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Two of Arizona’s largest school districts show support for Red for Ed

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Two of the largest school districts in the state have openly voiced that they support the teacher protests happening statewide.

Both Mesa Public Schools and Tucson Unified School District voted unanimously on Tuesday, approving motions to support the Red for Ed movement.

Mesa Public Schools house around 64,000 students in 87 schools, while the Tucson Unified School District has close to 48,000 students in more than 85 campuses.

The #RedForEd movement has mobilized teachers and supporters across the state, encouraging them to wear red, hold signs and confront lawmakers — including Gov. Doug Ducey — head-on about their inability to raise teacher pay to pre-Great Recession levels.

Arizona Educators United and the Red For Ed movement have been leading the charge on statewide protests and “walk-ins” for weeks, including protests at KTAR News 92.3 FM’s studios as Ducey appeared on Mac and Gaydos.

For the second Wednesday in a row, hundreds of teachers from schools across Arizona joined forces before classes to participate in so-called “walk-ins” to call for better paychecks and teaching supplies.

The “walk-ins” were planned at about 1,000 schools statewide, as part of the #RedForEd movement launched by Arizona Educators United. Teachers said they will hold the protests every Wednesday this month.

The organization has rallied teachers and supporters to take to the streets for weeks to call on pay raises, but it could soon reach another level.

Teachers across West Virginia protested in March, causing a nine-day shutdown of public schools. The strike ended after state officials vowed to raise teacher pay five percent. Teachers around Arizona have taken part in the protest, wearing “Red for Ed” to show they believe in and deserve higher wages and better treatment.

Arizona teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation.