Teachers At Phoenix School Choose Field Trip Over Walkout
In the midst of a historic walkout, some Arizona teachers reported for work Thursday.
Julie Schenk teaches fifth grade at Fireside Elementary in the Paradise Valley School District. Even though she supports the strike, she and her colleagues showed up to work Thursday to wrangle their kids onto buses and head north to a camp in Prescott.
The trip is a rite of passage for fifth graders at the school.
“We knew that this was what we needed to do for the kids,” Schenk said. “The hard part is not being there with our colleagues.”
She’s been an Arizona educator for 10 years, and before that, she worked in Chicago. That’s part of what’s made the state’s low salaries so frustrating.
“I still don’t make what I made in Chicago in 1997,” Schenk said of her salary.
Fellow fifth-grade teacher Mary Ann Neill estimated she makes $180 more per paycheck than when she started teaching in 2001. She has since earned a master’s degree.
“We’ve been suffering for a while,” Neill said.
The teachers aren’t sure what will have happened when they return from their field trip Friday night, but they hopes change is coming.