For the first time in state history, Arizona teachers are walking off the job to protest for higher pay and more funding for schools, following a vote of nearly 60,000 educators on Thursday night.
The statewide protest, scheduled to take place April 26, comes after weeks of negotiations between groups representing Arizona’s teachers and state legislatures who have resisted their call for a 20% pay raise and a $1 billion increase in educational funding. Last week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey offered a proposal that met the pay increase demand, but failed to address other educational funding priorities.
Ducey, a Republican, tweeted his reaction to the looming statewide strike early Friday morning:
The teacher movement, dubbed #RedForEd, overwhelmingly voted in favor of the walkout, Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas told the Arizona Republic. According to Thomas, 78% of the 57,000 teachers who voted backed the walkout.
“This is undeniably and clearly a mandate for action,” Thomas said.