AZ teacher of the year says proposed budget lacks education funds

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Education funding is among the more controversial aspects of the state budget that’s moving its way through the legislature. Earlier today, we talked about the budget with Sara Wyfells, the 2021 Arizona teacher of the year.

Wyfells said that she feels there’s been an extreme politicization of her profession in the state and that she feels protective over it.

“During the pandemic, there was a real spotlight that shined on our public schools and the services that they provided for our children.”

She said that seeing the budget leaning towards funding more vouchers rather than directly funding the schools makes her frustrated. Wyfells said that she sees the effects of the changed budget in her classroom every day.

Wyfells said that she moved to Arizona 15 years ago at the beginning of the recession, and “when the slashing of Arizona public schools was beginning”. At the time, she didn’t see a raise for years and was promised that the funding would be restored. Now, she’s left asking where the restoration of that funding is.

She also said that lowering her class size would considerably increase her ability to teach.

“Lowering the class sizes seems like it’s just something on a list but it’s not. It’s so much more involved than that because it’s the layers of humanity that connect with lowering the class size, and how much more efficient and effective we can be when we lower the class size.”

If Wyfells was called by a governor for her input, she would say exactly what she said about the class sizes. She would also try and combat the teacher shortage as much as possible, which is an issue that has been occurring for a while now.

Sara Wyffels, 2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year

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