After roughly a week of teachers walking out and demanding better funding for education, it looks as though classrooms will be back in working order soon. The governor of Arizona signed a bill that will increase the amount of money given to both teachers and schools in the first step of pay raises.
A massive movement was underway for about a week in the state of Arizona. Teachers wearing red and carrying signs reading #RedForEd walked out of their classrooms which led to the closure of many Arizona schools. These teachers wasted no time and headed straight for the capitol where the streets of Phoenix looked like a red sea in their push to urge lawmakers to add funding to their budgets after numerous years of fiscal cutbacks.
Governor Doug Ducey (R) signed legislation that at first did not meet all the demands that the teachers were requesting. While some teachers pushed to continue to keep schools closed until all demands were met, union leaders urged teachers to return to work and spend their time preparing for the same battle for the following year. A rep for the largest teachers union in the state, Arizona Education Association, noted that teachers weren’t thrilled with the legislation but they did see it as a starting point. It is also believed that the legislature is full of promises that won’t be upheld by the government. For their part, they noted that the teachers would have their eye on the November election. While the bill did not reduce classroom sizes, it gives teachers a 9 percent pay raise, halfway towards the goal of a 20 percent overall hike they requested. The legislation also doles out money to school districts and allows them the discretion to choose where it goes. It also raises the states spending on schools by an additional $200 million each year.
It is important to note that what has happened in Arizona is not a unique situation. Similar walk outs have occurred in Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia. It was a planned event that followed the model of the West Virgina walk out which was successful in their negotiations. For more details and information, head to the Huffington Post.