Andrew TerHark
MesaCC Legend

Teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona have began protests for higher wages in their field. Teachers and support staff in West Virginia went on strike for 10 days, which resulted in schools being closed during the strike.  The reason for the strike was due to teachers being given a 5 percent raise but the state’s legislature only granted a 4 percent raise instead.
In Oklahoma, teachers have been on strike for two days after the Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed a raise, increasing teachers’ pay from 15 to 18 percent. Thousands of teachers, students, and supporters took part in the two day rally at the state’s capitol. On March 28, teachers in Arizona began protests and demanded a 20 percent pay raise.  This was not the only demands they had as they also want the state to restore the funding to what the previous levels were before the recession of 2008.  According to USNews, education funding was $1 billion dollars higher pre-recession than they currently are.

Adjusted for levels due to the cost of living, Arizona’s elementary teachers rank 50th in the nation in their earnings, as the state’s high school teachers rank 49th in the country.  The National Education Association’s data shows that Arizona educators are paid about $47,000 annually, as compared to the national average of approximately $58,000. Upon seeing these number mentioned above, teachers definitely deserve the raise, maybe not the whole 20 percent all at once, but maybe over the span of a few years to balance out the budget if teachers want education funding to reach previous levels prior to the 2008 recession.  Educators put in hours upon hours every week to plan lessons to give their students the best education possible.  I have always believed that teachers are the hardest working individuals in the workforce as they have the future of America in their classrooms. It is hard to imagine the state’s teachers getting the 20 percent raise right now, but there is always room to find common ground when it comes to funding and raises. Support staff also deserve the raise, whether from being an aid in classrooms to specialized staff in special needs classes.

All around, education is an important part of life, and needs to be emphasized. Arizona has been one of the lowest ranked states when it comes to education for years upon years.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is proposing a one percent teacher pay raise, the same that was given last year. People believe that if teachers went on strike, it would not be the best idea considering that teachers sign contracts when they are hired. Upon going on strike, parents would have to scramble to find places to leave their children, or parents would have to take days off from work to take care of their kids.  Teachers have every right to do what they feel is best for themselves and their families. Some teachers in the state barely make enough to live off of, as they have struggles keeping the fridge full throughout the school year and during the summer break.Teaching is a difficult profession as standards of educational material change constantly, therefore requiring educators to adapt to the material that they have to teach, which the most experienced teachers have become highly skilled at.

It is not an easy job, but it a job they love doing, being able to teach and give lessons to the future generations of students. Every teacher you could ask, loves what they do and cherish the time they spend putting together lesson plans. They all love being in the classroom, and do not want to bring the system to a halt with a strike.  It would not be fair to the parents, and especially the students in the classrooms in the event of a strike.  Teachers say if a strike is necessary, they will take action to find a solution that works for everyone.  Teachers love their students, being in the classroom, and love what they do.  They deserve the raise, no matter how big or small the raise may be, there certainly should be some compensation for how hard they work and all the hours of planning, grading, and teaching they put in every day.

Mesa Legend Staff

Mesa Legend Staff

These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.
Mesa Legend Staff

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