After Arizona teachers had their massive strike in April, the State Legislature sent Governor Doug Ducey the 20 percent pay raise he had requested. In May, Governor Ducey signed the raises into law.
So now, five months after the strike, what is the state of Red for Ed? Let’s take a look.
A recent video posted by a major #RedForEd leader pretty much encapsulates how things are going. Activist Derek Harris posted an 8-minute rant of him scolding his fellow teachers because “the vast majority of you won’t get off your God-damn ass!” Harris should save the lecturing for the classroom (but without the language, please!).
The video is odd. He issues his diatribe while driving his car. Perhaps Harris thinks he is James Corden? Maybe this is Red For Ed’s version of Car Pool Karaoke?
Ranter Harris employs some persuasive rhetoric, demanding multiple times that teachers help him “unf*ck” the education system. If that doesn’t get teachers “off their asses,” what will? How about accusing teachers of not caring about their students anymore? No, that doesn’t work either? Hmmm….
Undoubtedly, the pent-up frustration is partly due to Arizona’s highest court tossing the “Invest in Ed” initiative off the state ballot. The initiative aimed to institute a massive tax hike to raise more funding for public school classrooms – which already only receive 54 cents of every dollar thanks to bureaucracy and overhead.
The only problem was that the initiative’s wording was epically botched. The drafters seemed to not know the difference between percent and percentage points. Arizona taxpayers would have definitely noticed a difference between a “4.46%” increase on their tax rate versus an increase of 4.46 percentage points.
Aside from that glaring error, the initiative description also failed to inform voters that it would raise taxes on all tax brackets – not just the top tax bracket as its supporters would have liked you to believe.
Deliberate deception of sheer incompetence? You decide.
Despite the ups and downs of Red for Ed, its organizers are still attempting to maintain its presence. Gubernatorial candidate David Garcia recently held a little rally with canvassers sporting the recognizable red t-shirts. For some unknown reason, Garcia grabbed a megaphone and proudly exclaimed, “A lot of these educators right here are from outside Arizona!” He then proceeded to highlight out-of-staters from Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas.
You read that correctly. Garcia and other Arizona politicos who were hoping to tie themselves to a surging Red for Ed movement are now confined to busing in non-Arizonans to win over the votes of Arizonans. Good luck with that.
Perhaps Derek Harris’s rant was spot-on after all!
Or maybe Arizona teachers are just smart enough to realize that David Garcia opposed their 20 percent pay raises and the extension of Prop 301.
Arizona public school teachers won a pay raise that private sector workers would envy. Now those who were planning to co-opt the movement don’t know what to do and are highly agitated. Such is the state of things in Red for Ed as we approach Election Day.