The Pinnacle High School teacher has dedicated the last 18 months to cultivating awareness about a dire reality in our state: There are only 159 physics teachers in Arizona.
Mike Vargas has no problem speaking his mind and articulating the problem at hand. But the 2016 Arizona Teacher of the Year Ambassador for Excellence admits getting people of power to listen to teachers in this state is a challenge. But that didn’t stop him from launching Senate Bill 1038: High-Quality Teacher Professional Development Pilot Program.
“I don’t think policymakers understand what is taking place right now and the severity of where we are. From the science perspective, they should listen to the data and what it tells you, right or left, and make a decision based on that. As a science person, I tackle everything just like the scientific method. I identify the problem, do the research, create a test, draw some results, and repeat,” Vargas says.
This time, Vargas didn’t have to repeat. Governor Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1038 into law on May 8, after a year and a half of hard work.