Arizona’s illegal week-long teacher strike—just one of a wave of public employee strikes across the country—has come to an end. None too soon for the state’s parents.
On our blog, we’ve been sharing the experiences of some of the parents and students who’ve suffered from these strikes—and of conscientious teachers who wanted to work, but weren’t allowed to by school districts that were encouraging and participating in the strike.
One teacher, who is also a parent, told us her daughter was in tears over the strike. She’s due to graduate high school, and her next stop is Navy boot camp, where she’ll begin training to serve her country. Those plans might be derailed, though, because schools have announced that they may delay graduation due to the illegal strike.
“Here’s someone who’s willing to give her life for us,” her mom said. But that didn’t matter to district officials who chose to close schools across the state in order to demand more money from the legislature. “This really hasn’t been for the children.”
This is just one of the many stories we’ve heard about pain the teacher strike has wrought on children and parents across Arizona. They’re the collateral damage in this movement by government employees who, dissatisfied with the decisions of the lawfully elected government, chose to break the law by shutting down the state’s school system until they got their way.
Late on Thursday, the Arizona legislature approved a budget to address the issue of teacher pay, spending an additional $500 million in schools this year, and more than $1 billion over the next four years, on top of the more than $7 billion per year they were already spending. This decision set in motion a resolution to the strike, but just because schools are set to open does not mean that this problem is over. Though more taxpayer dollars will now flow to districts, how that money is spent—salaries, and so forth—remains a decision made at the local level, not the state level.
But it’s not just parents and students who have been suffering. Just as bad is the experience of honest, hardworking teachers who wanted to do their jobs, weren’t allowed to, and now must pay the unfair price of their districts’ malfeasance.
“I keep asking the same question,” one of them told us. “What are the children being taught with this?”
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