Arizona Education Association pushes for state teacher pay increase

The Arizona Education Association and Arizona Educators United sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislative Leadership Thursday, April 5 announcing it formed a negotiation team that is ready to sit down with Arizona’s leaders to discuss the Arizona educator’s demands.

Arizona teachers are ranked at the bottom in terms of salary and per-student funding as a result of decades of tax cuts and incentives for corporations and the 1 percent, according to a press release.

As a result, some local students are without full-time certified teachers, updated textbooks and technology or enough support staff like counselors, nurses, and librarians.

The association claimed last week, Mr. Ducey rejected the Arizona Educators United’s demands to make teacher pay competitive and keep teachers in the state.

Joe Thomas (Submitted Photo)

“Each day that goes by without action by our elected officials, another teacher decides to leave Arizona,” AEA President Joe Thomas said in a prepared statement.

“Teachers wants to teach in Arizona, but they’re only getting empty promises from the governor and they’re starting to feel like they’re running out of options.”

Schools will participate in a statewide walk-in where parents, educators and community members will meet in front of their schools before contract time and walk into the halls of the school together in a show of unity and support Wednesday, April 11.

The association says walk-ins are a way for parents and the community to stand with educators and share stories about why they are wearing red and support the #REDFORED movement, which Arizona Educators United started.

“I invite parents to walk in to their school with their children and teachers on April 11,” Arizona Educators United organizer and Littleton Elementary School music teacher Noah Karvelis said in a prepared statement.

“I care about each and every one of my students. My colleagues and I want to stay teaching in Arizona, but it feels like the governor has backed us into a corner and if going on strike is the only way to get him to fund our schools, then we need to make sure we involve parents and build community support.”

Arizona PTA President Beth Simek said the group is unified in focusing on the children.

“The needs students have in classrooms coupled with the needs of our educators impacts me as a parent and the rest of the community,” she said in a prepared statement.

“It’s imperative for all of us to stand together as one to support educators in their efforts to improve school funding so that every child in Arizona gets the world-class education that they deserve.”

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