Fending Off Republicans’ Continuing Attacks On Education. Steve and Karen welcome Nicki Indicavitch, State Outreach Director for Save Our Schools Arizona. A mother of five kids, she became involved with the organization after discovering how difficult it is for public schools to buy the things necessary for education.
As part of her job, she spends much of her time lobbying the Republican-controlled legislature. But, she says, “This legislative session has been different. We do have a governor there who has been really clear that she will veto bills that are dangerous for kids, dangerous for communities, and bad for schools.” Nevertheless, she says, many of the same dangerous bills have been introduced again this year. “They kind of have their bills sent to them by out-of-state organizations. They’re not really Arizona bills. They’re just bills from any special interest that Republicans are willing to drive forward.”
According to Indicavitch, many of the Republicans’ culture war bills are simply fundraising tools. And they defy reality. “I mean we’re talking about banning books while kids are running around with cellphones that have access to literally anything they want at all times. What you should be talking about is how to retain teachers,” she says. “Because that’s a real problem. That’s an actual crisis for our kids that’s being ignored for some of these really toxic culture wars.”
“The reality is that today…almost a quarter of Arizona classrooms are struggling to get an educator or don’t currently have one. This has been chronic in Arizona. Teachers do not want to be in our state or in our classrooms. And one of the things I think that [Governor] Hobbs has done a really good job of explaining is that we don’t have a teacher shortage. We have plenty of credentialed teachers in this state. We have teachers that are unwilling to enter our classrooms as they stand today. You’re asking teachers to take shockingly low pay, a very high class size without resources that they know their students need, and then you also pile on the fact that the Republican Party is declaring war on them through these culture war issues.”