Teachers’ Strike Reaches Day Five

Schools are closed for a fifth day in Arizona, as thousands of teachers continue to strike demanding better funding for education. Crowds of striking teachers dressed in red T-shirts have rallied at the state Capitol this week and last to demand a 20 percent pay raise for educators and decreased class sizes, among other demands. The strike began Thursday, with teachers protesting the $1 billion funding cuts to education in the state since the 2008 recession. The teachers’ strikes in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona have been described by some as a “red-state revolt.” In 2016, Donald Trump won all four states. The Arizona Legislature is expected to vote on a budget today, which organizers say will now include additional funding for education. If the budget passes, teachers say they will return to class tomorrow. We speak to Noah Karvelis, an elementary and middle school music teacher in Phoenix and one of the leaders of #RedForEd and Arizona Educators United. He helped start the teachers’ protests in Arizona.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to Arizona, where schools are closed for a fifth day as thousands of teachers continue to strike, demanding better funding for education. Crowds of striking teachers dressed in red T-shirts have rallied at the state Capitol this week and last to demand a 20 percent pay raise for educators and decreased class sizes, among other demands. The strike began Thursday, with the teachers protesting the $1 billion funding cuts to education in the state since the 2008 recession. Mary Kotnour is a teacher in Rio Rico, Arizona.

MARY KOTNOUR: Well, the bottom line is funding, funding for education. So, a lot of people think it’s just for teachers’ salaries, and it’s not. It’s funding for the schools, for our kids. We haven’t had — the funding stopped in 2008 and has not increased. It’s for our support staff, as well. So, it’s for everybody. It’s not,…

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