Hobbs Wrong About Reason For Teachers’ Exodus

classroom
[Photo by Sivan Veazie via Creative Commons]

Governor Katie Hobbs talked a great deal about education in her recent State of the State Address. She was correct to say, “The reality is, we don’t have an educator shortage, what we have is a retention crisis.” However, she was wrong to blame the teachers’ exodus on “uncompetitive salaries.”

The idea that teachers are underpaid has been exaggerated. As a teacher for 32 years (1966-1999) in mostly district schools, I agree that teachers’ base salaries appear low especially for the first couple of years in the profession. However, as teachers gain experience, they can easily add to their income by taking coaching assignments, becoming department chairs, teaching summer school, and/or advancing to a higher step on the salary schedule by attending classes at a university or community college.

The perks in Arizona K-12 schools are quite amazing: comprehensive health and life insurance coverage, at least 10 days of paid leave per year that can be carried over to the following year, seasonal time off, job security and minimal oversight protected by teachers’ unions, quite generous retirement checks up to death from the Arizona State Retirement System, as well as the same Social Security benefits as people in other fields. Moreover, a teacher can reap incredible profits, as I did, by enrolling in a 403B program for teachers, that can eventually be turned into an IRA as a nest egg reserved for their senior years.

The many teachers I have met and talked to – who had decided to leave – did not complain about their salaries. They told me that they found it impossible to teach because they had no recourse regarding frequent unruly, obnoxious student behavior in the classroom. Evidently, administrators offer little or no assistance regarding this problem. Whereas all educators used to believe that no student had the right to interfere with another student’s right to learn, such a principle is considered untenable in Arizona district schools today.

Parents are pulling their children out of these schools because, without proper discipline, academic achievement is impossible. It is no wonder that U.S. News reported that Arizona scored dead last of all the states in overall achievement at the end of the 2020-2001 school year. This was based on preparedness for college, high school graduation rates, math and reading test scores, and preschool success.

Both teachers and parents are turning to charter, private, and homeschooling due to the lack of discipline and other serious problems that pervade our schools. Hopefully, Governor Hobbs will take to heart the truth about why K-12 schools are losing teachers, as well as students, and adjust her education policy accordingly.

By Johanna J. Haver, author of Vindicated: Closing the Hispanic Achievement Gap Through English Immersion and former member of the Maricopa County Community College District (2015 to 2019).

9 Comments

  1. Godless systems – fail by their own accord. Look at the United States – that is what we are watching on the macro scale. No longer in God we Trust – he said ok – your on your own – how do you like it so far?

  2. arizona needs to pull all resources available to restrain hobbs agenda to turn arizona into another kalifornia

    • As a former teacher I agree totally agree. The lack of discipline and the administrators blaming the he teacher for the students behavior. Is the reason myself and others left.

  3. Hobbs is a POS and we’ll just have to deal with her for the next 4 years…unfortunately!!!

    • Why do we have to put up with her? She and the AG are illegally in office. We need to do all we can legally do to get her and the AG out of office. Definitely we do not need to accept them as legitimate.

    • We can’t blame this on Hobbs… I do not live in Arizona, it started several years ago with the introduction of restorative justice. Students are taught they are victims of their behavior and often get rewarded when going to the principal’s office. I have such extreme behaviors in my classroom. Teachers are left to fend for themselves with no support from administration. This is Nationwide from what I’m hearing. I just know I can’t do another year of this. If I make it through this year it’s only because the good Lord is carrying me through each day.

      • Bless you. We can only hope this situation improves and teaching will become again the rewarding profession it used to be.

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