What if my daughter had to start the school year with a substitute in Math? Panic! It takes my daughter hours of extra effort just to grasp the concepts that many students understand after one lesson. Learning math is a teacher, tutor, parent, student effort for my child. One 7th grade class at my daughter’s school started the year with a substitute when a qualified math teacher could not be found. Sadly, it wasn’t the only classroom in this situation! This is the beginning of the future of education in Arizona.

The teacher shortage is not only a problem in Vail, it is a statewide problem that needs a statewide solution. More than 75% of teachers who graduate from the University of Arizona leave to work in other states. The fact is that teacher pay is significantly higher in every neighboring state. Arizona consistently ranks 47th in the country for teacher pay, yet we rank 23rd in cost of living. Starting teachers in Vail take home around $1,600 a month. We are losing our excellent teachers to other states and other professions because they can’t afford to live on teacher pay in Arizona! This has led to teacher shortages all over our state.

We implore you to learn the facts. They will take your breath away! If you are the researcher type, check out the Educator Retention and Recruitment Report of 2015 put out by the Arizona Department of Education. It is long and detailed, but will show you the depth of the problem. If you aren’t a researcher, attend a Vail Parent Network meeting. We especially want to invite the public to an informational meeting on Prop 123 on March 29th at 6:30pm at the Vail school district office.

The VPN’s goal is to influence school funding in Arizona. We are advocating for your child’s education. Learn how to join our efforts at www.vailparentnetwork.org or vailparentnetwork@gmail.com.

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