Kingman educators participate in state-wide walk-in movement

KINGMAN – Local educators joined others from across the state and participated in a walk-in movement to bring awareness to the various teaching conditions and the low funding in education.

Teachers from Lee Williams High School, the Positive Alternative Campus, Manzanita Elementary, Kingman Academy of Learning High School, and other schools in the area represented the #RedforEd movement locally. They stood in front of their schools with signs bringing awareness to the education crisis in the state.

Some teachers with over 10 years of experience expressed their concern about the pay they receive as educators.

Pam Cochran, special education teacher at LWHS, has been an educator for more than 30 years and holds a master’s degree, but makes about $35,000 a year.

“We’re just trying to let people know that it’s a travesty that Arizona does not pay their teachers better, that they don’t fund education better,” Cochran said.

Some teachers have had to hold second jobs for financial support.

Nancy Diaz, a second grade teacher at Manzanita Elementary School, has been a teacher in the Kingman Unified School district for 29 years and is one of the many teachers that has to hold additional employment.

“I’ve had second jobs almost the entire time I’ve been teaching to help out, make ends meet and to be able to buy stuff for my classroom,” Diaz said.

Roger Jacks, superintendent of KUSD, stood alongside the teachers at Manzanita Elementary school to support his educators.

“Education is so important to our state and something we have to make a priority in our state,” Jacks said.

Students supported their teachers and the future of their education.

Brayson Brock, a senior at KAHS, convinced students to join in the movement by encouraging them to tweet #RedforEd and to wear red on Wednesdays.

“It’s important because teachers don’t get paid enough and there’s not enough education funding,” Brock said.

Mmany of the textbooks students use are torn and taped together and some teachers even work at Mohave Community College, Brock added.

“We’ve seen a lot of teachers come in and directly get out,” he said. “They want to give the best to us.”

Teachers at this point are emphasizing the need to increase the budget.

Kristi Grasser, a special education teacher at KAHS, is concerned about the future of education for the students of Arizona.

“It’s not even about the teacher pay raise at this point, it’s about raising the budget,” she said.

Teachers are standing up in order to provide their students with supplies, materials, and a good quality education. Teachers are also hoping to be met somewhere in the middle.

Grasser said teachers want smaller class sizes, personnel to take care of specialized areas so teachers can focus on teaching.

“The classroom and the students, that’s the future. Not only of our nation, but the state of Arizona,” Grasser said.