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Arizona educators wear red in demand for higher wages

Posted at 7:24 PM, Mar 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-07 22:37:00-05

Inspired by striking West Virginia teachers, Arizona educators showed their strength in numbers Wednesday as they demanded better salaries.

Thousands wore red to school and posted on Twitter using #RedForEd.  They are trying to pressure the legislature for more public school funding. Lawmakers are currently hashing out details of the annual state budget.               

"We have the third highest class size in the nation, and study after study indicates that we have the worst teacher salaries in the nation," Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas said. 

"It should be no surprise that many Arizona teachers are now teaching classrooms in California and Nevada and Utah and in West Virginia."

According to an Arizona auditor general report, the average annual salary for an Arizona public school teacher was $48,372 in 2017.  That's a $1,988 increase from the previous year.

Teachers say their pay is not enough to buy a house on their own or support a family. They say teachers often work second jobs or quit to find a new higher-paying career.