Two weeks ago, Governor Doug Ducey announced his 20X2020 plan to provide Arizona’s teachers a 20% raise by 2020.
On April 18, I took the stage alongside other prominent business leaders at a press conference in support of 20X2020.
As the leader of the state’s largest business organization, I see the value of prioritizing K-20 education and supporting increased pay for teachers, who are helping our community by developing the talent we need to grow tomorrow. If Arizona underfunds education at any level and doesn’t pass a carefully crafted measure to appropriately compensate our educators, then our businesses and our economy will suffer.
The Greater Phoenix Chamber’s efforts in economic and workforce development have made one issue abundantly clear: business and employers need a strong, diverse workforce pipeline if we are to move Phoenix forward.
Today, 49% of employers are unable to fill open positions due to the talent gap. In order to close this gap and ensure that Arizona has a qualified talent pool for businesses, it’s vital that we focus on a multi-pronged approach that focuses on talent-development, business needs, and supporting educators.
It is critical that the appropriate resources go to our classrooms and to our teachers. We must increase teacher pay in order to attract top educators to prepare our students. This will not only help to change the conversation about education in Arizona, but also help to strengthen our workforce pipeline and prepare students for college or career.
Learning to overcome the challenges associated with dyslexia as a child, I understand too well the importance of high quality educators that are dedicated to student success. Without committed and qualified teachers in our classrooms, all of Arizona’s students are deprived of the opportunity to learn and to achieve the American dream.
The proposed 20X2020 plan is a strong step forward in elevating Arizona’s education system. As a community, we need to guarantee that the plan serves all parties—educators, students, and employers.
In the coming days and weeks, I look forward to working with Governor Ducey, educators, and others as negotiations continue to ensure that responsible, fiscally sound legislation that benefits educators, students, and employers across all industries is passed quickly, so our state may continue to thrive.