Arizona Teachers Will Kick Your Ass, GOP

That right there is the latest march of thousands of teachers in a Republican-run state. As many figured would happen after West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, the teachers in Arizona have told the GOP-led legislature and Republican governor that their pay sucks, their schools suck, and it's gotta fuckin' change. Teachers are leaving Arizona in droves to go to surrounding states where they at least attempt to pay teachers like they're the people who educate our fucking children. At the start of this year, of 8600 vacant teaching jobs, 62% were either unfilled or filled by unqualified substitutes.

Like in every other state led by the savage servants of the rich, Arizona Republicans have passed years of tax cuts, mostly for corporations and the wealthy. And, fuckin' yeah, it's the Republicans. They've controlled the Arizona state government in totality since 2009. They've controlled the legislature for years. And these dumb shitkickers really thought that cutting taxes would bring in companies and jobs, and guess the fuck what? Like in every other state that's tried it, it didn't fuckin' work.

Meanwhile, to make up for the hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue, guess the fuck what they cut? Yeah, education (among other things that help, you know, people). The budget for repair and construction on schools? Fuck that. That's been cut $2 billion since 2009 when, as mentioned just up there, the GOP took over the entire government. Schools had to increase class sizes, cut staff and programs, and a total of $4.5 billion has been cut from schools since 2009. Oh, and teacher salaries have been stagnant. So, yeah, they're on a fuckin' strike.

50,000 people showed up in Phoenix today to march on the state capitol in over 90 degree heat. In fact, the march had to be cut short because people were dropping from heat exhaustion. 75% of Arizona's schools are closed today, and that's 820,000 students, a bunch of whom joined their teachers on the march.

Now, the governor is proposing a 20% pay raise over three years, but the legislature is unsure how to fund it. But the teachers don't just want the pay raise. At the rally after the march, teachers talked about schools with no computers, rusted out desks, and class sizes that have ballooned to 50 students. They talked about how teachers have to live with their parents because they don't make enough to afford to live on their own.

And even some Republicans are calling for a hike in some taxes to raise Arizona from being 48th in teacher pay and 43rd in per student spending in the nation. A conservative columnist for the Arizona Republic newspaper has proposed a 1-cent sales tax hike (which is obviously something that disproportionately affects the poor and middle class, but at least it's something) and legislation locks in how education is funded. It does go well beyond the pay raise but still doesn't restore all the funding lost.

Tomorrow, the teachers will continue their rally, but legislators have left for the weekend. They claim to be working on something. We'll see if these Republicans can overcome their asshole tendencies to do something to actually help the teachers and the kids of their state.

This teacher uprising is a full-fledged movement, one driven by women, who make up the vast majority of public school teachers. It is a way to say that economic sexism, which devalues jobs that are traditionally done by women, needs to fucking end.

(Note: Over in Colorado, a smaller but still important teacher strike is occurring, too.)