Our public schools are still missing $800 million a year in funding compared to 2008 levels, contributing to a teacher shortage that has left 1,500 teaching positions unfilled this year. Far too many Arizona children learn in classrooms without highly qualified teachers, in buildings with roofs that leak or air conditioning that doesn’t work.
After years of demanding more funding for education and not being heard, 80,000 teachers walked out at the end of April. When the walkout started, the movement presented 5 demands:
- Immediately restore education funding to 2008 levels
20% salary increase for teachers to create competitive pay with neighboring states
Competitive pay for all education support professionals
Permanent teacher salary structure, which includes annual raises
No new tax cuts until per-student funding reaches the national average
Although the walkout resulted in some additional funding for education, the five demands were not met, and at the beginning of May, teachers and education advocates decided to take the issue to the ballot . Over the course of just a few weeks, teachers, parents and education supporters gathered 270,000 signatures.
Then, in August, the State Supreme Court abruptly removed #INVESTinED from the ballot in an unprecedented decision. Governor Doug Ducey had expanded the court from 5 justices to 7 just a few years before.
Enough is enough. We’re ready to hold accountable the politicians that have blocked efforts to restore funding to Arizona’s schools over and over again. We’re asking candidates for governor, state superintendent and the state legislature to sign a pledge committing to meet the five #REDforED demands. From there, it’s up to us to knock doors, make phone calls and ensure that the candidates who sign are the ones elected on November 6th.