Sanders praises teacher walkouts in 'so-called red state'

Sanders praises teacher walkouts in 'so-called red state'
© Camille Fine

Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSaagar Enjeti says Buttigieg's release of McKinsey client list shows he 'caved to public pressure' Sanders endorses Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur for Katie Hill's former House seat Biden hires Clinton, O'Rourke alum as campaign's digital director MORE (I) tweeted Thursday that teacher walkouts in Arizona are proof that progressive causes can flourish in a "so-called red state."

Retweeting a picture of thousands of red-clad teachers swarming the streets of Phoenix on Thursday, the Vermont progressive called the teacher-led demonstrations sweeping the country what "real change looks like."

"Thousands of teachers in a so-called 'red state' are marching to demand support for our kids over more handouts to billionaires. That is what real change looks like," the senator wrote.

Massive crowds of teachers marched on Arizona's state capitol on Thursday, demanding increased funding for the state's schools.

As many as 840,000 students were affected by the strikes on Thursday in Arizona, and 27 school districts in neighboring Colorado closed for teachers' strikes as well.

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Teachers in the state held "walk-ins" earlier this month and were met with a promise from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to increase their net pay by 20 percent over the next two years.

“Without a doubt, teachers are some of the biggest difference-makers in the lives of Arizona children,” Ducey said.

“They need to be respected, and rewarded, for the work they do — and Arizona can do better on this front," he said.

But teachers rejected the plan, calling it unsustainable and adding that it would just increase the financial burden for other school employees. Other unmet demands include school funding levels that would reduce class sizes and increase per-student spending.

A similar strike earlier this year in West Virginia ended with lawmakers capitulating to the demands of teachers, raising wages for all school employees and promising to fix rising rates in the state employees' health care program.

Other strikes in Kentucky and Oklahoma have been met with resistance from state Republican leaders, who condemned striking educators as unconcerned about student welfare.