get Plugged In!

Have you signed the AZ Loves Public Schools Pledge yet? Be part of our growing community of public school supporters, sign the pledge and then share with your friends! Also check out our map of Arizona’s public school supporters and help us fill it in!

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Don’t forget to join us on social media. Pick your favorite(s) and join us for fun, engaging content!! This is where we post important updates, key news articles, and informative graphics and videos you can’t get anywhere else.

1000 Strong for Public Education

We’re excited to announce 1000 Strong for Public Education, a Save Our Schools Arizona Network campaign to demonstrate the overwhelming support for public education in communities across Arizona. 

We’re asking 1,000 people to make a meaningful financial investment in our work by the beginning of 2024. All fully tax deductible gifts go directly to our largest budget expense — our people, who live and work in the communities they organize. Every dollar helps!

DONATE HERE TO BECOME A CHARTER MEMBER

Thank you for helping us work toward a future where a high-quality, fully-funded public education is available to all Arizona students.

Join Team SOSAZ!

Sign up for a Community Action Team: East Valley, West Valley & North Phoenix, Scottsdale & Paradise Valley, Central & South Phoenix, Northern Arizona, and Southern Arizona! Your local coordinators will help you with using Request to Speak and contacting your lawmakers.

Request an SOSAZ Education Roadshow presentation HERE

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