Opinion: Two years ago, I opposed Invest in Education. Here’s why I’ve changed my mind.
Marisol Garcia, an eighth-grade social studies teacher in the Isaac School District and vice president of the Arizona Education Association, stands by boxes containing the 435,669 signatures for the InvestInEd ballot initiative that were turned in at the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office at the state Capitol in Phoenix on July 2, 2020. (Photo: David Wallace/The Republic)
Here, finally, is where the rubber meets the road for Arizona’s children.
Should we raise taxes to boost funding for public schools? Or is the state’s current investment in their (and our) future good enough?
Supporters of Proposition 208 will tell you that it’s time, finally, to Invest in Education.
As long as we can do it with someone else’s money.
Opponents of Proposition 208 will tell you that if voters raise taxes on the richest among us, Arizona’s economy will make like a tumbleweed and bounce off into the sunset.
So what to do?
Arizona students have been the losers
There’s no doubt that Arizona’s children have been the losers over the last decade.
A generation of kids has come and gone since our leaders slashed funding for schools. When the Great Recession eased, our governor and Legislature opted to cut corporate taxes rather than restore funding to public education.
The result has been schools that are falling apart, textbooks that are woefully outdated and overcrowded classes taught by under qualified teachers.
Gov. Doug Ducey’s 20by2020 plan to raise teacher pay — a plan brought forth only after tens of thousands of fed-up educators were taking to the streets — was a start. But it was only a start given the magnitude of damage done over the last decade.
Despite those raises, Arizona teacher pay remains