Some Arizona teachers are starting to run for public office

Some Arizona teachers, who joined the #RedForEd walkouts, are now seeking new jobs as state lawmakers.

The historic statewide teacher walkout earlier this month emphasized the unmet needs of more than a million public school children. Parents were watching.

"Whether they are Republican, Democrat, or something in between, they want their kids to get a good education," said Joe Bisaccia, a teacher in the Higley Unified School District, who is running for District 12 State Representative.

"This election is a referendum on public education," said Eric Kurland, a Scottsdale teacher running for District 23 State Representative. 

At least seven current or former public school teachers in Arizona have launched political campaigns for seats in the state legislature. In those roles, the education experts would have a direct say in policy and statewide school budgets.

During the teacher walkout this spring, Arizona lawmakers did pass a 10 percent teachers raise and a funding increase for classroom supplies. Teachers say that fails to cover all the recession-era cuts or to make Arizona competitive with other states.

"We are $3,900 below average in per pupil funding, and right now the same people who burned down the village are coming out with a garden hose and trying to take credit for putting out a fire," Kurland said.

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