Arizona Educators United
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Arizona teachers gear up for statewide protest

April 10, 2018
Following movements in other states, Arizona teachers pressure legislature to boost education funding

Across Arizona, parents, teachers, schools boards and superintendents are bracing for the possibility of a walkout as educators seek 20 percent pay raises and more education funding.

The Arizona Republic reports that educators at more than 1,000 Arizona public schools are expected to participate Wednesday in non-disruptive "walk-in" demonstrations as part of the #RedForEd movement.

The demonstrations, which will mostly happen before the start of the school day, are intended to build more support from parents and school administrators. 

Organizers with Arizona Educators United, a teacher-led grassroots group that launched the state's #RedForEd movement, say the demonstrations will help determine whether they will set a date for a statewide walkout.

Arizona is following West Virginia and Oklahoma, where teachers have publicly revolted over the low pay that ranks them among the worst compensated in the nation and years of cuts to education funding following the recession.

Since early March, Arizona educators have swarmed the state Capitol in protest and threatened to walk out if Gov. Doug Ducey and the Legislature don't act on their demands for pay raises and the restoration of $1 billion in education funding cuts.

The push from teachers for a walkout seemed to grow following the March 21 teacher sickout that closed nine West Valley schools, and again after Oklahoma teachers walked out on April 2.

The Legislature is expected to adjourn its session in the next few weeks and is already in the midst of budget negotiations.

Mark Joraanstad, executive director of Arizona School Administrators, says administrators are hoping teachers don't walk out of classrooms and that state lawmakers resolve the issue.

But behind the scenes, superintendents are discussing the logistics of a work stoppage. 

They've been meeting among themselves and talking to lawyers and school leaders in Oklahoma and West Virginia, to figure out their legal options.

They are also determining how many days they'd be willing to support a teacher walkout.

West Virginia teachers were on strike for nine consecutive school days. Oklahoma teachers have been off the job for six school days—and counting. 

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