Why I support Red For Ed

Public School teachers in Arizona are on strike today and tomorrow and my daughter has to stay home . This obviously creates some challenges for my wife and me . I am not a fan of my kiddo missing classes – but I readily support this strike !

To get the gravity of the issue – and how long this issue has been left unresolved , look at the picture below that I got from my twitter feed today

First and foremost – the person who has influenced me the most in my life is my late paternal grandfather , who was a history professor . He and many other teachers gave me a launchpad , and I will be forever grateful for that . I want my daughter and other kids to get a similar high quality education .

In 2004, we bought a house in South Phoenix . In 2005 we had our daughter and we quickly realized the local schools were not going to give her an ideal start in life . We moved to Chandler and have been there for the last 13 years . We love the school and support the school and it’s teachers any way we can . And we are one of several families who appreciate and hence contribute to the school system in various ways , financial and otherwise .

Unfortunately our school and a few others are the exception to the rule . Arizona is pretty much bottom of the list nationwide on quality of education . Not surprisingly, the teacher pay for our teachers is not anywhere close to the national median either .

These teachers deserve a lot more . They are not just underpaid – they are quite overworked too . For the type of pay they get – we won’t get the teaching talent to make a difference. That affects my daughter and kids like her . That is not going to prepare these kids for a bright future and it’s short changing the future of our wonderful state .

Teacher pay is not the only issue to tackle here – the school buildings are crumbling , and text books and computers need refreshes .

Legislators and the administration have chocked the public school system for a long time . Educators – and students – have suffered the injustice for too long . The walkout is not a knee jerk reaction . It’s the result of long term neglect .

These teachers have families too and bills to pay . If the government doesn’t show the required compassion, between the pressure from parents and their need to pay bills – they may return to teach against their will and principles . I hope that is not how this ends.

I am absolutely disappointed by some of the commentary I saw online this morning calling for the striking teachers to be fired , accusing that they are looking to be paid like doctors , that public schools should be shut down for good and so on . This is a state that has a business friendly tax structure with plenty of tax cuts . It should be balanced by doing what’s right for the school system .

By all means if the teachers don’t have the right background and skills , let’s address that . I am all for higher quality of teachers – but then let’s treat them fairly . And let’s proactively do this without forcing strikes and loss of school days .

Parents like my wife and I – this is a major difficulty when you have to disrupt work to make arrangements for day care etc , and often at unaffordable costs . It’s natural for parents to feel angry and frustrated – especially since many of us help teachers with volunteer hours , supplies and so on . All I request of them is to show that same support for a bit longer to let the teachers get a fair deal , and direct your anger and frustration at the government we elected . Call your legislators, the administration and anyone else who can help, and voice your support .

I will finish with a question to the teachers – did you think through all this while you voted for your favorite legislators last time ? If you did not – it might be good to introspect and act accordingly next time .


Published by Vijay Vijayasankar

Son/Husband/Dad/Dog Lover/Engineer. Follow me on twitter @vijayasankarv. These blogs are all my personal views - and not in way related to my employer or past employers

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