President of Arizona Federation of Teacher explains why walkout continues for a fifth day


COMING UP, NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON DAY FOUR OF THE TEACHER STRIKE AND THE LATEST AND HEAR FROM THE STATE FEDERATION OF TEACHERS. THERE IS A NEW RESOURCE FROM THE STATE BAR DESIGNED TO HELP FIND A LAWYER AND WE WILL HEAR HOW ARIZONA FARMERS COULD BE IMPACTED BY NEW TARIFFS THOSE STORIES AND MORE NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON

PROMO: ARIZONA HORIZON IS MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE SUPPORT OF ARIZONA HIGHWAY MAGAZINE ESCAPE EXPLORE EXPERIENCE AND BY THE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF EIGHT MEMBERS OF YOUR ARIZONA PBS STATION THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON I AM TED SIMONS. LAWMAKERS ARE ON A BUDGET DOMINATED BY THE GOVERNOR PROPOSAL TO BOOST TEACHER PAY BY 10%. THIS YEAR WITH 5% INCREASE AS PLEDGED FOR EACH OF THE NEXT TWO YEARS INCLUDED IN THE GOVERNOR BUDGET DEAL A NEW 18 AUTO REGISTRATION FEE WHICH WOULD RAISE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS, ALL THIS AS MANY PUBLIC SCHOOLS AROUND THE STATE REMAIN CLOSED DUE TO A TEACHERS WALK OUT THE FOURTH DAY. TENS OF THOUSANDS ARE PROTESTING EDUCATION FUNDING MANY OF THE TEACHERS SHOWED UP AT THE CAPITOL TODAY. SOME WAITING AS LONG AS 2 1/2 HOURS TO GAIN ENTRANCE AND KEEP AN EYE ON LAWMAKERS. VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PRESENCE WAS IN TEMPE TODAY TO PROMOTE THE REPUBLICAN TAX CUT LAWEN AND EVENT HAD AN AMERICAN FIRST ACTION ROUNDTABLE THAT INCLUDED CONGRESSMAN ANDI BIGS AND LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS SUPPORTING PRESIDENT TRUMP'S POLICIES. AS WE MENTIONED THE TEACHER WALK OUT WITH SCHOOL CLOSURES TO CONTINUE TOMORROW AND HOW LONG THE WALK OUT WILL LAST AND WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO GET CLOSE ROOMS BACK OPEN WE WELCOME RALPH QUINTANA A TEACHER IN THE GLENDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERATION OF TEACHER WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON.

RALPH QUINTANA: THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

TED SIMONS: WHY IS THIS WALK OUT STILL ON?

RALPH QUINTANA: IT GOES TO THE GAPS IN FUNDING FOR OUR RESOURCES FOR OUR KIDS. THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS WE DON'T HAVE WHAT WE NEED TO FAIRLY DO OUR JOBS AND YOU SEE THE CATCH PHRASE I LIKE I HEARD FROM TEACHERS SAY YESTERDAY AT DIFFERENT EVENTS AND EVEN TODAY WE DIDN'T WALK OUT ON OUR KIDS WE ACTUALLY WALKED OUT FOR THEM

TED SIMONS: WITH THAT IN MIND HOW LONG IS THIS WALK OUTGOING TO LAST?

RALPH QUINTANA: I TRUTHFULLY I DON'T KNOW. IF YOU'RE TALKING TO THE RANKIN FILE TEACHER THE PLAN THAT IS OUT THERE NOW IS NOT GOING TO FIX A LOT OF THE PROBLEMS WE ARE FACING IN THE CLASSROOM WITH CLASS SIZES AND RESOURCES AND CURRICULUM SO I DON'T KNOW IF THE RANKIN FILE TEACHER IS GOING TO SAY YEAH YOU ARE GIVING ME A RAISE BUT NOT ACTUALLY FIXING THE PROBLEMS BEHIND WHY WE HAVE A TEACHER SHORTAGE IN ARIZONA.

TED SIMONS: I WAS GOING TO SAY YOU ARE A TEACHER WHAT ARE YOU WAITING TO HEAR WHAT DO YOU THINK OTHER TEACHERS ARE WAITING TO HEAR?

RALPH QUINTANA: IT'S LIMITED AT 50% RIGHT NOW BECAUSE YOU ARE EXPECTING DISTRICTS TO PUT OUT THE OTHER MONEY. WHAT'S HAPPENED IS LARGE OR WAY LARGER THAN NORMAL AND WHAT SHOULD BE RIGHT IN KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOMS HAPPENING SO THEY HAVE CLASS SIZES SOMETIMES IN THE HIGH 20S WHEN THEY USED TO HAVE THEM IN THE HIGH TEENS SO WHEN YOU HAVE TEACHERS FIGHTING LITERALLY SEEING THE EFFECTS OF THE LACK OF FUNDS INSIDE THEIR CLASSROOMS WITH CLASS SIZES AND LACK OF RESOURCES, I DON'T REALLY THINK YOU'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO TELL THEM 10% RAISE THIS YEAR IS GOING TO MOTIVATE THEM TO COME RUNNING BACK INTO THE CLASSROOM.

TED SIMONS: I KNOW THE GOVERNOR HAS PLANNED TO INCREASE PAY OF 20% BY 20-20 WITH THE EXTRA 10% PLEDGED I MEAN PROMISED BUT YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT FUTURE LEGISLATURES AND THOSE THINGS AND FULL DAY K IS IN THERE AS PART OF HIS PLAN. THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO END MONDAY, THE WALK OUT. WITH THE FILING OF AN INITIATIVE THAT WOULD RAISE INCOME TAXES ON THE WEALTHY TO FUND EDUCATION. WHY DOES IT CONTINUE?

RALPH QUINTANA: WELL, YOU JUST DON'T YOU'RE NOT MAKING ENOUGH OF CLOSE TO ONE BILLION WE ARE SHORT IN THE EARLY FUNDING, LOOK WHERE THE FUNDS COME FROM WHAT AFFECT IT HAS HAD SO IF YOU TALK INSIDE CLASSROOM FUNDS THAT BUILDINGS AND MAINTENANCE OF OUR BUILDINGS WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE MONEY. I MEAN THERE IS A LAWSUIT OUT CONCERNING THIS SO WHETHER YOU'RE TALKING CAPITAL FUNDS FOR CURRICULUM NEW CURRICULUM MATERIALS RESOURCES AND TIRES FOR OUR BUSES WE DON'T HAVE THAT EITHER AND THAT IS PART OF THE LAWSUIT SO IT'S NOT SURPRISING TO ME THAT MANY DISTRICTS DID WHAT MY DISTRICT DID AND CHOSE TO CLOSE WHICH PROTECTS US FROM ANY TYPE OF LITIGATION OR WORRYING ABOUT MY CONTRACT BECAUSE THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS MANY DISTRICTS ARE GOING WE NEED ADDITIONAL FUNDS TO CORRECTLY RUN OUR DISTRICT

TED SIMONS: SO THE FILING OF THAT INITIATIVE MADE NO DIFFERENCE AS FAR AS YOU'RE CONCERNED REGARDING THE WALK OUT

RALPH QUINTANA: IT'S NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH TO FIX THE PROBLEMS WE ARE FACING IN OUR CLASSROOM. YOU CAN'T GIVE ME ONE THIRD OF WHAT WE NEED AND SAY IS THAT GOING TO BE ENOUGH? AND NOT EXPECT US TO SAY NO THAT IS NOT ENOUGH WE NEED MORE! OTHERWISE WHAT WE ARE LOOKING AT RIGHT NOW IS 2000 TEACHERS SHORT. WE STARTED THE YEAR THAT WAY AND HAD 900 QUIT SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR. IF IT'S NOT GOING TO FIX THE MONEY THEY ARE OFFERING IS NOT GOING TO FIX THAT THEN WHY WOULD YOU EXPECT US EDUCATORS TO SAY, HEY THIS IS GOING TO FIX OUR PROBLEMS OR MAYBE IT WILL KEEP IT FROM GETTING WORSE IF IT'S NOT GOING TO.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS YOU, AS FAR AS OTHER TEACHERS ARE CONCERNED ARE YOU SAYING THEN THAT THIS INITIATIVE SIMPLY IS NOT ENOUGH. WILL YOU SUPPORT THIS INITIATIVE?

RALPH QUINTANA: WE SUPPORT 100%. FROM THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS AND ARIZONA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS. IT IS NOT GOING TO COME UNTIL SOMETIME NEXT YEAR AND NOT BEFORE THE SCHOOL YEAR STARTS AND NOT GOING TO COME IN THE NEXT IMPENDING BUDGET. THEREFORE, MY WORRY IS IT'S NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH TO STOP IN THE TIDE OF TEACHERS LEAVING THE PROFESSION. LEAVING THE STATE TO GO BACK TO THEIR HOME STATES WHERE THEY WERE RECRUITED FROM.

TED SIMONS: LET US TALK LOGISTICS HERE HOW ARE THESE DAYS WE ARE LOSING AS FAR AS THE SCHOOL YEAR IS CONCERNED HOW WILL THEY BE MADE UP?

RALPH QUINTANA: WE HAVE SEEN MANY DIFFERENT THINGS OR WAYS THAT WERE MADE UP IN WEST VIRGINIA AND OKLAHOMA SOME SCHOOL DISTRICTS CHOSE TO EXTEND THE SCHOOL DAY, WE HAVE EARLY RELEASE DAYS FOR PD SOME SCHOOLS CHOSE TO KNOCK THOSE DAYS OUT AND THEN JUST CALL IT A FULL DAY TO MAKEUP THOSE HOURS. SOME ARE SAYING THEY MIGHT EXTEND THE SCHOOL YEAR A FEW DAYS AND HAVE THE PROMOTIONS AND GRADUATION ON THE NORMAL DATE PLAN AND GIVE THEM THEIR CERTIFICATE OR GRADUATION AT A LATER TIME AND WOULDN'T INTERFERE WITH FAMILIES COMING IN WHICH IS SUPER IMPORTANT THAT WE DO NOT INTERFERE WITH OUR KIDS LIVES AND FAMILY LIVES.

TED SIMONS: THERE IS A LOT OF CONCERN WITH GRADUATION AND COLLEGE SUBMISSIONS THEY GET THOSE IN TIME IF THEY DON'T HAVE THE GRADUATION DON'T HAVE THE DIPLOMA AND NUMBERS FOR THE LAST YEAR OF CLASSES THAT IS GOING TO BE DELAYED AND COULD HURT SOME KIDS.

RALPH QUINTANA: THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS MOST OF US KNOW WE CUTOFF GRADES WELL BEFORE PROMOTION OR GRADUATION BECAUSE WE HAVE NO CHOICE TO BECAUSE THESE ARE ALL THE FACTORS WE HAVE TO PUT IN. FOR EXAMPLE MY KIDS OVER BREAK WHEN I KNEW THIS WAS IMPENDING WAS GOING TO COME I GAVE THEM THEIR RESEARCH PROJECT SO THEY COULD HAVE THE ROUGH DRAFTS DONE WHEN WE CAME BACK AND FROM WHAT I'M HEARING A LOT OF US EDUCATORS DID ACTUALLY THE SAME THING

TED SIMONS: SO THAT IS NOT A CONCERN THEN.

RALPH QUINTANA: I DO NOT THINK IT IS A CONCERN FOR US AS TEACHERS. I THINK THERE HAS BEEN A PUBLIC IMPRESSION THAT THAT IS AWARE THAT THE PUBLIC NEEDS TO HAVE BUT I DON'T THINK ANY TEACHER THAT I KNOW OF ANY PRINCIPAL THAT I KNOW OF IS GOING TO JEOPARDIZE A CHILD'S FUTURE BECAUSE OF WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO FIGHT FOR WHICH IS FOR THEM.

TED SIMONS: BACK TO THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN HERE OKAY WE HAVE THE 20% BY 2020 WE HAVE ALL THAT KIND OF BUSINESS, THE GOVERNOR SAYS THAT THIS PLAN WAS SHAPED AND INFLUENCED BY EDUCATION LEADERS. IS HE RIGHT?

RALPH QUINTANA: DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU CALL AN EDUCATION LEADER IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT SOME CHARTER SCHOOL, BOARD MEMBERS AND TALKING ADORNETTO SOME SUPERINTENDENTS FROM SOME OF OUR BIGGEST DISTRICTS, YES, IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE RANKIN FILE TEACHER NO AND UNFORTUNATELY I THINK THAT'S WHY HE AND OTHERS ARE SEEING PUSH BACK AT THE STATE CAPITOL IS BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T COME TALK TO US, THEY DIDN'T TALK TO THE TEACHER ABOUT WHAT WE ARE MISSING. AND SOME OF THE REPORTS THAT I'M HEARING FROM THE TESTIMONY COMING OUT OF EDUCATORS AT THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE TODAY IT SOUNDS LIKE THEY ARE HEARING US NOW.

TED SIMONS: EXPLAIN THAT, WHY DO YOU SAY THAT?

RALPH QUINTANA: I HEARD A TEACHER, SHE WAS TELLING THEM, “IT IS ALMOST LIKE DON'T YOU CARE ABOUT THE STATUS OF MY STUDENTS.” HOW THEY ARE COMING TO US? KIDS COMING WITH SCABIES AND NOT BEING ABLE TO TREAT THEM, KIDS THAT HAVE TO GO HOME AND HAVE TO SLEEP ON THE FLOOR, THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT SOME OF US EDUCATORS ARE HAVING TO DEAL WITH IN THE CLASSROOM SO AND SOME OF THE THINGS THAT ARE GOING ACROSS TO GET THIS LEGISLATION OR TO FUND THIS LEGISLATION ARE TAKING BACK AWAY FROM OUR OWN FAMILIES.

TED SIMONS: YET THE GOVERNOR SENT OUT A LETTER TO PARENTS AND TRIED TO REASSURE THEM THAT HELP IS ON THE WAY, SAYS THINGS LIKE WE ARE DELIVERING ON OUR COMMITMENT TO OUR STUDENTS AND OUR TEACHERS AND WE ARE RESTORING RECESSION ERA CUTS. ARE YOU SAYING THAT'S NOT ENTIRELY ACCURATE?

RALPH QUINTANA: IT IS. HE IS DOING THAT. BUT IT'S HOW MUCH HE IS GIVING US AND WHEN HE IS GIVING IT TO US WHICH IS DISPUTABLE SO HIS PLAN WAS TO GIVE 100 MILLION AND ONE BILLION WE WERE SHORT THIS YEAR AND 70 SOMETHING FOR THE NEXT FOLLOWING THREE YEARS. WELL THAT IS STILL GOING TO LEAVE US 600 MILLION SHORT IN YEARLY FUNDING AFTER EVERYTHING IS DONE AND SO I'M A LITTLE BIT PERPLEXED AT HIS STATEMENT BECAUSE ALTHOUGH IT IS TRUE IT LEAVES OUT WHAT THE REALITY IS WHICH IS STILL WE ARE GOING TO BE QUITE A BIT SHORT OF WHAT WE USED TO GET BEFORE 2008 WHICH MEANS IT'S NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH NOW TO FIX THE PROBLEM.

TED SIMONS: YOU KNOW WE HAVE HEARD ABOUT THE INITIATIVE REGARDING AN INCOME TAX HIKE, WE HAVE HEARD A NUMBER OF IDEAS REGARDING A SALES TAX EXTENSION IS ALREADY IN BUT AS FAR AS AN INCREASE IN THE SALES TAX AND THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN HERE, WHAT IS THE STATE FEDERATION OF TEACHERS WHAT IS YOUR PLAN?

RALPH QUINTANA: WE HAVE SEEN MANY DIFFERENT PLANS COME TO US, I HEARD OF ONE THEY COMPARED AN ANALOGY OF THREE LEGS TO THE STOOL SO YOU HAVE PROPERTY TAX, INCOME TAX ON HIGHER WAGE EARNERS BECAUSE WE DON'T WANT TO OVER BURDEN THEM EITHER AND ALSO SALES TAX AND I THINK THAT'S A LITTLE BIT BETTER APPROACH SO YOU SPREAD IT OUT AND YOU ARE A LITTLE MORE FAIR ABOUT IT NOT TRYING TO MAKE ONE GROUP OF OUR POPULATION FUND EVERYTHING BUT SPREADING IT OUT THROUGH THE POPULATION OF ARIZONA SO WE CAN MORE CORRECTLY FUND OR FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD WE NEED TO INCREASE REVENUE. WE SIMPLY DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY FOR ALL THE NEEDED RESOURCES IN ARIZONA THAT WE SHOULD BE PAYING FOR.

TED SIMONS: IS THAT THREE LEGGED STOOL GAINING IN I KIND OF TRACTION?

RALPH QUINTANA: I HAVE GOTTEN A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM THE DEMOCRATS IN THE CAUCUS. I DID HAVE MY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WHO IS ACTUALLY A CARD CARRYING REPUBLICAN PASS IT ON TO A FEW DIFFERENT REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS. I DON'T KNOW IF THEY RESPONDED BACK TO AS OF YET BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN A LITTLE BIT BUSY DOWN THERE BUT WE ARE NOT AFRAID TO TALK SO AND I THINK THAT IS WHERE THIS HAS TO START AND BRING US TO THE TABLE TO DISCUSS PERHAPS A COMPROMISE THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY INCREASE THE REVENUE AND THEN INCREASE THE FUNDING THE EDUCATION THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING TO STOP IMPENDING TRAINER CRISIS.

TED SIMONS: WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME BUT THE LAST QUESTION DO YOU THINK THE TEACHERS ARE PUSHING THE PUBLIC'S PATIENCE.

RALPH QUINTANA: I ACTUALLY DO UNFORTUNATELY I THINK THE MESSAGE DIDN'T GO OUT CORRECTLY AT FIRST AND NOW IT'S STARTING TO BE CORRECTED BUT I THINK IT'S A LITTLE BIT TOO LATE. I THINK IF THE RAISE GOES THROUGH I THINK WE ARE GOING TO BE UNDER PRESSURE TO SAY TAKE IT AND GET BACK IN THE CLASSROOM AND DO YOUR JOBS AND IT'S UNFORTUNATE BECAUSE YOU WILL HAVE SOMEBODY LIKE ME TELLING YOU I TOLD YOU SO IN THE FALL AND SHORT WITH TEACHERS AND LONG TERM SUBS IN THE CLASSROOM AND TEACHERS LEAVING DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR AND HUGE CLASS SIZES AGAIN AND EVERYBODY IS GOING TO SCRATCH THEIR HEAD AND REMEMBER THE STATEMENT I TOLD YOU WHICH THIS IS NOT ENOUGH, IT'S NOT GOING TO FIX WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH IN THE CLASSROOM AND WE ARE GOING TO BE DEALING WITH THIS BOTH AT THE BUDGET AND AT THE BALLOT BOX IN THE FALL WHEN PEOPLE FIGURE OUT THAT WE WERE CORRECT

TED SIMONS: RALPH ARIZONA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS THANKS FOR JOINING US. GOOD TO HAVE YOU UP NEXT, ON ARIZONA HORIZON a NEW WAY FOR CONSUMERS TO FIND A LAWYER. STATE BAR OF ARIZONA IS LAUNCHING A NEW WAY TO FIND A LAWYER.

The teacher walkout continues for a fifth day, and President of the Arizona Federation of Teachers Ralph Quintana explains why and when it may stop.

The Glendale teacher says he doesn’t really know when it will stop because the legislature refuses to address the teachers’ other demands besides salary. They are pushing for more money in the classroom because the simple truth, Quintana says, is that teachers don’t have what they need to do their job.

Quintana gives the example of all-day kindergarten being funded at only 50 percent right now. As a result of that, kindergarten classroom sizes are in the 20s when they should be in the teens.

A lawsuit has been filed that addresses the need to get back the missing $1 billion for site classroom and capital funding – the remainder of $1.4 billion cut from education early in the recession. Classroom funding goes toward buildings and maintenance while capital funding provides curriculum, materials and other resources.

“It’s not surprising to me that many districts did what my district did and chose to close,” Quintana says. “It protects us from any kind of litigation.”

Governor Doug Ducey’s proposal to give teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020 is an undeniable win even if it’s not clear where the money will come from. Quintana says that even if that proposal does pass, his worry is that it won’t stop teachers from leaving the profession or the state.

“We’re still going to have teachers leaving in the middle of the school year and having to rely on long term subs,” Quintana says. “It’s just not enough. It’s not going to help what we’re dealing with in the classroom.”

To make up for the loss of school days, West Virginia and Oklahoma got rid of their early release days or added additional days at the end of the school year. They are going to keep graduation on the same day to not interfere with family plans, but the students will be given their certificate at a later date. Arizona is looking to go in the same direction.

Quintana says he thinks the teachers are starting to push the public’s patience. He says if the Ducey’s proposal goes through, he sees teachers being under pressure to take the win and go back to the classrooms.

Sponsor message:

In this segment:

Ralph Quintana: Teacher, Glendale School District; President, Arizona Federation of Teachers

Sponsor message:

Sign up to receive the Arizona PBS Insider

Get up-to-the-minute information about your favorite programs and learn more about Arizona PBS news and events.

'Great Performances' celebrates Chicago's diverse musical heritage with 'Chicago Voices'

"Sherlock" returns for an encore of Season 4

Follow the world's most beloved detective in Sherlock as season 4 returns for an encore performance.

'Wonders of Mexico' takes you into the country's tropical rainforests

Travel south along Mexico’s mountain spine in another Summer of Adventure show, “Wonders of Mexico.”