After Protests, Arizona Teachers See Victory In Teacher Wage Battle

"Arizona teachers have earned a raise, and this plan delivers."

The controversy surrounding teacher pay came to a head at the top of this year as educators across the country participated in protests and strikes due to low pay and reduced school resources, thrusting the issue into the national consciousness. Teachers in Arizona have been among the most vocal proponents in the battle, opting to go on a six-day strike this week in order to put political pressure on Arizona lawmakers. 

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Their tactics worked, as the lawmakers passed legislation today that will give teachers all over the state a pay increase.

Johnny Silvercloud / Shutterstock.com

The state's new budget, passed after legislators pulled an all-nighter to hammer out the terms, will allow for an initial 9 percent pay increase for educators that will go into effect this fall. The budget would then allow for a 5 percent increase each year for the next two years. With a previously approved 1 percent raise already in action, this means that teachers in Arizona will be receiving a total 20 percent raise in pay over the next four years. The news successfully ended the teacher's strike, with organizers calling for the end of the statewide walkout hours after the new budget was announced.

"I'm glad it passed and we'll get something because I'm a single mom of three kids, but it's not enough," Phoenix-area teacher Rebecca Wilson told her local radio station KTAR.

The new budget doesn't just benefit teachers' pockets. The Wall Street Journal reports that the budget will increase education funding in the state by $371 million over a five-year period that will partially restore recession-era cuts made to the education budget. 

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is quite pleased with the new budget plan, praising lawmakers and educators alike in a video posted to Twitter of him signing the budget into effect. He went on to issue a statement, in which he said, "Arizona teachers have earned a raise, and this plan delivers."

Cover image via Johnny Silvercloud / Shutterstock.com.

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