Back to school brings many things: a chance to see familiar faces after a long summer apart; new friends; an opportunity to show off your cool school supplies or best outfit. But this year in Arizona, back to school has brought something else: reminders of why we desperately need #INVESTinED.
After decades in which politicians have catered to corporate interests while willfully ignoring the needs of our children, Arizona ranks nearly last in the country for per-pupil spending. Our state’s chronic disinvestment in education has made itself felt in a thousand ways, large and small, as schools open their doors to begin the new year.
Classroom sizes have ballooned, allowing little time for individual attention — and leaving teachers playing Desk Tetris for the first few weeks of school.
Counselors and other school staff are overwhelmed, with far too few to meet the needs of students as the school year starts.
Teachers spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on supplies in an effort to make their classrooms as inviting and comfortable for students as possible — on salaries that barely cover their own basic expenses.
One purchased this classroom library for her students…
on a salary that comes out to just $386.55 in net pay every two weeks.
And as the school year starts, many students look around to find that a favorite teacher from the year before is missing — they’ve left Arizona to take jobs in other states that pay a livable wage of $10,000–$15,000 more per year.
The Invest in Ed initiative says enough is enough. We can’t wait any longer for corrupt politicians to fix the problem they created. Instead, we’re taking matters into our own hands, by passing an initiative that will bring $690 million into education each year, paid for by an increase in the income tax on the wealthiest 1% of Arizonans. That money can’t be touched by politicians, and it will allow our schools to raise teacher salaries, reduce class sizes, and add valuable support staff like counselors, nurses, and social workers.
Schools are the backbone of our communities, and there’s no time to wait. We need #INVESTinED now!