Arizona teachers to announce whether or not they’re going to strike

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On Thursday, April 19 at 8 p.m., teachers will announce whether or not they will strike. The vote follows Governor Doug Ducey’s latest plan to give them a 20 percent salary raise over the next three years, although with no explanation of where the funding will come from.

Amber Gould, a high school teacher and president of the Glendale Union Education Association, says the teachers voted on two options: participating or not participating in a walkout. The walkout would be a way to show support for the schools, she says, and how they have been underfunded.

“If a strike or walkout were to be approved, it is my understanding that the leadership within the Arizona Education Association and the Arizona Educators United do have a plan and they have a couple dates set depending on a couple different things,” Gould says.

The teachers have not conducted any strikes thus far, but there have been several walk-ins. Gould says that these were intended to build community support, which has grown over the last couple weeks.

“I am a ‘yay’ on a walkout,” Gould says.” My reasoning for it is, this is my seventh year as a teacher… Every single year, I’ve had to go to the capitol and we’ve had to have these conversations, and it hasn’t changed. We’re at the point where we’ve tried everything else. Now we’re taking it to greater actions.”

Ducey’s original budget provided a one percent salary raise for teachers, but didn’t help schools’ support staff. Gould says the teachers aren’t only protesting for their own pay, but for the surrounding staff that helps a school function.

Gould says the community have been on the sides of teachers for years, so she believes that support will continue if they decide to walk out. She says in order to help the teachers, the community has to get out to the polls and vote.

“When push comes to shove, the funding that might go into classrooms, the funding that might go into salaries, will make it so that our kids have the best quality public education they deserve,” Gould says. “Part of that is making it so that our teachers and support staff don’t have to work a second or third job. They can be there to tutor and coach instead.”

Amber Gould: High School Teacher & President, Glendale Union Ed. Assoc.

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