by: Editor, SON HUELGAZ
Governor of Arizona Doug Ducey has got himself in quite a bind. While Arizonans sick with covid fill the hospitals at the highest rates in the country, our Ice-Cream-Scooper-in-Chief summoned the laser focus necessary to insist on a murderous policy. In his January State of the State address, Governor Ducey made it clear that he intends to open the schools “cueste lo que cueste” – whatever the cost: no matter how many of our students’ grandparents die; no matter how many mothers and fathers are bed ridden for days or weeks; no matter the strain on medical personnel; no matter how many educators and frontline workers are trampled in the stampede back to pre-covid levels of exploitation.
“… it’s time to get our students back where they belong. With every public-health professional, from Dr. Fauci and the CDC on down, saying that the safest place for kids to be is in school, we will not be funding empty seats or allowing schools to remain in a perpetual state of closure. Children still need to learn, even in a pandemic.”from the Governor’s website
Why would he pursue this type of insanity? What could make him take such a drastic course? The answer is simple: employers. Under capitalism, if one’s workers are at home watching their kids, one’s workers are not at work generating profits for their employer. So logically, Arizona employers see it as their duty to pressure the Governor to open the schools. This way, with all haste, the kids can leave the house and workers can return to be exploited.
The drive back into the unsafe classroom has met resistance from individual teachers, independent educator groups, and unions alike. From individual teachers resigning to large sick-out protests, educators are not happy about this decision and resentment is growing. While resistance is building in Valley school districts such as Dysart, Peoria, Deer Valley, Gilbert, and Chandler, the Superintendents have plowed ahead, defeating most of these disparate efforts. Still, education workers know the stakes are high and momentum is building for coordinated actions.
Can Doug Ducey resist the pressure from employers and stick to the CDC guidelines? Or will he cave to Arizona capitalists, whose thirst for lucre is unquenchable? I think we know the answer to this question already. But, like we experienced in 2018 with the state-wide RedforEd walk-out, if any force can stop the reckless drive to open the schools, it is the organized power of educators – teachers, bus drivers, secretaries, cafeteria workers, maintenance workers, everyone. We must keep fighting until it’s safe.