And I'll apologize in advance, because while I'm usually a master of nuance and thoughtful opposition, some people and their ideas call for a pithier response.
|This guy. Serioously.|
Some folks have suggested that one sign of the low level of teacher pay in Arizona is the number of teachers who have a second job. But here comes Arizona House GOP Leader John Allen to explain what's really going on:
“They’re making it out as if anybody who has a second job is struggling. That’s not why many people take a second job,” Allen said. “They want to increase their lifestyles. They want to improve themselves. They want to pay for a boat. They want a bigger house. They work hard to provide themselves with a better lifestyle. Not everyone who takes a second job does it because they’re borderline poverty.”
Yessireebob-- Arizona teachers are picking up those extra jobs so they can afford that boat, the summer home in the Hamptons, that second BMW. In no way are they working a second job for non-luxuries like food and clothing for their families. Thank you, John Allen, for clarifying that.
Who is this guy? John Allen has been in Arizona politics, on and off, since 2001. This is actually his third term-- in his third district. He's been a fan of Empowerment Scholarships (yet another way to put lipstick on the school voucher pig) and he was, notably, one of the GOP legislators who sued Republican Governor Jan Brewer in order to roll back the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA. Because making health care available to more poor residents of Arizona would be a Bad Thing.
He's been on the English-only side of language debates about education in Arizona (just immerse them furriners in English all the time, and they'll learn to speak Merican right and proper). He's received a regular 82% rating from Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brothers special political agitation group, and a big fat 100% from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a group that pretends to be a lobbying organization for small business, but has been financed with some big dark money. And he wants you to know that he wrote a bill to use the National Guard to close the border. He's a member of the Scottsdale Bible Church. His profession (most Arizona legislators have one) is a dealer in collector cars. So yes. This guy is a conservative Tea Party used car dealer.
This whole discussion was part of a debate about SB1042, a bill that would let anyone with “expertise in a content area or subject matter" teach, complete with waiver of the competency test. Basically, superintendents would be free to hire anyone they felt like teaching.
Arizona Capital Times gave Allen a chance to walk back his boat comment, but it appears he wasn't all that interested in doing so.
When our reporter noted that teachers, who often start with salaries in the $30,000 range, probably aren’t taking second jobs to buy boats, Allen replied that many people choose to be teachers knowing the pay situation and that they’ll have to take a second job to make ends meet.
So, teachers knew the pay would suck and they'd need a second job. What are they bitching about? And also, why aren't more teachers coming to work in Arizona? And won't it make it so much more attractive to know that they'll be working side by side with fake teachers who just kind of wandered in off the street, because if there's anything more awesome than doing a hard jobk for peanuts, it's doing your job for peanuts and then doing somebody else's job, too.
I do not teach in Arizona (and I can't imagine I ever will). I don't have family or friends there. So I think I can bring a completely unbiased and disinterested eye to this situation. But as I said-- some positions just call for a clear, direct, graceless response. So believe me-- there's nothing personal when I offer this message, though I think I speak for many Arizona teachers when I say--
Dear John Allen. Bite me.