Arizona teachers approve walkout
by Leigh Jones
Posted 4/20/18, 11:04 am
A majority of Arizona public school teachers voted to stage a statewide walkout April 26 to call for higher wages. According to the Arizona Education Association, 78 percent of the 57,000 teachers who participated in the vote approved the strike. “This is undeniably, clearly, a mandate for action,” said Joe Thomas, the association’s president. After weeks of protests capped by a “walk-in” last week, during which teachers left the classroom briefly to hold rallies on their school campuses, Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, vowed to give educators a 20 percent raise by 2020, but union organizers said that plan didn’t address broader classroom funding or money for support staff. Other critics say the $650 million price tag is too high. The Arizona PTA pulled its support for the proposal, calling it unrealistic. Budget analysts predict the raises would create a $265 million deficit in 2020. Ducey disputes those figures, claiming new revenue will cover the increase. Teachers could face the revocation of their licenses over the walkout, although such a punitive measure seems unlikely. The biggest losers will be students who miss a day of instruction, parents who must scramble to find childcare, and hourly support staff who will not get paid when districts close for the day.
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Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.