Protest: Teach­ers back at sta­tion.

The Arizona Republic - - Front Page - Richard Rue­las and Ri­cardo Cano

As 300 teach­ers marched on a side­walk out­side a Phoenix ra­dio sta­tion on Tues­day, Gov. Doug Ducey — who was on the air in­side the sta­tion’s stu­dio — sug­gested the prob­lem with teacher pay was largely one of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Ducey, in his monthly in­ter­view on KTAR-FM (92.3), said he has al­ready boosted teacher pay and ex­pects to pass a bud­get to in­crease it more.

That mes­sage was not get­ting through to teach­ers be­ing egged on to protest as part of a “po­lit­i­cal move­ment,” he ar­gued.

“If (teach­ers) can un­der­stand where we are and where we’re go­ing to go, not only will they see that we re­spect them, but we want them to get higher pay,” the gover­nor said.

Ducey said he wanted teach­ers to “un­der­stand there is a plan.” He said he was “work­ing hard to com­mu­ni­cate, so they can see what the plan is.”

Teach­ers have called on the gover­nor to act on their de­mands for 20 per­cent pay raises and more ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing.

Ducey, in com­ments to re­porters af­ter the on-air in­ter­view, said the in­crease in the amount of money flow­ing to schools un­der his watch has been mis­re­ported or un­der­re­ported. He said there had been a 9 per­cent in­crease in dol­lars avail­able for teacher pay since 2015.

That money is the to­tal com­pen­sa­tion for teach­ers, though, which in­cludes fund­ing for hir­ing new teach­ers. Not all of it went to raises.

He also ques­tioned sta­tis­tics that he said wrongly place the state at or near the bot­tom in teacher pay.

“We want to make sure they have the proper in­for­ma­tion,” he said. “They can see what’s go­ing to hap­pen in the fu­ture and the com­mit­ment that we have for teacher pay.”

Ducey said he met with a group of su­per­in­ten­dents at the Capi­tol on Tues­day, speak­ing with them about way to in­crease the amount of money flow­ing to teach­ers.

The gover­nor said he would be will­ing to speak with other de­ci­sion mak­ers to help solve the ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing prob­lem. But, he said, he was not in­ter­ested in meet­ing with those in­volved in the #Red­ForEd move­ment.

“What I don’t want to do is get into these po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tives’ po­lit­i­cal cir­cus,” he said on the air.

Ducey said the or­ga­niz­ers of #Red­ForEd, on the day of their first protest “en­dorsed my po­ten­tial po­lit­i­cal opp for gover­nor.

“Why would I sit down with some­one who wants to play games?” he said.

Af­ter the in­ter­view, Ducey clar­i­fied. He said the #Red­ForEd move­ment was be­ing led by a po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tive, seem­ing to ref­er­ence Noah Karvelis, a 23year-old mu­sic teacher in Tolle­son.

Karvelis is the cam­paign man­ager for Kathy Hoff­man, a Demo­crat run­ning for Su­per­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic In­struc­tion.

#Red­ForEd (also known as Ari­zona Ed­u­ca­tors United) is non­par­ti­san and lead­ers have said it will not en­dorse any po­lit­i­cal can­di­dates.

On the first day of the #Red­ForEd protest, the pres­i­dent of the Ari­zona Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, Joe Thomas, held a news con­fer­ence en­dors­ing David Gar­cia, who is run­ning as a Demo­crat for gover­nor.

Ducey seemed to con­flate the two. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the teach­ers’ union and the #Red­ForEd move­ment said the an­nounce­ments were co­in­ci­den­tal and en­tirely sep­a­rate from the other.

Nei­ther Karvelis nor Hoff­man was at the news con­fer­ence where the AEA en­dorsed Gar­cia.

At the time of the union’s en­dorse­ment of Gar­cia, Karvelis was at school teach­ing. Hoff­man has not en­dorsed any can­di­date for gover­nor.

Out­side the ra­dio sta­tion Tues­day, teach­ers — who have said they are plan­ning a “long-term” school walk­out —paused their march­ing to lis­ten to the gover­nor’s in­ter­view. There were some sar­cas­tic laughs at Ducey’s an­swers.

Some shook their heads in dis­ap­proval when they heard the gover­nor’s re­marks that much of the move­ment has been spurred by po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tives.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.