As a former South Phoenix teacher, I know that education is the most important investment a state can make.
But in recent years, Arizona’s lawmakers have done the exact opposite. They’ve cut every single dollar of funding for South Mountain Community College and all of our other Maricopa County community colleges. As a former Rio Salado Community College student, I’m outraged.
And due to the legislature's failure to invest in our schools, teacher pay in Arizona ranks 45 out of 50. Let me tell you, the $28,000 salary I was paid to teach was barely enough for me to get by.
Enough is enough.
In office, I would introduce bold legislation that makes critical investments in our schools, students, and teachers. Here’s my plan:
- Universal Pre-K for Arizona: A child’s first years are the most critical. When young children attend early childhood education programs, they are more likely to succeed in school and beyond. But right now, only 1 in 5 Arizona children benefit from quality, early learning in preschool. It’s time to expand access to all Arizona children.
- Eliminate Tuition for Arizona Community Colleges and Public Universities: I believe that a good, public education is a right for all—not a privilege for the wealthy. Arizonans should be able to get the best education they can, regardless of their race, income, or zip code. But in Arizona, lawmakers have done the exact opposite. Since 2008, lawmakers have made more cuts to higher education than any other state. Meanwhile, average tuition is up by 78 percent or $5,224 per-student at a four-year public university in our state. Which is why I plan to introduce legislation to make Arizona’s community colleges and public universities tuition free, including for Dreamers.
- Give Our Teachers A Raise: Arizona’s teachers are among the worst paid in the country. And it’s driving many talented teachers out of the profession. In fact, nearly half teaching positions in our state are filled by people who do not meet Arizona’s standard certification requirements. This is a crisis. And when I’m in office, I’ll tackle this crisis head on by fighting to give every Arizona public school teacher a permanent raise, bringing Arizona teacher pay to the national average. And we’ll pay for it by repealing the GOP tax cuts and cracking down on corporate tax cheats.