Some students in Arizona returned to class today after days of no class because of a teacher walkout. Early Thursday morning, a new education funding bill was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey (R) after legislators stayed up all night rushing to get the legislation passed. As a result of the bill, certified teachers will now receive a 20 percent raise by 2020 and schools are guaranteed an additional $100 million for necessary support staff. Although the concessions were large, it still fell short of total goals set forth by the teacher unions and advocates.
During the course of the six-day walkout, more than 1,000 schools were closed, affecting more than 800,000 students. Only a handful of schools were able to scramble quickly enough to reopen their doors following the news of the passed legislation. Some will resume on Friday, with the rest following suit at the beginning of next week. The strike movement has been an ongoing struggle in states throughout the country as teachers demand more money and resources to properly educate students. Originating earlier this year in West Virginia, the fire quickly spread to states including Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Colorado.
Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas stated the work is not done yet. The focus will now shift to an upcoming November measure requesting additional funding through an income tax on the richest taxpayers in the state. Across the state, teachers expressed relief that they can get back to work and be there for their students.