Kentucky and Arizona teachers rally to defend public education
22 March 2018
Thousands of teachers marched at their state capitols on Wednesday in Kentucky and Arizona, demanding funding for public education, teacher pensions, health care, and in opposition to the privatization of education.
In Kentucky, despite the cold and snow, around a thousand educators rallied, as at least a dozen school superintendents shut schools for the day, allowing teachers to participate in the demonstration without penalty.
In Arizona, a single teacher in the Pendergast elementary school district triggered a shutdown of nine schools by organizing a “sickout” so the teachers could head for a demonstration in Phoenix, which drew a crowd of hundreds. Kayla Wilson, a 5th grade teacher at Pendergast Elementary with three years on the job, told the Arizona Capitol Times that she makes about $35,000 a year and owes more than $40,000 in student loans.
At the rally in Frankfort, Kentucky, teachers carried handmade placards reading, “Fighting for the future of our kids,” “Our money, our pension, just Vote No,” “Kentucky Fried Us,” “You’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest,” “We can’t put students first if they put teachers last,” and “I don’t have Social Security or a hedge fund,” among others.
Rally participants were well aware that behind the attack on teacher pensions is an attack on public education as a whole, and that the state government is moving rapidly to privatize education by defunding public education and discouraging teacher recruitment.
Republican Governor Matt Bevin, a former hedge fund manager, is pressing for the passage of Senate Bill 1, which slashes retired teachers’ cost-of-living allowance…