An organizing group of Arizona teachers came together after they watched the recent strike in West Virginia, where teachers walked out of their classrooms for nine days straight until the state legislature relented and passed a law giving all state employees a 5 percent raise on Tuesday.
The other group behind the March 28 event is Save Our Schools Arizona, an organization fighting the expansion of a school voucher law through the ballot process. SOS Arizona successfully forced the measure to a referendum in this fall's election.
On Friday, teachers shared on social media the reasons why their schools are in trouble. Low pay, the student-loan burden from degrees in education, a lack of qualified teachers, and a dearth of classroom resources came up frequently. Some educators wrote that they have to work two or even three jobs to support themselves on the basement salary that Arizona teachers receive.
On the huge Facebook group for Arizona Educators United where the grassroots efforts are happening, talk of a walkout or strike is everywhere. They're taking cues from West Virginia, where teachers in all 55 counties walked out as a unified front, frustrated with a 2 percent pay raise that the legislature recently passed as well as spiking premiums in the public-employee health care system.
#RedForEd on Wednesday, sharing photos of educators decked out in red attire. Politicians even joined in the campaign to wear red, with the exception of Governor Doug Ducey.
YOU HAVE HOMEWORK...— Angelina Cook (@angelinaacook) March 9, 2018
Starting Friday morning, here's what you do:
1. Get a blank piece of paper.
2. Write three bullet points on why you are #RedForEd
3. Post it to social media with the hashtag #RedForEd@arizona_sos @PVEAmembers @pvschools @ArizonaEA @arizonapta @dougducey pic.twitter.com/fRZtzdC0uO
(His spokesperson told the Arizona Capitol Times that the governor didn't participate because it was a political endorsement event, apparently confusing #RedForEd with the Arizona Education Association's endorsement of David Garcia for governor, which took place on the same day.)
It's telling that this will be the second march for education in a matter of months. SOS Arizona recently held a march and rally at the State Capitol on January 6, generating huge turnout.