Bob Christie / AP
Governor Doug Ducey has yielded demands for salary increases for teachers who have held protests in the State Capitol and at schools for one month. He has suggested raising teacher salaries by 20 percent by 2020.
The Associated Press notes that educators "also seek higher salaries for support experts, a permanent salary increase, and a freeze on corporate tax cuts until they reach spending per pupil on a national average." Ducey's proposal did not provide for any further spending on these items ,
The action came when teachers threatened to vacate for low wages.
On Wednesday, Arizona teachers organized a nationwide "Walk-In," calling for higher pay and more financial support for schools. And, organized by a newly formed advocacy group, Arizona Educators United, teachers had also discussed the possibility of holding a strike when Republican lawmakers refused to cut state education funding by $ 1 billion over the last decade.
The Governor's proposal for a 9 percent increase will come into force this fall, bringing Arizona's average teacher salary to $ 52,725.
Ducey has also promised to increase teachers' teachers by 5 percent in 2020, adding another 5 percent a year later.
These increases, along with the 1 percent increase given to teachers last year, would add to the increases of 20 percent and make the average teacher salary $ 58,130, Ducey said.
As Casey Kuhn, reporter for NPR member station KJZZ wrote, Arizona teachers are among the lowest paid in the country, according to federal data. The average salaries last year were actually $ 8,000 to $ 9,000 below the 1990 salaries.
Meanwhile, the striking Oklahoma teachers strike their strategy after nine days. The head of the state's largest teachers' union, Oklahoma Education Association president Alicia Priest, calls on the group to change tactics and focus on choosing "pro-education" candidates for the state legislature.