Some tragic facts for anyone who cares about the quality of our public education system in Arizona: this year 1,328 teaching positions (18.4% of those posted) remained vacant four weeks into the school year; another 2,491 positions (34.4% of those posted) were filled by teachers not meeting standard professional requirements. Incredibly, that’s over half of all positions posted this year (52.8%), and the students they were aimed to serve, in substandard condition.

Luckily, here in FUSD where I am honored to teach, our community has chosen to support us where the state falls pathetically short. Our bonds and overrides and the significant revenue they bring have kept the teacher shortage crisis at bay — coupled with our desirable quality of life. But the crisis is howling outside the door. Meanwhile, the legislature and Governor Ducey approved a whopping $40 million in “results-based” funding this school year, and guess where it goes? To the schools that are already doing well on standardized tests, and thus do not need additional support!

If we had elected leaders that actually cared about a quality public education for ALL students, they might have done something like this instead: provided a $10,000 signing bonus for any position still unfilled one week into the school year, and then spent the rest of the money providing significant professional development for underqualified staff so they could better meet the needs of their students.

Once again, our legislative majority has failed our students. We should turn the tables in November 2018.

 

DEREK BORN

Flagstaff

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