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Arizona governor announces 20 percent teacher pay increase

Arizona governor announces 20 percent teacher pay increase
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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Thursday gave in to public school teachers' demands amid protests, promising a net pay increase of 20 percent over the next two years. 

Teachers will get a 1 percent pay increase in fiscal 2018, followed by a 9 percent raise in 2019 and 5 percent raise in both 2020 and 2021,  according to KTAR News.

Ducey said teachers can expect to see their salaries increase to an average of $52,725 in the upcoming school year if the state legislature passes the plan, and $58,130 by 2020.

The average current Arizona teacher salary is $48,723, according to the governor.

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The development follows weeks of teacher protests across Arizona.

Teachers in the state held "walk-ins" on Wednesday at roughly 1,000 schools to demand higher pay and additional funding for schools. 

Arizona teachers are among the lowest paid in the country, according to The Washington Post.

The protests in Arizona follow teacher demonstrations in Oklahoma and West Virginia. 

The president of the Oklahoma Education Association on Thursday called for an end to the nine-day-long teacher walkout across the state and encouraged teachers to support pro-education candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.  

The West Virginia state legislature approved a 5 percent raise in pay for teachers last month, which ended a nine-day strike by teachers. 

While various public education advocates praised the strikes, critics condemned the demonstrations for shutting down public schools. 

“I think about the kids,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosO'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate Charter schools’ ‘Uberization’ of teaching profession hurts kids too Court rules Obama-era student loan regulations must take effect MORE said. “I think we need to stay focused on what’s right for kids. And I hope that adults would keep adult disagreements and disputes in a separate place, and serve the students that are there to be served.”