After 2nd Day At Capitol, Some Arizona Teachers Prepared To Keep Striking
Arizona teachers are meeting Friday and Saturday to discuss whether to continue their strike.
One the second day of the teacher walkout, chants of #RedForEd filled the lawn at the state Capitol complex Friday as thousands of supported gathered for a rally.
“We cannot let these days be in vain,” said teacher Beth Lewis, who helped found the nonprofit Save Our Schools.
Speakers called on Gov. Doug Ducey and legislators to meet their demands — not just teacher raises, but competitive pay for support staff and a return to funding levels a decade ago.
“We have to hold them accountable,” Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association said.
When he suggested teachers might have to return to the Capitol on Monday, the crowd cheered.
“And if they don’t’ listen, if they continue to ignore us then I think we take a ballot initiative out and we got to do this ourselves,” he said.
When asked how long the walkout would continue, Marisol Garcia, vice president of the Arizona Education Association, said, “It’s a huge question. This movement has been dictated by its members, by the way people are feeling every day and what responses they get. It’s never plotted out, planned. It’s a response to how the energy is on that day, so we’re going to see.”
Some teachers and support staff who attended Friday’s rally did not want to publicly identify their schools or provide their names while being interviewed because their districts did not close. One art teacher, who gave his first name as Andrew, was among a group that traveled from the southern part of the state.
He said his district remained open on Thursday and Friday and he took personal time off to support the #RedForEd march and rallies. Whether he will return to the Capitol on Monday as the union leader suggested is unclear.
“I full support that, but it does put teachers like us in a rough position,” Andrew said. “Because we feel like we’re doing the best thing for our students, but at the same time we’re being put between a rock and a hard place. We want to continue to support, but at the same time, we’re already under financial pressure, obviously that’s why teachers are out here, but we’re here for our students.”