Arizona teachers, among the nation’s lowest paid, threaten to strike
Arizona teachers, among the lowest paid in the country, are threatening to strike if state lawmakers do not raise their salaries and restore dramatic funding cuts that schools have endured.
Teachers, who organized a grass-roots campaign on social media, are demanding a 20 percent raise and restoration of school funding to 2008 levels, before the recession struck, according to the Arizona Republic. They are also asking state lawmakers to stop cutting taxes until Arizona’s per-student spending reaches the national average.
‘‘The last thing that any of us want to do is go on strike, but if we have to, we will,’’ teacher Dylan Wegela, an organizer of the movement, told protesters Wednesday at a rally outside the State House.
Arizona is the latest state where educators have risen up to demand higher wages and more investment in schools, emboldened by a successful statewide teacher walkout in West Virginia. Teachers there shut down schools for nine days until state lawmakers and the governor agreed to give them a 5 percent raise.
Teachers in several Oklahoma districts plan to walk out Monday, demanding a $10,000 raise for themselves, a raise for support staff, and additional money for schools. State lawmakers recently passed a bill that would give teachers a $6,000 raise, but many educators plan to stay out of the classroom until the state accedes to their demands.