Arizona teachers head back to class after securing raises
Arizona teachers returned to their classrooms today after state lawmakers approved a budget that includes pay raises and more education funding. Organizers touted the outcome as achieving “something truly historic.” But they didn’t get everything they wanted. Teacher lobby groups pushed for a $1 billion commitment for additional education funding. Lawmakers agreed to $300 million for the next year. Educators will get a 9 percent raise in the fall, followed by additional 5 percent increases during the next two years. Gov. Doug Ducey called the resolution “a real win” for teachers and students. But it might not be enough to keep the teachers happy in the long run. “The budget is a significant investment, but it falls far short” of what the movement demanded, Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas acknowledged. Arizona teachers are the latest to organize mass walkouts to pressure state lawmakers to provide better funding for education. The walkouts began in West Virginia, where teachers stayed out of classrooms for nine days and won a 5 percent raise. Teachers in Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Colorado also have rallied at their respective state Capitols during the last few months.
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