Former Teacher, Now AZ Lawmaker, Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
It is Teacher Appreciation Week , and one Arizona lawmaker, who is a former elementary school teacher, wants to recognize the important work educators do every day.
Rep. Laura Terech, D-Phoenix, said she got involved in politics after getting frustrated with Arizona's public school system. One of the ways Terech she wants to help is by fighting for better teacher compensation.
According to the National Education Association, Arizona ranks 32nd among states for average teacher salaries.
While the state grapples with various education related challenges, Terech stressed this week is about recognizing the impact educators have in their communities, including one teacher who was special to her.
"I know that I am forever grateful to my own eighth grade English teacher, who designed a special curriculum just for me to explore the classics of literature," Terech recounted. "It set me on a path of discovery that continues to this day."
Terech pointed out educators work "tirelessly to create engaging learning environments," and help students reach their full potential.
A recent Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association survey found more than 25% of teacher vacancies in Arizona remain unfilled, while 44% of vacancies are filled by people who don't meet the state's standard certification requirements for teaching.
The National PTA held a recent virtual town hall for Teacher Appreciation Week, to discuss some of the joys and challenges educators face.
Anna King, national president of the Parent Teacher Association, said in addition to the teacher shortages across the country, divisions among parents and teachers are also very much present; a situation King said needs to improve.
"There's a T in PTA for a reason," King emphasized. "Because we know that parents and teachers working together are successful and would make that impact, and not being divided. Our country is already divided."
King added first, state leaders and lawmakers in Congress must be held accountable for adequately funding school districts and allowing teachers to make a livable wage.
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