Arizona Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Aaron Lieberman has a plan for moving Arizona forward and improving people’s lives.
Called Let’s Grow Arizona, the plan will focus on improving public schools, sustainability and clean energy, and growing the jobs of the future.
On February 14, 2022, Mr. Lieberman, an educator, entrepreneur, and former State Representative from LD 28, unveiled his plan to increase teacher pay in Arizona.
At the event attended by educator and 2014 Teacher of the Year, Beth Maloney, Dr. and Representative Amish Shah, and Representative Lorenzo Sierra, Mr. Lieberman said:
“My teacher pay plan is very simple. As Governor, I won’t sign a budget until Arizona is on a path to paying our teachers a salary that ranks 25th in the nation — a goal we will achieve, at the latest, by the end of my first term as Governor. This means we will move teacher pay from an average of $47,600 to $58,600 —- which will mean an average raise of over $10,000 for our teachers.”
Please watch the full event by clicking below.
Mr. Lieberman graciously followed up his event announcement by interviewing with the Blog for Arizona to discuss his goals and reasoning behind Let’s Grow Arizona.
The questions and his responses are below.
1) Please tell the readers, what is the purpose of the Let’s Grow Arizona program?
“Our focus with Let’s Grow Arizona is a policy agenda that will help more Arizonans succeed. That’s really what it’s all about. And we’re going to lay out in detail specific plan as to what I will do as governor. When people are thinking about electing the next governor, they’re thinking about who’s going to be able to make their lives better. And that’s really what this Let’s Grow Arizona effort is all about.”
2) Please tell the readers, what are at least three parts of the Let’s Grow Arizona program?
“Eventually we’re going to lay out a policy agenda in three critical areas for growing Arizona schools, sustainability and jobs. What we announced yesterday (February 14, 2022) was the first part of our focus. And that is an effort to make sure that we are ending the crisis of teacher shortages in Arizona once and for all. We have been 49th or, depending on how you count it, 50th on teacher pay for decades. Other politicians have talked about it. Other politicians have said they’re going to make something happen, I’m going to fix it when I’m governor, by making sure we specifically get teacher pay to 25th in the country instead of down in the 49th or 50th spot where we are today.
Did you want to talk about sustainability or jobs right now?
“We’ll talk more about those as we roll out those specific areas. I will say, overall, in the school’s perspective, we’ll have an announcement coming up on Pre-K for four-year olds. Then we’ll talk about community colleges and then we’ll move on to the, sustainability and jobs pieces.”
What is the timetable on the other education announcements?
“Over the next, coming over the next couple of weeks.”
4) Please tell the readers how the let’s grow. Arizona program will move the state forward and improve people’s lives?
“This is a great question. And the thing that’s so important is what will be the outcomes from this effort, right? This isn’t just about increasing teacher pay to increase teacher pay. This is about what will happen. Let me increase teacher pay first and foremost, we’ll have better opportunities for our teachers to stay here in Arizona, or even attract teachers from other states.”
“I talked to a constituent in Tucson who had a child who went all the way through university here, got ready to go teach, wanted to teach in our Tucson public schools and looked at the starting pay. And so, they can’t make that work and literally moved to Colorado. We have been losing Arizonans who want to get involved with education. They go to other states after you train them up. They leave because they get paid better somewhere else. So, there’ll be more opportunities for teachers in Arizona that will ultimately have a huge impact on all of that. When we have 2000 classrooms without a teacher, every single kid in Arizona suffers from that because their teachers are pulled into covering other classrooms. They use their prep period to cover other classes. They’re not able to actually do the work that needs to be done to individualize and help Arizona kids. So, this is why we’re doing this. This will ultimately lead to better outcomes for Arizona.”
“And we know by 2030, Arizona will have 700,000 new jobs.”
“And many of those jobs will require a degree or a certificate from high school. The simple truth is right now only 48 percent of Arizonans have any degree past high school or a (vocational) certificate. And instead of making progress towards our statewide goal of getting to 60% in the pandemic, we actually moved backwards.”
“This increase in teacher compensation will help Arizona kids come out of high school, ready to take that next step to get the jobs that they need and the jobs that will be available.”
5) Please tell the readers at least two reasons the let’s grow Arizona program is superior to the other Democratic and or Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidates?
“I think there’s two aspects of what makes our plans the best. The first is informed by my life experience. As an educator. As someone who’s been working to create organizations that have impacted nearly a million low-income kids and their families. That’s just very different from the experience of anybody else in this field, on the Democratic or the Republican side.”
“And that perspective has infused every aspect of our plan. The second is the focus on specifics. Everybody can talk about where we’re having a, a problem with in education. We need to do more. To my knowledge, our plan is the only one that specifically says exactly what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it.”
“And that’s the other thing that I always like to share with people to fully fund this. We don’t need to raise your taxes. We are generating a massive surplus right now. My plan just says, let’s use that surplus to invest in the things that will make more Arizonan’s successful. And that starts with fixing the teacher pay crisis once and for all.”
6) “Is there anything that covered in the first four questions that you’d like to read it to know about the Let’s Grow Arizona?”
“I think it’s so important for people to recognize my belief is that we can have it all in Arizona. We can have a booming economy and great public schools for everyone.”
“We’ve been told that we can’t afford make progress on some of the most pressing problems confronting Arizona. I say we can’t afford not to, especially when it comes to education. We have to solve the teacher shortage crisis if we want to continue to be a national leader of job growth. And I want Arizona to be the best state in the country to start a business and to raise a family.”
“My Let’s Grow Arizona plan to fix our schools will do exactly that by once and for all ending the teacher shortage crisis and making sure more Arizonan’s get the education they need to be successful in school and in life. That’s really what this is all about.”
Please click on the below website for more information on Aaron Lieberman’s Lets Grow Arizona education plan.