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Why are teachers walking out?

May 17, 2018

 

IN OUR OPINION

 

Educational funding and salaries for teachers have been problems on the horizon for quite some time now. But after another teacher walkout in Arizona, it is beginning to look like change is a brewin’.

 

The #RedForEd walkout ended May 3 after legislators finally passed a budget including a 20 percent pay raise for teachers and an additional $138 million in funding at 5:30 a.m. Arizona previously ranked 49th in the country in public school revenue per student and 41st in average teacher salary.

 

Arizona is the fifth state to hold teacher walkouts, and all five have successfully called for and prompted change for either more funding or higher teacher salaries.

 

All signs point towards this trend continuing in the U.S. and the success rate is pretty much 100 percent so far, so why not keep walking out? Obviously there is only so much government money to spend and if every single state asks for more money for education, other aspects of the country may be underfunded. However, according to nationalpriorities.org, the $4.2 trillion spending budget in 2017 had education receiving just two percent of the pie chart, at around $85 billion. That may seem like a lot of money, but in respect to what other aspects of our country are receiving, one could call it “chump change.”

 

Veterans’ benefits received four percent of the national budget at $179 billion, more than double the education budget. Now, we can all agree that veterans deserve benefits and are a valued part of society, but should we really be spending more than double the amount of money on veterans than we are on the education of our future American leaders?

 

States like Utah, Alabama and South Dakota all rank in the bottom ten in the country in money spent per pupil, according to teaching-certification.com, and are three of the nine states in the U.S. that are given less than $10,000 per pupil.

 

There will always be states at the bottom of this ranking because somebody has to be, but less than $10,000 per pupil is too little, and it would not be surprising to see teacher walkouts from one of these states.

 

At The Tech Talk, we believe education should be higher on the totem pole of U.S. spending and should result in more discretionary funding and higher wages for teachers. The value of educating the future leaders of our political, economic and social worlds cannot be undervalued, and if it is, something is not right. This is not to say the other aspects of our country being funded are not important, but there has to be more of a balance between them and education if we truly want to put the importance on education that it deserves.

 

So, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we say to all of the hard-working teachers in America: walk it out.

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