State leader under fire after calling teachers unions 'crybabies'

State leader under fire after calling teachers unions 'crybabies'
Alison Knight is angered by Hamer's comments, and invites him to her classroom to see what her day looks like. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Alison Knight is angered by Hamer's comments, and invites him to her classroom to see what her day looks like. (Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A state leader is in hot water for his recent comments on educators.

Glenn Hamer, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO, sparked outrage when he called teachers unions "crybabies" for trying to get teachers higher wages.

"It's amazing to me that the teachers unions are out there like a bunch of crybabies screaming about the difficulty of getting additional pay to teachers," he said in the Yellow Sheet Report.

The comment was made in criticism of the Arizona Education Association and other education organizations for supporting Prop. 206, which increased minimum wage to $10 on Jan. 1.

Hamer later said he misspoke and released this statement:

"As the son of two public school educators, I am constitutionally incapable of criticizing our state's teachers. To claim otherwise is fake news.

Alison Knight has been teaching at Holaway Elementary School for five years, but has been working with kids for 14.

She is still upset over the comments Hamer made, even after he issued a statement.

"It frustrated me beyond belief," she said.

Knight works for the Amphitheater Public Schools, where the average salary is $39,696.31 per year.

Now she's calling on Hamer to come to her classroom see how hard teachers work every day.

"I'm not just a teacher from 7 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon," Knight said. "I'm a teacher. I am a parent. I'm a counselor. I'm a  nurse. I'm a shoulder to cry on. So come on in and I would love to see how you handle those jobs for one day, and then tell me that I am a crybaby because I would like to have a reasonable salary."

Hamer said he was criticizing those who helped fund Prop 206, which he believes took money out of classrooms to pay for other positions at schools.

"Instead of giving schools discretion on where to spend money, Prop. 206 gave raises to positions like cooks and crossing guards, when it could have gone to increased teacher salaries," he said.

Tucson News Now reached out to Hamer's office. They consider the matter settled, and Hamer has not issued an apology.

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