Education advocacy groups are looking forward to the upcoming legislature session. We spoke with Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, Chris Kotterman, director of governmental relations for the Arizona School Boards Association and Sara Wyffels, Arizona’s 2021 Teacher of the Year, about their goals for this year.
COVID-19 and Education
A top priority for education advocacy is navigating educating during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We need to focus on the current crisis we’re in and looking for support coming in,” Thomas said. According to Wyffels, schools are seeing more teachers out of school due to being sick or on FMLA leave. “There are substitutes in the classroom that aren’t necessarily fully qualified to be taking a long term sub job,” Wyffels said. Additional funding, according to Thomas, will make sure schools can open to in-person instruction safely and sustainably. Thomas hopes the legislature will move away from the politicization of the virus and move toward keeping the schools safe.