Arizona Teachers Win Some Concessions, End Strike

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May 4, 2018

It was back to school for students and teachers across the state of Arizona, as organizers of a statewide strike announced its end after getting some of what they wanted.

The six-day walkout had been in support of a call for higher education funding, and the state legislature had supplied some of that, approving a nearly $400 million spending package that includes a 9-percent raise in teacher salaries for the fall and then a 5-percent raise for the two years following this one.

The Arizona school system has nearly 1.1 million students, most of whom have not been attending school the past week, after the teachers went out on strike. (Even so, their parents and teachers made other arrangements for the students' lunchtime and other care needs.)

As in Oklahoma, the Arizona state teachers association ended the strike without having all of their demands met, choosing to focus instead of making change via this year's elections in November. As in other states like Oklahoma and Kentucky, in which teachers also walked out, Arizona's lawmakers have cut deeply into education funding in the past decade. Arizona teacher average salary is well below the national average.

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David White