What will it take for Arizona teachers to strike? Here's what they said
Will Arizona teachers strike? That question has swirled for weeks as educators rally for higher wages and more school funding.
Leaders of the grassroots Arizona Educators United unveiled a list of demands last week, and said they'd wait to see how Gov. Doug Ducey and the Legislature respond as budget negotiations advance.
But this week, as Oklahoma teachers walked out and Arizona Republican leadership remained relatively mum on the demands, some teachers are pushing for a walkout sooner than later.
Arizona Educators United also released on its private Facebook page three goals it wants to accomplish before teachers walk out.
READ MORE ABOUT #REDFORED:
- Arizona teachers demand 20 percent raises, more money for students
- Ducey, GOP lawmakers react to Arizona teachers' demand for 20 percent raises
- Montini: Will #RedForEd teachers strike … or fold?
40,000 Arizonans to sign Support for the Demands statements
Noah Karvelis and Dylan Wegela, both teachers and leaders in Arizona Educators United, list their demands during a #RedForEd rally at the Arizona state Capitol. David Wallace/azcentral.com
- 20 percent salary increase.
- Competitive pay for all education support staff.
- Permanent salary structure that includes annual raises.
- Restore education funding to 2008 levels. This would require adding about $1 billion more in state funding to education.
- No new tax cuts until per-pupil funding reaches the national average.
As of Thursday afternoon, 26,208 people had signed the statement.
1,000 schools to participate in walk-ins
Arizona Educators United has planned a statewide school walk-in day for Wednesday. So far, 1,831 school liaisons have indicated their school will hold an event that day.
Participating schools have begun contacting teachers, students and parents and invited them to gather wearing red and walk into school together. Most events are scheduled before school so as not to disrupt class time.
Organizers are asking walk-in participants to fill out an online form at arizonaea.org/walkin indicating they participated.
Dozens of schools held walk-ins on their own on Wednesday. As of Thursday afternoon, 2,051 people had signed the form saying they'd already participated.
Thousands of #RedForEd Arizona teachers rally for more education funding at the state Capitol in Phoenix on March 28, 2018. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral.com
30,000 school staff and supporters to sign the Walk Out Pledge
This pledge at arizonaea.org/walkout states the signers want to tell Gov. Doug Ducey and the Legislature that they support a statewide Arizona educator walkout.
"We don't want to walk out, but we will if that's what it takes to provide our children with the education they deserve," the document states.
As of Thursday afternoon, 3,475 people had signed the pledge.
Accomplishing these three criteria won't guarantee a walkout, said organizer Noah Karvelis. But he said it will assure organizers they have support if they decide to take that step.
"It won't be certain that we will call for one if we hit those, but it tells us that we definitely could if we decide to," Karvelis said.