Low Teacher Pay Scales at Arizona Schools

Written by Patricia Hawke for www.schoolsk-12.com

Teachers in Arizona Schools are Paid Less 
Teachers in Arizona schools are compensated based on their level of education, qualifications and teaching experience. But is that truly fair pay?  The comparatively low pay scales for teachers in Arizona schools are leading to a serious under valuation of teachers, the backbone of any education system.  Salary increases are often decided by the school boards, and teachers are shortchanged when they try to change school districts.  Studies indicate that al least one third of teachers in Arizona schools leave the system within two years of joining it. 
Teachers at Arizona Schools Have no Say in the Compensation Process
Strangely enough, at some Arizona schools teacher compensation can vary. Salaries can run the gamut beginning in the 20,000s and going up to the 40,000s depending on the Arizona schools districts.  This is an odd situation because each student in Arizona schools receives up to $6000 in funding, across all districts. 
Teachers in Arizona public schools have even less bargaining power when it comes to salary negotiations than teachers in other stats. This is clear from the insulting pay increase that TUSD recently offered its teachers – a generous one per cent.  Since then TUSD has magnanimously upped its offer to 1.5 per cent, and as teachers hold out still continues to dilly dally about further pay raises. But the message is clear – teachers in Arizona schools are grossly undervalued which is a contributing factor in the state’s slow decline in the education rankings.  When you factor in inflation and rising costs of living, offering a one percent raise is insulting and demeaning to the teaching profession.
Arizona Schools Fail to Attract the Cream of the Crop
With pay scales that are decided at the mercy of the school boards, and not enough teacher participation in the compensatory decision making process, Arizona schools are having a tough time finding teachers who make the grade. Highly qualified professional men and women who wish to pursue the noble profession of teaching are turned off by the devaluation of teachers that is the norm in Arizona schools. When this happens it’s the students who suffer from missing out on the practical experience that the professionals can bring to classrooms.  The devaluation of teachers thus hurts the students the most.
Most Arizona schools also make changing districts tough for teachers by placing experienced teachers at a lower rung of the salary scale than they were in their previous school.  This doesn’t allow Arizona schools to offer big money to qualified teachers. It’s an arrangement that hurts the teachers, the boards and ultimately the students themselves.