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AEA Statement on Governor Ducey's State of the State Address

Arizona Educators Say to Governor: Honor the Choice of Arizona’s Parents. No More Cuts to Neighborhood Public Schools!

Phoenix – January 13, 2015 – Public school employees across the state were outraged to hear Governor Doug Ducey say he would look for more ways to reduce funding to public education in his state of the state address on Monday.

“Reducing costs ‘outside the classroom’ means cutting school security officers, bus drivers, librarians, teachers’ aides, nurses, cafeteria workers, crossing guards, and more – these are the people who keep our students healthy and safe and whose services would be eliminated,” says AEA President Andrew F. Morrill. “In disguising cuts as somehow ‘responsible,’ Governor Ducey will leave over a million students in Arizona’s neighborhood public schools further behind.”

Arizona made the deepest cuts to education funding during the recession and is ranked at the bottom of all states in per-pupil spending. In addition, Arizona has the lowest school administrative costs in the nation. Educators urge the governor to restore the over $1 billion in cuts made to our schools and stop reusing the same education and economic policies that have failed our students, this state’s economy, and the citizens of Arizona.

Failed policies have slowed Arizona’s economic growth. More than one-third of the jobs lost in Arizona’s recession have yet to be recovered while most other states have restored the jobs lost and added new jobs. Arizona’s agenda-driven voucher and tuition tax credit schemes have allowed the wealthy to use tax dollars to send their children to private schools, and have drained millions of dollars from neighborhood public schools, the number one choice of parents in Arizona. National studies show that Arizona’s traditional public schools outperform charter schools, yet Governor Ducey’s plan is to expand charters while looking for ways to cut funding to our local district schools across the state. 

In the wake of years of funding cuts, Arizona’s neighborhood schools, the choice of 87% of Arizona parents, struggle to maintain buildings, update technology, prevent large class sizes, and keep quality teachers in the profession. Arizona faces a teacher shortage among the worst the state has ever documented.

“At a time when our state faces an education crisis from massive cuts and an exodus of good teachers, our students deserve better from our state’s leaders,” says Morrill. “Our children deserve a serious commitment from the governor, not more rhetoric. In a state with more choice options than any other, Arizona’s newly elected Governor must commit to honoring and funding the first choice of parents in educating their children.”

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