Letter | Still #RedforEd
I’m still wearing red and fighting for full funding of our public schools. I am tired, I am frustrated, and I need support.
• I need support from my colleagues to remind me that we are fighting for students, today’s students and tomorrow’s students.
• I need support from my administration to remind me that I am fighting for something bigger than Kingman. I am fighting for the future of Arizona and a strong job base for everyone.
• I need support from parents in the community to remind me that they see the fight, and know that it is bigger than a few unexpected days away from school.
I need this support, I’m getting this support, and it is what keeps me going.
Yes, this educator walk out created difficulties for everyone. For parents, for educators, for administrators, and especially for students.
All of our students need predictable schedules and structure. That is why #RedForEd started with demonstrations outside of school hours, asked for meetings with Gov. Doug Ducey, gave the legislature six days from the time the walkout was announced until it happened. We were hoping they would move on something so that educators didn’t have to walk out. Instead, the Arizona State Legislature and Gov. Ducey did nothing productive during that week. I watched the news, tracked the legislative activity, contacted my representatives, posted my opinion on the Request to Speak application ... nothing.
So we marched to the Capitol on Thursday, April 26. How did the Arizona Legislature respond? Did they stay in session through the weekend to work on a budget? Did they open their offices to meet with their constituents? No, they left for the weekend.
Our state is in the middle of a crisis and the legislature left. They walked out on the citizens of Arizona who elected them.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time they have walked out on us. They walked out when they cut funding to public schools, then cut taxes for corporations. They walked out when they expanded vouchers to take public money out of public schools. They walked out when they didn’t restore funding to public schools after promising they would.
Many have asked, why aren’t educators meeting with legislators? Why are they taking such extreme action? Shouldn’t this be more diplomatic and less explosive? The reality is: we have met with legislators, the governor, the past two or three governors, and superintendents of public instruction. We have cautiously believed their promises and waited for them to deliver, only to see those promises broken time after time.
I have talked with many educators who have said, “I would rather be at school. I want to be with my students. Instead, I am here, fighting for the basic needs of my students … funding for their education and generations to come.” This is not a fight for educators only. We need everyone involved. Help us spread the truth about school funding. You can start by attending a seminar Friday at noon in the Cerbat Room of KRMC. AZED 101, a volunteer, non-partisan and non-political group, will present factual information on the state of educational funding, how we got here and what we can do to change it. Please RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/242709216297055/.
This is a test of our endurance. Whether you were ready for it or not, the fight is here. We have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, doing the next right thing and making the best decisions we can with the information we have at the moment. Will everyone agree … no. Will everyone like what is done or how it is done … no. But what we cannot do is quit. We are fighting for the future of Kingman, Arizona.