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Arizona teachers group will back Ducey opponent Garcia in November

Arizona teachers group will back Ducey opponent Garcia in November”

Derek Harris, who's been teaching at Dietz K-8 for three years, said Wednesday's social media campaign proved to be a success.

There were concerns that #RedForEd was testing the waters for a strike, especially after Oklahoma teachers said on Monday that they had reached a breaking point negotiating with their legislators for a $5,000 raise and were actively discussing a strike. Studies and surveys differ about where exactly Arizona ranks on issues like funding or teacher pay but many studies place it consistently near the bottom.

Organizers of the #WearRedfor Ed protest are calling this a "first step" in rallying teachers together and letting state lawmakers and the Governor know it's time to act because if they don't, a teacher strike in Arizona is a possibility. Education Week reports average salaries there already are close to $2,000 higher than they are here even before the new boost. Ever since he arrived in Arizona, he said he's noticed "an energy that people are ready for change". "I think today is about a positive statement, a statement of awareness that there are issues in our schools that people really need to start paying attention to. We need long-term solutions to increase investments in public education - early childhood education through community colleges and universities - so we can meet the long-term goals of the Education Progress Meter", said Christine M. Thompson, president & CEO of Expect More Arizona.

The last teacher strike in the state didn't work out so well.

Marisol Garcia is an eighth-grade teacher in Phoenix's Isaac School District. Essington said she and her fellow teachers had to decide whose aging vehicle would be the safest to drive to Phoenix the last time they wanted to meet with lawmakers face-to-face. And the base salary remained unchanged. \He moved to Arizona from MI two years ago.

"It's no surprise to me that teachers are very frustrated right now".

However, Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas says that Ducey's plan is too little, too late.

The AEA often cites Arizona's low teacher pay and funding as a reason many teachers move out of state.

"We have people that turn on a Facebook, any social media, and see advertisements out of Clark County, Nevada, every single day that tells them 'You're going to earn $11,000 more dollars and, by the way, we have just as much sunshine as you do in Arizona, ' Arizona has to wake up to that", he said. "A lot more conversations, a lot more planning". "She wouldn't be able to afford some of the things we had grown accustomed to as kids and that's a decision she had to make and a decision that no family should have to face when a parent or a family member wants to go and be a teacher".

Soon Gentry-Ballance, who leads the classroom teachers' association in the Phoenix Union High School District, was listening as a coworker explained the mobilizing strategies that made West Virginia's strike successful. These schools, which can be run as for-profit or nonprofit operations, are permitted to hire whoever they want to teach.



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