Montini: Is Ducey in denial over teacher pay?
Is Gov. Doug Ducey in denial over poor teacher pay in Arizona?
Or is it worse than that?
Is he more worried about himself and his career than he is of your children?
After all, the news is out there. Arizona teachers are the poorest paid educators in the nation.
Does everyone know this but Ducey?
Perhaps a clever politician like Ducey could make an argument, by way of a decimal point here or a cost of living situation there, that our teachers are not dead last.
Just near the bottom.
The very, very bottom.
Why does Ducey keep trying to deny the situation is really bad?
He was exposed by 12News reporter Joe Dana recently for equivocating, distorting and pretty much misrepresenting the financial situation of Arizona teachers.
12News does a little checking
For example, Dana checked out something said on KTAR radio.
The governor said, “If you index where we are with teachers right now to, to cost of living, there are people who will tell you we are at 29 right now. The way people play with statistics and numbers so they can drive their agenda is just something you have to deal with.”
Not mincing words, Dana and 12News researched that contention and declared it “false.”
A Ducey spokesman later admitted, “He (the governor) may have misspoke.”
In addition, Ducey said on the radio, “I’ve had teachers come up, grab me by the arm and said ‘thank you.’ I said ‘what are you thanking me for?’ They’ve had a $10,000 raise. I’ve had other teachers who have not had a raise in the last three years.”
Dana could not verity that, either.
Neither could Arizona School Boards Association or The Arizona Educators Association.
Joe Thomas, president of the AEA, said, “Did he (Ducey) tell you about the unicorn he saw as well?”
I understand why Ducey would like to believe teachers are doing great.
He’s up for reelection.
But these are people upon whom we already place WAY more responsibility than simply teaching. And we want to add more.
The governor wants parents to believe that the professional educators teaching their children are well compensated and fully committed to their work. But that is a difficult thing for teachers to do when they are having trouble making ends meet. When they’re overcome with concern for taking care of their own families.
Teachers are already in the red
Arizona lawmakers have been taking advantage of the dedication of public school teachers for decades, and the teachers – bless them – have hung in there for the most part, in spite of the budget cuts and the lousy pay. Because they really do care about children.
They wore red this week to express concern about their low wages.
I’d guess you haven’t see any of them going out of their way to hug Ducey.
And for good reason.
Are you SEEING red?
As one teacher told me, “Wearing red, to me, was a physical manifestation of my financial situation. My low pay and expenses put me, literally, in the red.”
A governor who tries to soft soap that situation, or outright deny it, should have voters seeing red.
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