Arizona teachers near walk out over pay, funding

Arizona teachers are threatening a statewide walkout, following the lead of educators in other states.

"I think the #MeToo movement has even really propelled us forward", she said.

He said the crowd was made up of teachers, students and principals, parents and other family members.

Carver student Nakenna Harvin says, "they work as late as we do, as far as my homework".

The battle in Oklahoma is part of a national and worldwide rebellion of educators following the nine-day strike in West Virginia.

Mary Fallin signed legislation last month granting teacher pay hikes of about $6,100 and providing tens of millions of new dollars for public schools. With demands for statewide strikes spreading from Kentucky, Arizona and SC to Florida, Iowa and Texas, the unions have warned teachers that strikes are illegal and would lead to "harsh consequences".

The proposed $5-per-night tax on hotel and motel rooms was part of the original education package and would have raised about $45 million, but it was heavily opposed by the hospitality industry.

The teachers' massive protest has already yielded some action by legislators.

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Oklahoma public school teachers are among the lowest paid in the USA and the state's education system has seen inflation-adjusted general funding per student drop by about 28 precent over the past decade, according to Reuters.

The Oklahoma Education Association also laid out new demands it says lawmakers must meet for teachers to return to the classroom.

The Oklahoma state Senate approved last week a series of tax increases to help fund the state's education system in an attempt to put an end to the strike. "They're not given the opportunity to make enough money to do that", she said. "For that reason, I personally think they need to continue to force the legislature to do more".

"We are not being greedy", Lynn Tucker, a first grade teacher in Broken Arrow, said.

Classes remain canceled in Oklahoma's biggest school districts Tuesday as teachers walk out for a seventh day.

While Kentucky teachers were protesting the pension overhaul last week, the state Legislature passed changes to the tax system called House Bill 366.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said she hoped the extension would prevent any penalties or loss of funding from the federal government, which mandates that 95 percent of students take the tests.

  • Megan Austin