Daily Archives: April 15, 2018

Declare a win and fight on!

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

This past week, Governor Ducey bowed to pressure from fed-up teachers and public education advocates in releasing a plan to give teachers a 20% pay raise by 2020 and restore District Additional Funding. Although details on funding sources are slim, the Governor has said the plan will not simply redirect money meant for other school needs. He also stipulated the 20% for teacher raises would be added to the base so that it becomes permanent funding our districts and their teachers can count on.

There is, of course, much consternation about how this “sausage” was made. Truth is, discussions between education advocacy organizations have been underway for sometime about the best strategy to fight for teacher salary increases and other funding our districts desperately need. Then, last week, nine GOP legislators collaborated to devise their own plan. As reported on AZCentral.com, it included a 6% pay raise next year, with an increase for five years to a total of 24%. This plan left some education advocates calling it a “shell game” because it included no new money for schools, but a reallocation of available monies. When Governor Ducey got wind of the effort, he called in the legislators, along with several education advocacy organizations, to discuss a solution.

The solution is far from adequate as it still won’t restore our districts to 2008 funding, and doesn’t provide enough money to adequately compensate support staff, or take care of our crumbling facilities and replace capital equipment. If it actually comes to fruition though, it is a big step in the right direction. We should, as representatives from SOS AZ, AZ PTA and the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) have said, “declare a win, a win” and take credit for the effective work we’ve all done to move the Governor to this point. Continue reading

After Prop. 123, ‘we don’t get fooled again’

You can smell desperation coming from the governor’s office on the ninth floor.

Last year Gov. Ducey’s budget gave teachers a 2 percent raise over five years, or put another way, they would get a four-tenths of a percent raise per year over five years.

The legislature eventually settled on one percent last year — this was actually a one-time bonus — and one percent this year, with no promises for future pay raises.

The peasants should be grateful that we gave them anything.”

But now there is a national teachers revolt that has rocked West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and the grassroots educators group #RedForEd in Arizona is threatening a walkout of their own. Arizona teachers demand 20 percent raises, more money for students:

Frustrated and desperate, Arizona educators are demanding 20 percent pay raises to address the state’s teacher crisis and have threatened to take escalated action if state leaders don’t respond with urgency.

Besides the 20 percent teacher raises, educators’ demands are:

  • Restoring state education funding to 2008 levels. Arizona spends $924 less per student in inflation-adjusted dollars today than it did in 2008, according to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Restoring education funding to that level would cost the state about $1 billion.
  • Competitive pay for all education support professionals, such as teachers’ aides and paraprofessionals. Dollar figures for this weren’t specified Wednesday.
  • A “permanent” step-and-lane salary structure in which teachers are guaranteed annual raises and steady advancement in wages.
  • No new tax cuts until the state’s per-pupil funding reaches the national average. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 figures, the most recent available, Arizona spent $7,489 per pupil compared with the national average of $11,392.

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Modern-Day Galileo’s Assemble to March for Science

Science March

Second annual March for Science

For the third time in a month, citizens in the Phoenix’s Valley met and marched for a cause that affects our children and the coming generations. The first two marches dealt with school safety and education funding.

This second annual March for Science dealt with those issues in different ways and more as the assembled crowd of several hundred people at Margaret T. Hance Park (by the Burton Barr Library) gathered to call for an end to ignorance and an embracing of science and analysis for people of all beliefs and ethnicities.

Like Galileo all those centuries ago as he implored the Catholic Church to accept reason and scientific discovery, the speakers and crowd today (which included a collection of high school and college instructors and students, science advocates, and political candidates including both Democrats running for the Superintendent of Public Instruction — Katie Hoffman and David Schapira) made veiled and direct jabs at the current conservative leadership for abandoning reason and fact-based evidence.

science signLike the March for Lives last month at the State Capital, there were many vendors and dignitaries promoting the cause of Scientific Awareness. Virtually every discipline of science ranging from forensics to astronomy to zoology to chemistry was present. There were also vendors representing the Progressive Movement, Save Our Schools, Voter Registration, and “Outlaw Dirty Money” petitioners looking for support against the inflow of dirty money and to fight for alternative energy options in the valley. There were S.T.E.M. camps looking to attract recruits. There were homeschool science advocates.

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CD 8 special election update

Well this is interesting. In the CD 8 special election to replace the disgraced Trent Franks, first-time Democratic candidate Hiral Tipirneni has more popular support from small donors than the GOP candidate bought and paid for by the “Kochtopus,” Debbie Lesko. Hiral Tipirneni outraises Debbie Lesko as Arizona’s CD8 race enters final stage:

Democrat Hiral Tipirneni outraised Republican Debbie Lesko as their race for a vacant Arizona congressional seat entered its final stage, campaign finance records show.

Tipirneni built her modest financial advantage on the strength of small-dollar donors, who collectively provided her with more money than Lesko took in from all individuals.

Lesko closed much of the financial gap by raking in significantly more money from political-action committees and other special interests than Tipirneni, but had relatively little cash as of April 4, the cutoff for the report.

Overall, Tipirneni raised $434,000 from all sources between Feb. 8 and April 4. Lesko raised $367,000 from all sources in the same period. Tipirneni ended the period with $125,000 on hand compared to $54,000 for Lesko.

But Republican groups, who have seen recent GOP losses in Alabama and rural Pennsylvania, have kicked in about $700,000 in outside spending to help boost Lesko in the conservative-leaning district.

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Political Calendar: Week of April 15, 2018

The Political Calendar is posted on Sundays. Please send us notice of your political events prior to the Sunday before your event (7 days would be most helpful). See the calendar icon in the right-hand column of the blog page for easy access to the calendar.

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Political Calendar for the Week of April 15, 2018:

Rally For Science – Tucson

Sunday, April 15, 9:00 a.m.: Rally For Science 2018, at the Demeester Outdoor Performance Center, Reid Park, 920 S. Concert Place, Tucson. March for Science Southern Arizona is having its 2nd annual Rally for Science. Interactive science booths, spectacular speakers, exciting demos, food trucks, more room, better space, and…BETTER PARKING!! Keynote Speaker is Brian Greene. We want your interactive booth exhibits, speakers, and stage-worhty demos! If you’d like to participate in this way, please email Monica Kothe at monicakothe@gmail.com. We also need volunteers! If you’d like to help out, email us at: helpmarchforsciencesaz@gmail.com. For more information see https://www.facebook.com/events/1970385869946364/.

Monday, April 16, Noon: Democrats of Greater Tucson luncheon, Dragon’s View Restaurant (400 N. Bonita, South of St. Mary’s Road between the Freeway and Grande Avenue, turn South at Furr’s Cafeteria). New price: buffet lunch is $10.00 cash, $12 credit; just a drink is $3.50. Featured speaker is Jake Bell, Candidate for AZ Corp Commission, on rural broadband & working class issues. Next Week: AnaKarina Rodriguez of Mi Familia Vota.

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Cartoon of The Week

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