Education and Teacher Pay
Public education in Arizona is in a state of disarray. Classes are overfilled, and teachers are underpaid. Schools have become bloated bureaucracies where most of the resources are spent on everything but the classroom -- Arizona spends almost ten times per nonviolent inmate what we spend on K-12 student in the classroom. That’s just wrong.
I oppose one-size-fits-all federal mandates like Common Core because they demoralize our kids and force teachers to focus on standardized testing. As governor, I will always favor policies that let teachers teach. They should have the power to create the learning environment that works best for their students -- and be paid appropriately for the invaluable service they provide.
Unfortunately, government schools keep teachers from seeking fair market compensation. But public education is required by the Arizona Constitution, so we need to find a solution within that framework. That’s among the many reasons why I favor legalization of cannabis -- to generate the revenue we need to solve our serious shortage of teachers.
Our current “education governor” ran on a promise to increase teacher pay, but only managed to do so by a measly $400 per teacher -- while giving his staff raises of up to $40,000. As governor, I will propose that up to $200 million per year be reallocated to teacher pay, funded by tax revenue on the sale of cannabis and cuts to the Department of Corrections to compensate for the release of nonviolent cannabis offenders.
This would generate a pay raise of about $4,000 per teacher, though I would leave it to the discretion of each local district to determine whether they need to increase the pay of their best teachers and/or hire more -- as long as the funding stays in the classroom.
I also support parents’ rights to choose the school that best meets their child’s unique needs -- and to deduct education expenses they choose to incur from their Arizona state taxable income. Arizona’s job market is evolving, and there’s no one school that works best for every child. As governor, I will encourage innovation in education, because a variety of options for our increasingly diverse economy benefits everyone.