Arizona Education Association

Spring 2018

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28 ADVOCATE | SPRING 2018 #REDforED Arizona Educators Wear #REDFORED to Protest Low Pay JOIN US! Join the Arizona Educators United Facebook group at arizonaeducatorsunited and find a site organizing for #REDFORED at actionnetwork. org/event_campaigns/redfored. A rizonans wore red on March 7, 2018, to protest low teacher salaries, which makes it hard to recruit and retain teachers, just a day after the West Virginia teachers' strike ended with the teachers receiving a five percent pay increase. West Virginia teachers' pay was ranked 48th in the nation, while Arizona elementary school teacher's pay ranks 50th in the nation at $42,474, according to Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy. The wear #RedForEd movement developed after Littleton Elementary School District music teacher Noah Karvelis started a Twitter conversation about what Arizona teachers should do with Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas asking if Arizona teachers would strike next and what they should do. Thomas suggested that teachers start by wearing red to protest their low pay. Many educators see the #RedForEd campaign as a way of testing the waters for a strike, especially after Oklahoma teachers said on the day before that they had reached a breaking point negotiating with their legislators for a $5,000 raise and were actively discussing a strike. Oklahoma ranks 49th in the nation in teacher salaries. Many parents, students, and other community members joined teachers in wearing red Wednesday to show their support for teachers, the work they do and higher pay for their important role in shaping our youth for the future. Teachers also took to social media to tell about the passion that drives them to educate children, show what they do, and explain why working conditions and salaries on par with other professionals are important. n

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