Immigration to Be Central Focus in Arizona's Teachers Strike

Immigration to Be Central Focus in Arizona's Teachers Strike

They expect you to pay them 20 percent more than the average $30 to $31 per hour they are now paid.

Lawmakers there have agreed to give schools their largest budget increase since the Great Recession.

The facility is prepared to host up to 100 kids and provide breakfast, lunch and snacks at $25 per child.

As teachers across the state are participating in walkouts to protest a lack of school funding, the National Education Association is saying it made a mistake in labeling Colorado in the bottom five states for teacher pay.

Unlike West Virginia or Oklahoma, the issues of immigration will probably take center stage in Arizona, as almost 45% of the school system's students are Latino and more than half of Arizona's public school students hail from communities of color.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has laid out a plan for a 20 percent teacher pay raise by 2020, but organizers of the so-called #RedforEd movement are pushing for $1 billion in new education funding and other demands.

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The teachers say Colorado spends about $2,700 less than the national per-pupil average of about $12,000 a year.

The protest was expected to close about three-quarters of Arizona's school districts as teachers reported their absences ahead of time, according to an analysis by the Arizona Republic.

Martinez said she was prepared to take her children back Friday and next week to the center, which offers activities that include arts and crafts and dodgeball.

Teachers marched to the state Capitol building, with stacks of materials to grade, showing legislators the amount of work they often must do outside of school hours.

On the eve of Arizona's historic statewide teacher walkout, the head of the Arizona Education Association said teachers are "in it for the long haul" and the strike will continue until the legislature passes a budget that meets their demands.

In a petition sponsored by Arizona Educators United that garnered over 27,000 signatures, educators in the state have addressed the other ways education cuts have hurt classrooms, calling for "updated textbooks, basic supplies, and technology".

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In another part of the state, teachers lined up on one side of Baseline Road, a thoroughfare that runs about 45 miles through Mesa and Phoenix. Today, in a society of controversy, adversariness and division, many teachers have joined the Arizona Educators United, "Red for Ed".

It's not known how long the walkout will last.

Crews are at the Capitol erecting an outdoor stage for the midday rally Thursday during which teachers and their supporters will demand increase education funding.

The rally will be preceded by a march from downtown Phoenix.

"Our goal is to ensure that students have access to highly qualified and experienced teachers, that educators are compensated fairly, and to improve the educational environment in the state of Arizona", the group said on its walkout planning website.

Similar protests have happened in Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky. The teachers' union is backing a ballot initiative to raise taxes on people earning more than $150,000 a year and corporations.

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Ducey told the TV station in a separate interview that he's "not ignoring anyone" but is focused on meeting with lawmakers to push his plan, which has raised concerns about how it would be funded. The same problem occurred in Colorado, where classes were called off for an estimated 600,000 students. About half of the student population will have shuttered schools as a result.

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