red pencil

Why I Will Wear #REDforED

Amethyst Hinton Sainz Current Affairs, Education, Education Policy

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I will wear red tomorrow, Wednesday, March 7,  because I am a professional, and I deserve to be paid like one. I refuse to say “I’m not in it for the money,” because I pay my bills with this paycheck, and buy my kids what they need. I hope to send my kids to college with this paycheck, and I try to think about retirement one day, based on this paycheck. I try to be a good spouse with this paycheck and be there to support everyone when times are less than ideal, with this paycheck.

I will wear red tomorrow because someone close to me actually brings home more disability pay each month than I see in my check (even before insurance premiums are deducted.)

I will wear red tomorrow because any modest increases in pay have been largely offset by higher insurance and healthcare costs, higher retirement contributions and inflation.

I will wear red tomorrow because teachers have been asked to bear the brunt of the cuts to education for the past decade. We have taken on higher student loads, more duties supervising students, more custodial tasks in the classroom, more expenses for classroom supplies, more mentoring and support of new teachers and uncertified teachers, more covering of our colleagues’ classes on our planning time, more nursing and counseling duties, more responsibilitiy for school libraries, art and P.E., all while being held to high professional standards and higher accountability for the progress of our students.

I will wear red tomorrow because it angers me that my colleagues in southern Arizona get paid so much less than we do in Maricopa County, and have not seen significant permanent increases in over a decade.

I will wear red tomorrow because in districts across the state, in many cases experienced professionals make less than new teachers because their salaries have been frozen over the years.

I will wear red tomorrow because in rural districts throughout the state, uncertified and untrained community members are in classrooms teaching children, and getting paid the same as a highly qualified teacher. Rural districts are struggling to recruit teachers.

I will wear red tomorrow because, as ugly and secure as the new fences around our schools appear, I know that we truly harden our schools best through the soft skills of the professionals on campus, who watch vigilantly, learn about our students and work to create positive learning environments.

I will wear red tomorrow because nobody should have 35 students or more in a core academic class.

I will wear red tomorrow because no teacher should lose bonus pay for teaching in a school with majority poor and minority students, while the schools with higher socioeconomic populations are given extra teacher pay and praised for their efforts.

I will wear red tomorrow because we need to hold charter schools financially and academically accountable to our state’s families.

I will wear red tomorrow because our leaders continue to push through bills to cut taxes and expand private school vouchers, when they haven’t lived up to the promises they made when we passed Proposition 123, a devil’s bargain which was supposed to be the first of many steps to properly fund education in this state.

I will wear red tomorrow because I deserve better, and the students of our state deserve the best we can give them. And the time is now. red pencil

 

 

I currently teach English Language Development at Rhodes Junior High in Mesa Public Schools. I love seeing the incredible growth in my students and being an advocate for them. I am a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescent and Young Adult English Language Arts. Before this position I taught high school English in Arizona for 20 years. My alma maters are Blue Ridge High School and the University of Arizona. My bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Philosophy led me toward the College of Education, and I soon realized that the creative challenges of teaching would fuel me throughout my career. My love of language, literature and culture led me to the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College for my masters in English Literature. I am a fellow with the Southern Arizona Writing Project, and that professional development along with, later, the National Board process, has been the most influential and transformative learning for me. I enjoy teaching students across the spectrum of academic ability, and keeping up with new possibilities for technology in education, as well as exploring more topics in STEM. In recent years, much of my professional development has focused on teacher leadership, but I feel like I am still searching for exactly what that means for me. I live in Mesa, Arizona with my family. I enjoy them, as well as my vegetable garden, our backyard chickens, our dachshund Roxy, reading, writing, cooking (but not doing dishes), hiking and camping, and travel, among other things.

  • Leah Clark

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I love and agree with every word you said! We are professionals and deserve to be paid like ones. We are entrusted to educate the youth of America, yet many people believe that we should be paid like babysitters. It’s unrealistic to believe that people want to happily and passionately want to join the profession when they know they may never make enough to support their families. Thank you for writing this! I will definitely wear REDforEd tomorrow!

  • http://www.leadfromINtheclassroom.com/ Jess Ledbetter

    YES! Amen, girl!!!!

  • Mike Vargas

    TEACHERS UNITE!!!

  • Donnie Lee

    I had a close friend in Tucson who started teaching the same year I did. Our resumes were practically identical. We were both Nationally Board Certified and both had Master’s Degrees. When I moved up to Phoenix, I made nearly $10,000 more a year than her. It would’ve been more if all of my years of experience had been in that same district. The inequality in pay across the state is frightening.

    • http://storiesfromschoolaz.org Amethyst Hinton Sainz

      It truly is. I received a $14,000 raise for moving here from Tucson five years ago. Ridiculous.

  • Angelia

    Thank you so much Amethyst! This statement “I will wear red tomorrow because, as ugly and secure as the new fences around our schools appear, I know that we truly harden our schools best through the soft skills of the professionals on campus, who watch vigilantly, learn about our students and work to create positive learning environments” calls to me. I have struggled to make clear to community members what schools need, this speaks to my heart. Thank you for what you do!

    • http://storiesfromschoolaz.org Amethyst Hinton Sainz

      Thanks, Angelia. I have to admit, I really liked that line, too. ;)

  • Jaime Festa-Daigle

    Preach sister!

  • Nicole Marquez

    Heck yeah!!

  • Treva Jenkins

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you Amethyst!!!
    “Fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage. All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do…”–Barack Obama

  • Tracy

    May I ask what the average pay is for a High School teacher in Tucson, Marana, Sahuarita for example? I would also like to know how much work, on average, teachers still do through the 2-3 month summer break. I’m just trying to get a realistic idea of where this all stacks with the $56K to $59K average US household income stats. Thanks.

  • Publishingpam

    Beautiful, and so well-written. You are an amazing role model for our teachers and for the #RedforEd movement. This has been a long week for all our teachers, and I applaud each and every one of you for putting yourselves out there and fighting for what’s true and right. God bless you.

  • Lisa Moberg

    Going through these #RedforEd posts as I create a scrapbook of our memories- it was a good reminder of why I did- and I will- wear Red for Ed!!