The vote for a teacher walkout received a 75 percent approval rating, but those who opposed the decision weren’t quiet about their reasons.
A counter-movement against Red for Ed called Purple for Parents was created on April 30 and gained thousands of online followers in a matter of days. Founder Forest Moriarty says he created Purple for Parents as a space for people who disagreed with the walkout to talk about it.
“I started this group to give a voice to parents who felt that the Red for Ed movement was not really aligned with their own personal belief,” Moriarty says. “There was no place to talk about it. If you disagreed with them, you would be shouted out… There were also kids, support staff and teachers who didn’t agree with the walkout. The Red for Ed people have made their coworkers, parents and kids uncomfortable by doing this.”
Jennifer Hill is a former teacher and current substitute, and she says she was okay with teachers getting raises but she disagreed with the methods that were being used. She says “as soon as they decided to abandon our children and leave them and leave their classrooms,” she was unable to support them anymore.
The teachers continued to get paid salary while they were on the walkout, but support staff like Hill missed five days of pay. That resulted in Hill losing hundreds of dollars, she says. Parents were negatively affected as well. Moriarty says he was fortunate because he works from home so he could look after his two sons, but many parents aren’t so lucky.
Moriarty says he has always seen teaching as a job of passion and not money. He says he originally supported the Red for Ed movement because he wanted to see teachers receive more money. However, he doesn’t want that to happen irresponsibly.
“They rushed into a walkout. They were going to get most of what they wanted, and they still walked out,” Moriarty says. “What changed in that time frame? Virtually nothing. They walked out and caused all of this harm to our community. Our demand is that they do get a pay raise, but it has to be financially responsible.”
Hill says while she agree with pay raises for teachers, she doesn’t believe in blanket raises. She says the raises should be based on merit because there are some teachers that have degrees beyond a bachelor’s who are getting paid just as much as teachers who barely put in any work.
The teacher walkout lasted for five school days, and ended on Thursday, May 3. It ended with Governor Doug Ducey signing a budget that plans on giving teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020.