US Arizona teachers demanding raise will protest at schools

15:01  11 april  2018
15:01  11 april  2018 Source:   Associated Press

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The demands were unveiled by the grassroots group Arizona Educators United at a Capitol protest organized in conjunction with Save Our Schools Arizona The demands also include competitive pay for education support professionals, a permanent teacher salary structure with annual raises , and a

PHOENIX (AP) — Thousands of teachers descended on the Arizona state Capitol on Wednesday to demand a 20 percent pay raise and increases A sickout– where teachers collectively take sick leave as a form of protest — that was held last week by Pendergast Elementary School District teachers

Arizona teachers protest their low pay and school funding in front of a local radio station waiting for Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to show up for a live broadcast Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Phoenix. Arizona teachers are threatening a statewide walkout, following the lead of educators in other states. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)© The Associated Press Arizona teachers protest their low pay and school funding in front of a local radio station waiting for Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to show up for a live broadcast Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Phoenix. Arizona teachers are threatening a statewide walkout, following the lead of educators in other states. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Teachers will be wearing red shirts and walking arm-in-arm at around a thousand schools across Arizona to show solidarity in their demand for higher salaries.

Wednesday's "walk-ins" are part of a grassroots movement pushing for a 20 percent raise and more than $1 billion in new education funding. Arizona's demonstration is part of a wave of educators demanding higher pay that started in West Virginia where teachers successfully won a 5 percent raise after a statewide strike.

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The demands were unveiled by the grassroots group Arizona Educators United at a Capitol protest organized in conjunction with Save Our Schools Arizona The demands also include competitive pay for education support professionals, a permanent teacher salary structure with annual raises , and a

Pre-recession funding was billion higher than current figures, according to education funding advocates at AZ Schools Now. BREAKING: Arizona Educators United demands 20% pay raise for teachers at #RedforEd protest . #azfamily.

Oklahoma teachers have walked out in protest over educating funding, and Kentucky educators called in sick to protest pension reform.

Arizona Educators United has mobilized teachers and supporters across the state through their #RedforEd campaign. In addition to a 20 percent pay bump, they're seeking increased pay for support professionals, a permanent raise structure, and a freeze on corporate tax cuts until per-pupil spending reaches the national average.

Noah Karvelis, a co-founder of Arizona Educators United, said while the request for raises has received the most attention, teachers are ultimately fighting for their students.

"Our teachers are part of it, but we're having kids learning in abysmal situations — no paper towels in the classrooms, no textbooks in the classroom, no chairs or not enough chairs for kids," he said. "We're essentially throwing away a whole generation of Arizonans and their futures and that's unacceptable."

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Arizona teachers and education advocates march at the Arizona Capitol protesting low teacher pay and school funding Wednesday, March 28, 2018, in PHOENIX (AP) — Thousands of teachers descended on the Arizona state Capitol on Wednesday to demand a 20 percent pay raise and

Arizona teachers and education advocates shouts as they march at the Arizona Capitol highlighting low teacher pay and school funding Wednesday, March 28, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin).

So far, Gov. Doug Ducey and the Republican-controlled legislature haven't budged to the group's demands. The governor has stuck by his proposal for a 1 percent increase this year, while pledging that other fund hikes will come down the road.

A lack of legislative action could trigger a massive job action. On Monday, Arizona Educators United told their 35,000 Facebook members to prepare for a possible walk-out this week that would close schools. It urged members to ensure their students have places to go during the day, and to check that superintendents and school boards are aware of the actions.

Arizona teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arizona elementary teachers earned a median wage of $43,280 in 2017 and high school teachers $46,470, the 3rd and 6th lowest in the nation, respectively. Adjusted for local cost of living, federal figures show elementary teachers actually rank 49th in earnings and high school teachers 48th.

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AP writer Bob Christie contributed to this report.

The average Arizona teacher is paid less today than in 1999 .
The average Arizona teacher is paid less today than in 1999. They voted for a statewide walkout, which will start next Thursday if their demands aren't met before then.

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