Red state teacher revolt. Kentucky and Arizona.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin went ahead and signed the sewer/pension theft bill. The bill was passed by the Kentucky legislature a week ago in the dead of night, attached to a bill about the states sewer funding.

Outrage followed by a whole bunch of rank and file teachers’ groups, many organized through social media.

Thousands of education employees rallied at the state capitol the Friday before Spring Break.

Some of the rank and file groups urged the sewer flu continue this week.  The state’s NEA affiliated union, the KEA, urged teachers to return to week and has called for a Day of a Day of action this Friday by teachers who have available days off.

Kentucky has one of the worst funded teacher pensions systems in the nation.

Only slightly worse than Illinois’ Teacher Retirement System.

The Kentucky Sewer/Pension theft bill will mean that new hires will have to enter a hybrid defined contribution/defined benefit plan and would limit new sick days that teachers can put toward their retirement.

Rank and file Teachers have filed law suits against the current underfunding of the pension system, while the KEA has done little.

Meanwhile thousands of parents and students across Arizona are expected to join teachers walking into their schools Wednesday morning as a show of solidarity for the #RedForEd effort to boost education funding in the state.

The grassroots Arizona Educators United is organizing the walk-ins. The teacher-led group is asking Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and the Legislature for five things:

  • Restore education funding to 2008 levels. This would require adding about $1 billion more in state funding to education. Arizona spends $924 less per student in inflation-adjusted dollars today than it did in 2008, according to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
  • 20 percent salary increase. According to an analysis by the Arizona School Boards Association published in January, the median teacher pay in 2018 is $46,949. A 20 percent increase would amount to $9,390, for a total of $56,339.
  • Competitive pay for all education support staff.
  • Permanent salary structure that includes annual raises.
  • No new tax cuts until per-pupil funding reaches the national average. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 figures, the most recent available, Arizona spent $7,489 per pupil, compared with the national average of $11,392. That is a difference of about 34 percent.

Both Kentucky and Arizona are right-to-work states and along with West Virginia and Oklahoma have been the focus of the Red State Teacher Revolt.

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