Category Archives: Activism

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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Rally for Science on April 15

Hope your 2017 taxes for done, so you can show up on April 15 (tax day) at Reid Park to rally for science. Odd world in 2018 that people have to rally for something that is all around us in our daily lives, and a valuable disciple for most everything we do.

“KEYNOTE SPEAKER: BRIAN GREENE!!! (Brian Greene is Professor of Physics & Math at Columbia, & one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists).

Interactive science booths, spectacular speakers, exciting demos, food trucks, more room, better space, and…BETTER PARKING!! That’s right, March for Science Southern Arizona is having its 2nd annual Rally for Science at Reid Park’s DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center on Sunday, April 15, from 9am-12pm.

This event is FREE and open to the public!

WE WANT YOUR INTERACTIVE BOOTH EXHIBITS, SPEAKERS, and STAGE-WORTHY DEMOS! If you’d like to participate in this way, please email Monica Kothe (monicakothe@gmail.com).

We also need VOLUNTEERS! If you’d like to help out, email us at: helpmarchforsciencesaz@gmail.com.”

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Illinois Senate votes to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

In 2017, the state of Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. 38 states are required for ratification.

While the Arizona House voted to recess rather than debate the ERA this week, the Illinois Senate voted to ratify the ERA. Illinois Senate approves federal Equal Rights Amendment, more than 35 years after the deadline:

The Illinois Senate on Wednesday voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, renewing a push from decades ago amid the #MeToo movement to guarantee that rights can’t be denied because of a person’s sex.

The vote came about 36 years after the amendment appeared to die after just 35 states ratified it, three short of what was needed by the 1982 deadline. That means Illinois’ approval could be largely symbolic. Still, advocates have pushed for a “three-state solution,” contending Congress can extend the deadline and the amendment should go into effect if three additional states vote in favor.

Note: First enacted in 1972 by Congress, the ERA legislation required that the measure be ratified by three-fourths of the states (38) within seven years. That deadline was later extended 10 years to 1982. There was federal court litigation over the deadline extension at the time. But the U.S. Constitution contains no time limit for ratification of constitutional amendments. In fact, subsequent to the ERA the 27th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting immediate congressional pay raises was ratified 203 years after its introduction. This called into question the soundness of  earlier federal court decisions on the ERA deadline. It is still a contested legal issue. Congress can also vote to remove the deadline language, and a bill has been introduced to do so.

The amendment passed on a vote of 43-12, with no debate on the Senate floor. It now heads to the House, where sponsoring Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, says he is working to build support but warned it’s far from a “slam-dunk.” The House and Senate each have voted in favor in the past, but it has yet to clear both in the same year.

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Governor Ducey disses Arizona teachers, inviting a teacher walkout

Reminder: Today is another #RedForEd Wednesday, wear red in support of Arizona’s embattled teachers.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Ducey to meet with ‘decision makers,’ not teachers to talk about salaries:

Gov. Doug Ducey won’t meet with the leaders of two teacher groups to talk about salaries and related issues even as they are taking the first steps toward a walkout.

The governor’s statement comes less than a week after a request by Noah Karvelis of Arizona Educators United and Joe Thomas of the Arizona Education Association “to begin a negotiation process to resolve the #RedForEd demands.”

That includes not just the 20-percent salary increase to compete with neighboring states but also restoring education funding levels to where they were a decade ago.

It also comes as Arizona Educators United, a grassroots group of teachers, is working with its member teachers to set a date for walkout to get the attention of Ducey and legislators and show they are serious.

Ducey, in essence, has written off both groups as irrelevant to his own education funding plans.

“We’re meeting with the decision makers,” the governor said, meaning school superintendents and other officials. “And we’re going to continue to meet with the decision makers.”

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GOP legislators reject equal rights for women, because abortion (Updated)

This week Arizona’s GOP legislators reaffirmed, once again, that they believe women are second-class citizens who do not enjoy the full panoply of rights that white men do (they’re not convinced that men who are minorities do either), because abortion.

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley proposes the Equal Rights Amendment.

On Tuesday, Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley (D-Tucson), for the second year in a row, attempted to use a procedural maneuver to bring up a bill for debate on approving the Equal Rights Amendment. And for the second year in a row, white men moved to adjourn the House rather than debate the bill and take a vote.

The Republic reports, On Equal Pay Day, Arizona Republicans block vote on Equal Rights Amendment:

Democrats in the Arizona Legislature fell short Tuesday in their attempt to force a vote on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

For the second consecutive year, they failed to persuade Republicans to allow debate on the ERA — a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that broadly guarantees equal rights between men and women.

State Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, D-Tucson, tried to use a procedural move to bring an ERA resolution to a vote in the House of Representatives, but the House adjourned before that could happen.

Hannley said she chose Tuesday to push the issue because it marks Equal Pay Day, the day on the calendar when the average American woman’s earnings catch up to what a male peer earned in 2017.

Nationally, women earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Arizona, women earn about 82 cents for every dollar.

‘No time limit on equality’

“Arizona women want equal pay for equal work,” Hannley told fellow lawmakers. “Let’s make history. There is no time limit on equality.”

But Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale, intervened to prevent a vote on Powers Hannley’s motion. His motion to recess the chamber for the day passed 32-25, along party lines.

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