Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Nothing Scares an Arizona Republican More Than an Angry Educator

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2018 at 2:15 PM

I've never used emoticons before, but these angry little guys may be just what I need right now.

"Read my emoticon. Damn right I'm mad! I plan to stay mad through November 6. After that, we'll see."

Republicans are doing everything they can to tell Arizona educators to calm down, there's really nothing to be upset about. It's your own fault the Invest in Ed initiative isn't on the ballot. As for your salary problems, blame your school district, not the legislature or the governor. You educators shouldn't bother your pretty, pedantic little heads about all this complicated governing stuff. Just stay in to your classrooms where you belong. After you vote us back into office, don't worry, everything will be fine.

Republicans hate it when their opponents get mad. Oh, they love to rile up their own base. The Tea Party named itself after a bunch of colonists in Boston who were so pissed about taxes, they threw a shipload of tea in the harbor. Our Liar in Chief inflames his base with a steady diet of hate directed at his growing list of enemies. They know it works.They know it brings their supporters out to the polls.

Which is why they want the opposition to stay calm and quiet. Get sad, not mad. Lose gracefully.

I was surprised to find myself featured in an op ed by Jonathan Hoffman in Sunday's Star. I was the poster child and whipping boy for every educator who is angry at Republican elected officials and their fat cat donors and plans to vote them out of office. Hoffman was complaining about a quote from one of my recent posts, Don't Get Sad. Get Mad!:
“We need to be Red-hot angry over the decision by Ducey’s Supreme Court, backed by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, to take the Invest in Education initiative off the ballot.”
Hoffman hated that "Red-hot angry" phrase so much, he repeated it four times. If anyone missed the point about how dangerous it is to be that angry, he warned teachers they're turning into "Antifa thugs" instead of quiet, staid "college-educated professionals."

Your problems are your own fault, he said.
"You created the problems with the Invest in Ed initiative, not the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Arizona Supreme Court. So, be professional, own the screw-up, and do it right next time."
Take the blame. Slink away quietly. Lick your wounds. You can try again two years from now.

To which I say, Hell no! Hell. No. Years of underfunding and constant attacks by the "dismantle public schools" crowd have gone on long enough. In spring, educators showed what they were made of when they took to the streets and forced Governor "One percent for salaries" Ducey to up his offer to ten percent. They took to the streets again to collect signatures for the Invest in Ed initiative so the richest Arizonans would have to carry their fair share of the burden to educate our children, and ended up with all the signatures they needed, and nearly 100,000 to spare.

Then came the lawsuit from a group calling itself, shamelessly, Arizonans for Great Schools and a Strong Economy. It was funded by — who else? — the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which fights for all those poor, downtrodden rich people who make more than half a million dollars in taxable income, to make sure they don't have to pay any more taxes than they can get away with.

The Chamber of Commerce lost its suit in Maricopa County Superior Court. No problem. They appealed it to the Arizona Supreme Court which, as recently as 2016, was composed of five justices. Ducey raised the number to seven, adding two hand picked judges. Not surprisingly, his business-friendly Court saw things the Chamber's way and struck down the initiative.

Educators are slow to anger, but it looks like they're mad enough at Republican's history of underfunding and under-appreciating public education, they're ready to do something about it. Teachers, administrators, classified staff, parents, long-time friends of public education, including lots of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents, are paying attention. If they're riled up enough to vote en masse in a low turnout, off-year election, they can make the difference in local and state-wide races.

(As for those angry emoticons at the top of the post. The two scowling red faces at the top are appropriate for the #RedforEd movement, but I'm not much of a scowler. My emoticon of choice is the little guy on the left pointing at his watch. "Time's up, Republicans. Get out of the way so people who support our children can run this state.")

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