Opinion

Gillis: Solving Arizona’s teacher problem

Posted 11/29/22

I am writing this letter as a person that volunteered for 25 years in K-12 classrooms and who believes that education is one of the three key columns on which a healthy democracy requires support.

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Opinion

Gillis: Solving Arizona’s teacher problem

Posted

I am writing this letter as a person that volunteered for 25 years in K-12 classrooms and who believes that education is one of the three key columns on which a healthy democracy requires support.

Arizona loses its best teachers, and teachers in general, to other states because our teachers’ salaries are the lowest in the nation. Our libertarian, conservative society is proud of its extremely low property and income taxes.

However, our taxes are so low that the education system is starved of funds and cannot accommodate reasonable salaries for teachers. That, in turn, results in an inferior K-12 education system rated the lowest in the nation.

One of the reasons manufacturers tell me that they will not establish operations in Arizona is that they would not be able to staff their companies with qualified, educated employees.

This crisis will continue to pervade Arizona’s education and employment systems because its citizens are proud of their low income and property taxes, not realizing that the financial benefit they enjoy means that Arizona will never be able to attract/retain teachers, let alone great teachers.

It is not working conditions, it is salaries. This is an extremely important problem in Arizona and we need to focus on the real causal factors.

Arizona teachers, Harvey Gillis, opinion