Arizona is taking a lot of heat over this new immigration law, and deservedly so, but as a teacher, I'm more concerned about what this state is doing to public education. Last year the education budget was cut 14%, and this year schools are being forced to cut another 10%, possibly more. On May 18, the state will vote on a sales tax measure to increase the sales tax by 1 cent, for a restricted three year period. It is estimated the increase would raise 1 billion dollars a year, which could be used for public education and other severely cut social service programs. If the measure doesn't pass, it will mean further dracoian cuts to education. Drastic steps, like eliminating high school sports, are seriously being considered if voters shoot down the sales tax increase. Quite frankly, I'm not expecting the measure to pass.
I'm a teacher, I don't need to tell anyone where I stand on crazy shit like this. It's disheartening to work in a state that already spends less money on education than any other state in the union, and wants to cure its budget woes by depriving children of a quality education. My daughters attend one of the top public elementary schools in Tucson, but budget cuts are sucking the life out of the place. The librarian was cut last year, but luckily parent volunteers stepped up to keep the library open. There's no band/orchestra this year, no PE, it's very bare bones, and now we have to cut more. Projections for next year are so bad, I was joking with the principal that he'll be answering phones next year.
Apparently, eliminating positions isn't enough. There's a very good chance those of us left standing are going to have our salaries cut, anywhere from 2% to 4.2%. Of course, with all the cuts, you can bet class size will go up, which means teacher workloads will increase. I know, I know, lots of people are working more for less these days, join the club. That doesn't mean I have to like it. Sometimes you gotta vent.