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Week in Review: Where Money for Teachers Is Really Going

May 15, 2021

We hear it all the time, a clamoring for more money for teacher salaries. But what we don’t hear about so often is where education funding actually goes—and whether dollars reach teachers’ pocketbooks. In a new report, the Goldwater Institute uncovered a shocking truth: School districts in Arizona rerouted millions of dollars that lawmakers intended for teachers.

In a new report, The Truth about Teacher Pay in Arizona: How Arizona School Districts Have Held Back Teacher Salaries, Blamed Lawmakers, and Continually Captured Public Sympathy, Goldwater Institute Education Policy Director Matt Beienburg found that during the 2019-2020 school year alone, teachers received at least $170 million less from their school districts in salary increases than Arizona taxpayers provided for.

In 2018, Arizona state lawmakers approved the “20×2020” plan to send hundreds of millions of new dollars to public school districts so they could raise average teacher salaries by 20%. But data revealed in Goldwater’s report suggests that most of that money never made it—at least, not to teachers. Here’s one chart that gives a glimpse into a much larger story:

After accounting for the dollars teachers would have received anyway, districts used their 20×2020 dollars to provide just a 6% ($3,000) raise in average teacher salaries through 2019-2020, far short of the funded target of more than $7,000 for that year.

Unfortunately, school districts have established a decades-long pattern of this behavior.State lawmakers—and their constituents—may wish to rethink their participation in this cycle, and they can start by reading more in Goldwater’s new report here.

What the White House Really Thinks about Critical Race Theory

This week brought another insight into how the Biden Administration sees the teaching of a radical new view of America under which activists are rewriting school textbooks, mobs are eroding freedom of speech, and the virtues of hard work and commitment we hold dear are being eviscerated. That philosophy is known as Critical Race Theory, and its toxic precepts are being rapidly adopted by corporations, colleges, and even K-12 schools.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked for President Joe Biden’s perspective on American colleges teaching these radical ideas—including that the United States is systemically racist. Psaki’s answer revealed precisely where the president stands on this perverted view of our nation. “I don’t think we would think we believe that educating the youth, next leaders of the future, leaders of the country, on systemic racism is indoctrination. That’s actually responsible,” she said.

Parents, though, would beg to disagree. This week in Loudoun County, Va., moms and dads raised their voices at a school board meeting objecting to the teaching of Critical Race Theory in their schools.

“Critical race theory is not an honest dialogue, it is a tactic that was used by Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan on slavery very many years ago to dumb down my ancestors so we could not think for ourselves,” Shawntel Cooper said at the Loudoun County School Board meeting Tuesday. “Critical race theory is racist, it is abusive, it discriminates against one’s color. … You can not tell me what is or is not racist.”

Unfortunately, the Biden Administration is furthering efforts to insert Critical Race Theory into school curriculum. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it plans to use taxpayer money for K-12 schools to advocate the idea that America is systemically racist, and anyone who thinks differently, children included, are part of the problem—whether students know it or not.

The Goldwater Institute is working to ensure that parents know exactly what is being taught in classrooms so that they can be fully informed in making the best educational choices for their children. We’re working with states to pass academic transparency legislation that would require schools to fully disclose, online, the content that’s actually going into children’s learning so parents can make informed enrollment decisions. You can learn more about Critical Race Theory here and academic transparency here.

In Case You Missed It: Government Employees Are Paid NOT to Work

It seems hard to believe: Government employees are getting paid not to do the job they were hired to do, but to work full-time for private labor unions, all on taxpayers’ dime. But not only is it happening—it’s incredibly common in cities and school districts across the country. Earlier this year, the Goldwater Institute hosted a webinar conversation that laid bare the truth about the unfair and unconstitutional practice known as release time—and what can be done about it. You can watch that event here. If you’re interested in watching other Goldwater Institute events, you can watch 14 of our live-streamed events here.



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