AZ’s Disastrous Education System

Chelsea

by Roxanna Valenzuela

Last week my daughter began online classes. She is now in seventh grade; I can’t believe how time flies. Obtaining a high-quality education is paramount to minimizing the exposure to COVID-19, but we must postpone traditional learning for the safety of everyone. Most people I know have always struggled to survive in our capitalist system but now we’re risking and sacrificing even more. What frustrates me is that If only we had taken the necessary precautions six months ago and listened to the CDC and WHO, we could’ve prevented the spread of this killer virus and protected the most vulnerable people in our society. Our government continues to fail at getting us through this pandemic safely.

I’m blessed to have a job that allows me to work remotely half the time. Even so, I’ve had to excuse myself from work multiple times to troubleshoot student portals, prepare lunch, and disarm our security system. I praise the families who don’t have the benefit of working remotely, forcing them to leave their children unattended all day. On top of that, low income families who could barely make ends meet pre pandemic must now cut down on their groceries or other necessities to pay an internet bill they use to consider a luxury. Wealthy people can afford expensive private tutors and schools but most of us can’t afford to pay for that. Personally, even if I could, I’d still support the public-school system because free education is our darn right.

There are so many downfalls to online education.  Constantly I overhear teachers and students express their irritation over system errors. Although web access is easily obtainable, technology can still be highly unreliable. Our neighbor is a middle school teacher and has been booted out of her zoom classrooms, leaving over thirty kids unattended. My six-year-old nephew figured out how to un mute himself and mimics the teacher while she lectures, making all his classmates giggle. I know of a family of three kids that are still on the school’s waiting list to borrow devices. My sister, a kindergarten teacher, is practically being forced to teach/babysit fifteen kiddos in person. Many of our desperately needed teachers have quit because they feel unprotected and are being ignored. What a disaster!

Funding for Arizona’s public schools is one of the lowest in the country. Yet, money hungry groups have lobbied against Invest in Ed and were almost successful at removed it from the ballot. This bill will help redistribute resources (a tax collected from the rich) to our poorly funded schools. So, remember to vote yes on Invest in Ed this November. In order to stay in power, our “leaders” (Doug Ducey, Martha McSally, and Dr. Cara Chris) have disregarded our citizens’ health, education, and economic needs in order to protect the monied interests of a few rich Arizonans. Let this be a lesson to all of us. The privileged few, even having the means to, will not help the people who need it the most. It’s unacceptable that disadvantaged citizens continue getting the short end of the stick. We must fight in solidarity for our rights!

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