Marsh: We need to pass the Scottsdale Schools override renewal

I spent almost all of my time as Arizona’s 2016 Teacher of the Year just trying to make sure students’ learning and lives didn’t get worse.

Christine Marsh

While the teachers of the year in other states were implementing programs to enhance students’ learning, I focused almost 100% on trying to stop the bleeding.

The teachers in other states had cool initiatives, like creating a music-across-the-curriculum, or publishing books of students’ work, or creating an entire anti-bullying campaign for a state that was experiencing an uptick in bullying behavior.

I was — and still am — jealous, because in Arizona, our schools are so underfunded that we need to approach every issue from the perspective of a triage nurse: Will whatever-it-is reduce class size or help retain teachers? If the answer to that is “no,” the idea needs to be shelved for now.

Our students already suffer through having the fourth highest class sizes in the nation; tens-of-thousands of kids are in classrooms without certified teachers because we have a teacher shortage that has reached epic proportions; they face the highest student-to-counselor ratio of any state in the nation; we have school buildings that are quite literally falling apart; and I could go on. And on.

— Chrstine Marsh, Scottsdale educator

On Nov. 5, Scottsdale residents will have the opportunity to make sure our students’ lives don’t get worse. We need to pass the override. We have to pass it. If we don’t, our students will suffer more than they already do—with class sizes that even larger than they already are.

For those of you who are saying that the override is not enough — I agree. However, it’s the best we can do right now, in this election. If residents want to be in a position of actually making sure students thrive, instead of merely surviving, then we need to elect different legislators to serve at our state capitol.

Until then, we have to ensure that their lives don’t get worse. Trust me…I know what a raw deal it is to fight so hard to merely make sure things don’t get worse, because I did it for a solid year as Arizona’s Teacher of the Year.

We need to do it, though: Vote “yes” on SUSD’s override on Nov. 5.

Editor’s note: Ms. Marsh is a longtime Scottsdale educator, recently named Teach of the Year

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