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Classrooms closed in Arizona, Colorado for second day

by Leigh Jones
Posted 4/27/18, 12:47 pm

Teachers in Arizona and Colorado continued their walkouts Friday, forcing many schools in both states to remain closed for a second day. About 50,000 teachers marched to the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Thursday to demand $1 billion more in classroom funding, on top of the 20 percent pay raise proposed by Gov. Doug Ducey. Lawmakers have so far balked at the spending increases. More than 840,000 students had to stay home Thursday and Friday, forcing parents to scramble for child care. And the strike could extend into next week. One large district in Phoenix initially announced it would reopen Monday but reversed course after protest movement leaders hinted teachers might not be ready to go back to work. “We want to make sure we can gauge the membership about what they want to do,” said Derek Harris, an organizer with Arizona Educators United. During an interview on KTAR radio, Ducey, a Republican, urged teachers to be reasonable with their demands: “We’re going to get this 20 percent pay increase, we’re going to get $100 million for support staff and other needs. And then if there’s still a teacher strike, I don’t think that will make sense to parents, I don’t think that will make sense to kids.”

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Leigh Jones

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.

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  • Laura W
    Posted: Fri, 04/27/2018 07:28 pm

    In the private sector, unions have to be somewhat reasonable if they don't want the company to bankrupt itself trying to meet their demands. But in the public sector, there's always the option to keep increasing taxes (or debt) to pay for it. How much do they have to ask for before a state decides to find itself some new teachers?

  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 04/27/2018 10:43 pm

    It takes 4 years of college in some, 5 years of college in other states, to become a teacher. In my state, and I understand in surrounding states too, some teachers start off at less than $30,000 annual salary. Getting other teachers isn’t really all that easy, in fact, if salaries aren’t increased it’s likely there will be increased numbers of teachers leaving the profession. 

    I do not know how other states fund education, but in my state—Arkansas—each school district funds its schools from a combination of local taxes and state funds. Thus, poor districts have a lot less money and pay much lower salaries than well-off districts. There are quite a few states where AVERAGE teacher starting salaries are under $35,000. Naturally teachers try to get hired by better paying districts, so some districts have difficulty filling positions year after year. 

  • Wheat
    Posted: Sun, 04/29/2018 06:51 pm

    My sister, an Arizona teacher, is currently being told by the union that she is not allowed to go in to her classroom even to grade papers during the walkouts. She supports additional funding for education, but is leary of the "Red for Ed" movement driving the current protests. FWIW, the "Red for Ed" movement is being organized and driven by an out-of-state Democrat operative: