Thousands of Arizona educators are walking off the job Thursday morning to protest their low pay, untenable working conditions and the state's long-standing refusal to do what is necessary to adequately fund public schools while offering tax cuts to corporations.
More than 600,000 Arizona students rely on free lunch programs, according to the Arizona Food Bank Association, and many educators, especially those at Title I schools where majority of the students qualify for free or reduced-price breakfast and lunches, anxious about their students.
In the Tucson area, all major school districts and some charter schools are closed Thursday, and likely Friday, because they won't have enough staff at schools to safely supervise the students without teachers in the classroom.
The most recent figures by Governing Magazine put per student funding in Arizona at $7,205 from all sources, compared with a national average of $11,392. In comparison, the national starting teacher salary for that same year was $38,617.
Why are teachers walking out?
Tucson Unified School District is closing on all of its schools on Thursday, after nearly 2,200 educational staff, about 69 percent, said they're taking the day off. For example, state Rep. Maria Syms, who represents Legislative District 28 in the Phoenix area, describes a #RedForEd organizer as leading teachers in an "anti-American socialist revolution".
From gathering gift cards, prepping boxed lunches and opening church doors for day camps, communities across Arizona are getting ready for a historic teacher walkout that could keep hundreds of thousands of students out of school indefinitely.
"All of these educators, mostly women, have picked up the slack", Garcia said. "Enough is enough. We can't take it anymore". "I should have made some noise about why I don't have the money to buy what my kids need'". "[These students] have not necessarily asked for that food but we know there's a possibility of food scarcity in the homes". What are you going to do to reverse this decade slide and race to the bottom?
"Here in the midst of everything going on, here are people in my community anxious about me and how I'm going to make it through", she said.
How long will it last?
Closures in Colorado affected more than 600,000 students.
"We want the parents to understand that this fight is for your child, " Thomas said. "We are waiting in line to make copies", Roybal said. "This was not an act of God". That has led to relatively low teacher salaries, crumbling school buildings and the elimination of free full-day kindergarten in some districts.
What is the governor's response?
While there was concern for the need to lift Arizona teacher salaries from rock bottom, most teachers wanted to make it clear that they were most interested in helping the children they teach.
Teachers in both states want more resources in the classroom and have received offers either for increased funding or raises. Striking teachers said they want a 20 percent raise as well as no new tax cuts until per pupil funding reaches the national average. It's the first teacher walkout in the state's history. While proponents of the formula change argued it's much more equitable, Republicans said it seemed to them that the tax increase was the real change, with its potential for a big cash infusion to schools.
Where else have teachers striked?
The proposal, which would still have left the state's educators among the worst paid in the U.S., was rejected by the teachers union and the Arizona Parent Teachers Association after it was revealed that the plan would be paid with cuts to other state programs. About half the student population will have shuttered schools as a result, with teachers using personal leave time to take off.
Similar protests have happened in Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky. In West Virginia, teachers went on strike for two weeks until Republican Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that included a 5 percent pay increase.
According to PCGamesN, the timing of the superhero image is flawless for the game since the new Avengers movie has been released. At the time of writing, there is no official word on when Season 4 will begin, with week 10 of season 3 just getting underway.
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