Ariel Salk - Reporter:
Red of Ed, a movement of teachers protesting for higher wages, has made it's way to Arizona. I spoke with Breonn Peoples, a student at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College about how this may affect the future for education majors.
Arizona is one of the lowest paying states as far as teacher funding. It's definitely scary especially as college students who don’t really know what the real world is like to know that they might have to go out and work more than one job, it’s to do something they are passionate about, you have to really have your heart in it to be a teacher because it is so low paying. And I know a lot of people are really terrified of graduating and not being able to afford for a place to live and other necessities.
But Gabrielle Altmark, another education major at ASU, isn’t as concerned about the money.
The teachers that are going into education, we’re not here for the salary. So, while it would be nice to be paid more for all the work we do, I think the recognition of what a teacher does for a student is almost more important than the money aspect of it. You go into education knowing what you’re going to make. It’s very, um, you know that salary, you know the medium, so, for you to start blaming other people doesn’t really make sense to me.
Gabrielle points out that there are other ways for teachers to make money.
There are teachers in the field of education that aren’t passionate about their job. They just kind of went in and have lost passion, and those teachers probably should be removed and be replaced with people who are there to help the children with their goals. As a teacher, you have options to work sports, work clubs, and get added stipends to move up. It’s just something you have to work for to, and if aren’t moving forward that’s more on you and you can’t really blame everyone else. You are in control of your own life.
I asked Breonn if she thinks if students graduating with a teaching degree would stay in Arizona
Since the states around us pay so much higher in teacher salary, there isn’t a whole lot of incentive for teachers to stay.
And teachers’ salaries aren’t the only thing on their minds.
Arizona is also one of the lowest for funding per pupil, which means we are spending less on students. So, there are a lot of schools that are really struggling to provide books to their students or to provide programs that are really moving forward, so that’s definitely something that we learn about in our classes here at ASU, and so in order to make those a reality and be able to really practice those, being in Arizona is not always the best option.
Governor Doug Ducey has proposed a plan to slowly increase teacher’s salaries, but is that enough?
It’s only going toward teacher’s salaries, and so that’s not going toward our counselors, and our other school support staff, or to the resources that the students need. The Public really does care about education, and I think you see that a lot in our Red for Ed movement. While we might not have a legislator who thinks education is the most important thing, I think that we have citizens who do.
For The State Press, I'm Ariel Salk reporting.