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Arizona Teachers Vote to Support a Walk Out
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20 April 2018  
Teachers at Prescott High School take part in a walk-in on April 4.

Teachers across Arizona vote to support a walkout, according to AEA President, Joe Thomas.

"Tonight, we voted. Arizona educators have delivered a strong message tonight and overwhelmingly support walking out of their schools for their students, their communities and their colleagues. With over 57,000 votes cast and tallied, 78% of the school employees in this state said, 'Yes.' This is undeniably and clearly a mandate for action," said Joe Thomas, the President of the Arizona Educators Association. 

Acknowledging that they "…need to give our communities time to prepare," Noah Karvelis, Arizona Educators United organizer and teacher, said that next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the teachers will continue to do walk-ins, as they have over the last several weeks. "On Thursday, we will begin a walkout. We can no longer allow the status quo in this state to go unchanged."

When asked how long the walkout would continue, Karvelis replied, "We need to see change here… I don’t want to put any limitations in it right now, because we need to stay responsive."

"I’m tired of seeing ex-Arizona teachers," Thomas said, calling on the Legislature and the Governor to meet their demands.

Teachers are demanding 5 things:

  • 20% salary increase
  • Restore education funding to 2008 levels (which would require an additional $1Billion in state funding to education.)
  • Competitive pay for all education support staff.
  • Permanent salary structure, including annual raises. 
  • No new tax cuts until per-pupil funding reaches the national average.

Governor Doug Ducey responded via Twitter after the vote. 

"No one wants to see teachers strike. If schools shut down, our kids are the ones who lose out. We have worked side by side with the education community to develop a sustainable plan to give teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020. I am committed to getting teachers this raise and am working to get this passed at the Legislature. We need teachers teaching, and kids learning."


Here is the press release from the Arizona Educators Association:

PHOENIX – April 19, 2018 – Today, the Arizona Education Association (AEA) and Arizona Educators United (AEU) announced in front of AEA headquarters, that Arizona educators voted to walk out of Arizona’s schools – citing 10 years of drastically underfunded schools resulting in overcrowded classrooms, crumbling infrastructure, and low wages for educators.

 
“After years of starving our schools, some classes are stuffed with kids, while others sit empty because there isn’t a teacher to teach,” says AEU organizer and Littleton elementary music teacher Noah Karvelis. “The #RedforEd movement has provided educators the opportunity to voice what action they want to take in an historic statewide vote.”
 
“This vote was not an easy decision for educators,” says AEA Vice President and Isaac Middle School teacher Marisol Garcia. “As I turned in my ballot today, I thought about my son, my colleagues, and my students. By voting today, I am standing up for my son and all students in Arizona and the public schools they deserve.”
 
“We’re using textbooks from the 1990s because there’s no money for books. That’s just one of the reasons we’re fighting to make Arizona’s kids, schools and educators a higher priority in the governor’s office,” says AEA President and Mesa government teacher Joe Thomas.
 
As educators, the students are at the center of everything we do. Every student deserves a chance at a quality education, and access to services like nutrition, health, and after school programs. 
 
The decision to walk out also comes on the heels of weeks of #RedforEd walk-ins and a disingenuous budget proposal from the governor that claimed a raise that excluded support professionals like counselors, bus drivers and cafeteria workers – and was not supported by actual funding.
 
“Education isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. That’s why we’re walking out,” said Noah.
 
The Arizona Education Association represents 20,000 teachers and education support professionals and is the state’s largest professional organization for public school employees.
AEA Is Keeping the Promise of a Quality Public Education
Arizona Education Association | 345 E. Palm Lane, Phoenix, Arizona| 602-264-1774

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Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.