The Truth About Pensions

As a retired public school educator with more than 31 years devoted to serving thousands of Arizona’s students and their families, I am concerned that the public has been given some misinformation about public pensions. Since this is a personal issue for me (and tens of thousands of other working and retired educators), here are some facts about my pension that they need to know. Throughout my working career in public schools, I paid into my state retirement, the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS), which was matched with contributions from my employer, the school district. During those years, I accepted lower pay than I could have gotten in the private sector because I loved my professio

Time For Action

I retired from my sixth grade classroom 10 years ago. I started working in the public school system prior to the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, when a teacher's main focus was the act of teaching - not the act of testing. Because a school district did not have to spend so much of their money on tests and test services, there was more money to support our students in their learning. The teaching and learning environment changed dramatically over the last 10 years. But, thanks to the dedicated advocacy of parent groups, active educators, and retired educators, lawmakers passed the Every Student Succeeds Act – with a dashboard that monitors how students are served by their school.

Speak Up For Public Education

Every day there are serendipitous moments when retired and active educators are able to reach out to community members to help them understand the issues facing public education today. Just this past Monday, my wife Sylvia and I found ourselves in just that kind of situation. We were sitting in our insurance agent's office updating our information. When the agent realized we are retired teachers, she told us with some pride that her husband was a high school teacher AT A NEARBY CHARTER SCHOOL. We gently enlightened her about the growing threat to traditional public education schools and their students in states like Arizona. We now live in New Mexico. She opened up and told us about th

You Can Make a Difference

The Governor and many others are saying that the passage of Proposition 123 was a good start, a first step, in providing the much need funding for public education. Now we want to hear about the second step. Restoring the 1.2 billions dollars that were cut during the recession would be a good start to fund schools adequately. We need to join with the many organizations in Arizona that are continuing the fight to restore the funding needed. We need to continue to lobby our elected leaders to stand up for kids. And those that continue to ignore the importance of a well-funded public school system need to be replaced. It is time to hold legislators' feet to the fire. What is their plan for

Elections Have Consequences

You and I are among a relatively small group of older women who enjoy decent pensions. Many women of our generation do not qualify for retirement benefits because they took time away from the workplace, or worked part time, to raise children or tend to aging parents. As a result, the majority over 70 rely on Social Security for most of their income, with an average monthly check of around $1,300. For most women reaching retirement age today, however, their situation is still generally worse than that of their male counterparts. Women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older, while women between the ages of 75 and 79 are three times more likely than men to be

You Know, I've Still Got It

Actress Helen Mirren still has it - and so do I. What am I talking about? You guessed it - the ability to create change, one action at a time. This is what we spent our careers doing - and in order to keep our retirement security strong, I'm going to need your help. Let's make certain that those elected in the AZ PRIMARIES (that's where 95% of our elections for the state legislature are decided) are those who know, understand and want to safeguard the value of ASRS. Gov. Ducey and ASU President Michael Crow have stated that they will bring a bill in January 2017 to topple the Arizona State Retirement Security System. Find out more by visiting the "Issues and Resources" section of azedre

Summertime Blahs?

This could be the summer that everything changes. We are fighting the same fights that we were fighting when I retired 10 years ago. The same fights as when I was a new teacher 40 years ago. It all amounts to the same thing - when those in policy-making positions don't hold the same values we hold for public education we will continue fighting the same fights with every new state legislature. So let's make this summer different. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work. Send me an email to be connected to a legislative candidate race that could change things in Arizona.

Knock Knock ... Who's There?

I love it! I volunteer once or twice a month on a Saturday morning to knock doors for a candidate. I knock doors and tell the people I meet at the door that I am a retired teacher working to change the legislature so that it reflects more of the values that I hold: that students have access to a good public school system, and the retirement security I earned through my teaching career is kept safe. Neither of those are true of the current state legislature. Call me. Get involved with me. Please, join me as I meet so many great people at their doors. It's how we make change.

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© 2016 by Julie Horwin


345 East Palm Lane

Phoenix, AZ 85255


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