A Minute with Mia: #RedForEd gave Ariz. teachers due recognition

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A Minute with Mia: #RedForEd gave Ariz. teachers due recognition


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Teachers made history by calling out sick.

At first glance, this statement seems like a farce. But it is true. On April 26, teachers across Ariz. united under the movement called #RedForEd, and made history by initiating the very first strike of the state’s educators. 78 percent of teachers said that they were in favor of striking in the hopes of securing better funding for public education, and a more immediate and permanent pay raise.

So perhaps in some ways yes, they were sick. Sick of being underpaid and underfunded.

These brave teachers stayed out of the classroom for the Thurs. and Fri. of that first week. The weekend went by and change was still nowhere in sight. So they called out on the 30 of April and marched on Mon. as well. Tues. came around and legislatures were still not meeting the movement’s demands. In fact, while teachers marched in thousands, the legislature was not even in session. School was cancelled on Tues. and they marched again. They marched Wed. They marched Thurs.

Finally, their raise was implemented, but still no funding. Pleased but not completely satisfied, teachers went back into the classrooms with the phrase “Remember in November” on their lips. The actions of lawmakers and how they blatantly ignored some of the claims made by the grassroots movement would be factored into many voters’ decisions come the next election.  

After eight days in total, six of which being school days, the strike was over. History was made on those days. And I am not talking about the legendary eight-day prom weekend the seniors received as a result of this strike.

I am talking about the fact that 50 thousand students, parents, and citizens who marched side-by-side with educators because they saw that this was an issue worth fighting for. The overwhelming support for educators was inspiring. Rather than just using these days to sleep in, sit back, and relax, people went out and supported their teachers.

That is inspiring.
Teaching is one of the most underappreciated professions in our country, but yet it is one of the most vital. They are the ones shaping the minds of our generations. They educate, they inspire, they challenge, and they support. And, they just call it a Tuesday afternoon.

Teachers deserve the world and more, and if this strike got them even a little bit more than where they started, I think it was worth it. If they got even a fraction of the funding for schools that they so desperately want for their students, it was worth it. If they sparked a fire that will keep burning until the midterm elections, it was worth it.

I have grown up in the world of public education since kindergarten, and the teachers I have had along the way have helped mold me into the student who is getting ready to graduate high school in a few days.

As I close out this final column of my high school career, I want to say a thank you to every single teacher not only here, but everywhere. Thank you for making us feel supported, and loved, and informed, and everything in between.

Thank you.

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