By: Kathy Hoffman
As I’ve watched and taken part in the growing #RedForEd movement, I’m inspired by how teachers have continued to call for and demonstrate unity throughout this process. The Arizona Educators United (AEU) group has brought together teachers of all backgrounds, including paraprofessionals, social workers, and reading specialists, to fight for respect from our legislature and governor.
Despite the pressure to accept what Governor Ducey has offered us, teachers have stood united to fight for better pay and improved funding not just for themselves, but for all educational professionals. I am proud to be a speech therapist, and love that it gives me the opportunity to work with students of all ability levels. Furthermore, it gives me the flexibility to co-teach with other teachers to support the communication skills of my students. In Special Education, we recognize that there are teachers of all backgrounds and of equal importance. My job would not be possible without the support of paraprofessionals, school psychologists, resource teachers and behavior specialists.
Our governor and legislators must realize that there is value in all educators, and they need to realize it quickly. Any plan put forward and adopted by our state should include ALL of the demands of AEU. Even more crucial that our students have an incredible need to attend schools that are fully and sustainably funded. It is the only way for our schools to move from the bottom of the nation’s educational standards to becoming nationally recognized for supporting public education.
A year ago, I started my political campaign to fight for our schools, students and teachers and the #RedForEd movement has only confirmed my beliefs that teachers in Arizona are ready for a change. They are ready for a State Superintendent that not only has years of teaching experience, but is willing to be a voice for all teachers. I am proudly #RedForEd and I look forward to representing ALL teachers in the Department of Education.
Kathy Hoffman, a speech therapist and educator, is a Democratic candidate for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.