Arizona teacher walkout? Red for Ed gets Capitol permits for Friday

Teachers demonstrate as part of the Red for Ed movement in Arizona

Teachers demonstrate as part of the Red for Ed movement in Arizona. Credit AP

With over 57,000 votes from across the state, 78% over education workers voted April 19 in favor of a walk out.

Chandler Unified School District Superintendent Camille Casteel said in an email to parents on Thursday that "We have been reassured by leaders of the movement that there is no walkout planned for Friday", but Noah Karvelis, an organizer of Arizona Educators United said that wasn't necessarily true because they don't know the results of the vote yet, according to a KTAR News 92.3 FM story.

"We either think short-term or we think long-term", said Pamela Simon, a teacher at Bioscience High School in downtown Phoenix.

Oklahoma teachers followed suit and protested the 28 percent drop in education funding over the past decade. "And now they're extending the people that they would like to get raises".

Karvelis said he hopes to avoid backlash through community outreach. But he also is moving funds around from other state programs and scrapping some requests by agencies from what they say are needed dollars. "It's where we congregate now".

The Arizona Red for Ed movement is part of a national outcry from teachers and education advocates about low salaries that has seen success in other parts of the country.

Rep. Tom O'Halleran said a strike isn't ideal but teachers and school staff need adequate pay.

This is the first ever strike called for teachers statewide.

Ducey tried to forestall a strike last week by proposing to meet one of the protesters' chief complaints via a 20 percent teacher pay raise implemented in phases between now and 2020.

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The online genesis of the Arizona movement cropped up outside of organized labor.

Earlier this week, education advocates spoke in support of Ducey's proposal at a press conference at the State Capitol in Phoenix sponsored by Arizona Association of School Business Officials, Arizona Rural Schools Association, Arizona School Boards Association, Arizona School Administrators, Education Finance Reform Group, East Valley Institute of Technology and the JTED Consortium. "For instance, while budget analysts anticipate $46 million in new, ongoing revenues in the coming fiscal year, Ducey's budget plans for $156 million", according to the Arizona Capitol Times. Arizona Educators United, the group that conducted walk-ins Wednesday in a continuing series of protests, is gathering ballots through Thursday.

"When I think of his proposal, it's an attempt to divide us", she said. Teachers recognize the important role local schools play in the lives of children, and it's time politicians did the same. Arizona educators and school employees will walk out of their classrooms Thursday, April 26, 2018. Teachers, counselors and other school employees are voting on whether or not to conduct a statewide walk-out.

"Our textbooks have missing pages and are not even in the 2000s, some of them", she said.

In the Senate, President Steve Yarbrough said teachers might pay a big political price if they strike.

"It's not just about our pay and that's one of the reasons we are not satisfied with what Gov. Ducey said the other day", said teacher Natalie Peck. Mr. Morejon, who said he doesn't belong to a union, is continuing to push for new funding for public education. "How much longer are we going to wait and allow education to crumble in Arizona?".

Once it started, the group grew quickly; within six hours of adding members to the newly created group, it had 17,000 members. "The proposal by Ducey is unsettling because there is no permanent source of funding".

Beth Becker, a social media coach and strategist in progressive politics, said that social media is "the great democratizer" and thus a powerful organizing tool.

If schools were closed due to any possible strike, the school year would be extended to make up the days, DVUSD said in an FAQ about the situation. Marches and demonstrations are still necessary to draw attention to a cause, Ms. Becker said, citing the Parkland, Fla., students becoming activists to change gun laws and spurring the March for Our Lives. "You can't get everything at once after years of neglect", he said. You can read that ONLINE HERE.

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