We share the frustration that the State’s investments in education over the last decade have not adequately shown the support and respect that Arizona’s public education systems deserve. We are saddened that our teachers feel so disrespected and unsupported that they have chosen to walk out.

An excellent teacher in the classroom is fundamental to student success. Every student deserves high quality teachers who are treated and paid like professionals – acknowledging their level of training, responsibility, and prestige. Expect More Arizona has long championed efforts to significantly raise K-12 teacher salaries and to find a long-term solution for education funding in Arizona. In doing so, Arizona’s budget should not negatively impact other parts of education.

Public education in Arizona merits investment. Our schools, colleges, universities, and educators have done more with less for too long. A 20 percent pay increase would propel Arizona closer to meeting the state’s shared goal of being at the national median for teacher pay by 2022. However, we still need more students enrolled in quality early learning; working conditions that attract and retain teachers, counselors, and support staff that enrich the learning environment for students; and investments in our community colleges and universities that support affordable access to the post high school educational experience needed for so many of today’s jobs.

No matter how the current walkout is resolved, it’s clear that we need additional revenues to support investments in all of education – preK through college. It is evident now, more than ever, that we need to collaborate to develop funding solutions to support the entire education continuum.

Expect More Arizona is eager to continue working together, across party lines, to find short and long-term solutions that support the success of every student, every step of the way – regardless of background, income or zip code.