In the educational journey I have experienced both as a graduate student and as a single parent of two kids, ages 10 and 12, I have learned so much. Also, from the research I did through the Change Youth Project , I learned much about the demographics of our students. Both of my parents were teachers. My late father was a public school teacher/principal for 39 years and my late mother was a teacher for 16 years. I heard all the crazy and wonderful stories of teaching through the eyes of my parents. Despite their example, I had challenges, dropping out of school, and being a directionless youth for 11 years, until I shocked my entire circle of family and friends, by joining the United States Military in 2001. What I have learned over all these years is simple. Parents need options and vouchers to give their kids the best education that they possibly can. Some object to school choice, but more parents are beginning to see the value as they experience the battles between the teachers’ unions and the federal government. I believe each student is entitled to a good education, and I believe that should include choice. We can no longer rely on the public school system to be the only option to educate our kids, because the public school system has become a political tool for the Democrat Party and Unions, who have decided to abandon the values set forth by the Constitution.
Arizona teachers joined a national movement called Red For Ed, which was a movement to advocate for increasing teachers’ pay and school funding, but this soon became a political movement designed to turn Arizona from Red to Blue. The worst part of the Arizona teachers’ strike was that it has placed students in the middle of this debate. I believe this was the wrong move, and it has become a huge issue for parents who had to miss work or take leave. Some people lost pay and some, their jobs. When you are advocating for something, rule number one is you do not damage the people‘s lives when you are trying to gain their support. In due time, the teachers strike was over, Governor Doug Ducey offered to give Teachers a 20% raise and, in addition, had also given school districts more funding for improvements to facilities, operations and classrooms. The teachers received what was offered to them before their teachers strike, many wondered why they went on strike in the first place. To the teachers’ credit, they do have a point. Many teachers are overwhelmed because most are playing at least two roles in the classrooms, acting as teacher and parents. This is unacceptable. Teachers should not be playing a parenting role with our kids. One of the things I do at the beginning of the school year is I properly introduce myself to my kids’ teachers. I share with them that I want to partner with them. I will take care of the parenting role at home, and when they have a need, they should call me and I will address any issues or concerns with my kids. They have a partner with me in helping my kids to achieve success in the classrooms and to empower them to success to reaching their full potential.
“…parents who have joined the Purple for Parents movement, quite honestly just wanted to see improvement in our educational and curriculum standards.”
In the process of this debate, another movement to counter the Red for Ed Movement, was started called Purple for Parents. This movement was created to educate our parents, to demand teachers not indoctrinate our kids with left wing political agendas, also to hold school boards accountable for the budgeting of our school funding, and to make sure that our funds are allocated in the correct manner and not used unwisely. Many parents who have joined the Purple for Parents movement, quite honestly just wanted to see improvement in our educational and curriculum standards. The educational debate has left out this very important topic. It has been only about raising teachers‘pay and more funding for the students, and I hear the Red for Ed Movement saying we are doing this for the teachers. This is the wrong attitude! We should be doing this for the kids. I don’t agree with Governor Doug Ducey giving these teachers 20% raises. I would like a return on my investment. That could take the form of better statistics for our State of Arizona, which ranks very poorly. We need better curriculum, and better teaching in the classroom. We need better teaching for our students that isn’t based on a political agenda. That would be a good start. In my opinion, the teachers’ strike was handled very poorly though I believe our governor negotiated in good faith. The teachers do have a good point, because I believe more teachers are playing multiple roles in the classrooms, both teacher and parents, and this is an issue which must be solved on the home front if our kids are going to win in life.
Our students should never have been put into the middle of this debate and used as tools to push a political agenda. Teachers certainly do not help their cause by disenfranchising parents.This situation has only clarified what I don’t like about education in Arizona. We must do better as a community. The Purple for Parents Movement has grown tremendously, and I see it continuing to grow as parents too want their voices to be heard loud and clear. Purple for Parents is a great group to join for seeking long term solutions for our kids.