Teachers in Arizona, Colorado begin statewide strikes
by Leigh Jones
Posted 4/26/18, 12:06 pm
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appealed to parents Thursday to help persuade state lawmakers to give public school teachers a raise. The unusual request came just hours before as many as 50,000 educators are expected to march to the state Capitol in Phoenix to demand pay raises and an increase in classroom funding. Ducey, a Republican, has pledged to work toward a 20 percent salary increase by 2020, but teachers voted last week to strike anyway. Lawmakers have so far rejected Ducey’s proposal, saying they don’t know how they can pay for it. Teacher groups also question Ducey’s claim that increased revenue will cover the expense, leaving the plan with little support from either side. The walkout prompted more than 100 Arizona school districts and charter schools to close, including the largest school systems in Phoenix, Mesa, and Tucson. On Wednesday evening, teachers and volunteers packed food boxes to distribute to families of students who rely on school meals for a majority of their daily nutrition. More than 840,000 Arizona students are expected to be out of school Thursday, but the strike could extend into Friday as well. Meanwhile, in neighboring Colorado, more than 10,000 teachers are expected to walk out of their classrooms to attend rallies in Denver. More than half the state’s students will be out of class Thursday and Friday.
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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.