Arizona teachers demands high pay scale as their payment is not justifiable. Teachers wearing red shirts, chanting and carrying signs protested outside Arizona schools Wednesday to show unity in their demand for higher salaries.
“Walk-ins” planned at approximately 1,000 schools statewide are part of a grassroots movement pushing for a 20 percent raise and more than $1 billion in new education funding.
Arizona Educators United has mobilized teachers and supporters across the state through their #RedforEd campaign. Oklahoma teachers have walked out in protest over educating funding.
Noah Karvelis, a co-founder of Arizona Educators United, said while the request for raises has received the most attention, teachers are ultimately fighting for their students.
So far, Gov. Doug Ducey and the Republican-controlled legislature haven’t budged to the group’s demands. The governor has stuck by his proposal for a 1 percent increase this year, while pledging that other fund hikes will come down the road.
According to the Department of Education, teacher pay nationally is 1.6 percent below their average earnings in 1999 and 5 percent lower than their 2009 pay, when adjusted for inflation.
The pay difference varies largely from state to state. Teachers in New York earn an average annual salary of more than $79,600, while in South Dakota, teachers earn about $42,700 per year.
The average annual income for Arizona teachers is among the lowest in the nation. Elementary school teachers in the state earned a median wage of $43,280 in 2017. High school teachers earned $46,470, making that the 3rd and 6th lowest in the nation, respectively.