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Arizona Teachers Organize School Walk-Ins Across Valley In Solidarity With #RedForEd

Arizona’s statewide teacher protests for higher pay continues to snowball as more educators and schools join the effort. Wednesday will continue the #RedForEd effort.

Largely started on social media, the Red for Ed movement is sweeping through states as teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky walked out of schools this week.

In Arizona, organizers are using Wednesdays as a jumping off point for teachers to rally, come together and drum up support for the demands of a 20 percent pay raise and no new tax cuts.

Ajay Patel is the orchestra director at Desert Ridge High School in Mesa. He’s arranging a walk-in at his school one week before the statewide walk-in on April 11.

“Our main goal is to build community support because anything we do from here on out is going to require our districts [and] our community support to really ensure we’re going down this path," he said. "It is possible to do this too soon."

Patel said the goal is to spread the word and get an idea of how many teachers are banding together in case there is a call for a strike.

But, there is no strike — yet.

Patel hopes his school walk-in will help bring the community together and spread awareness.

“You get teachers and the community involved in understanding what we’re up against, what our needs are, so that if it comes to a bigger action that we’ve demonstrated that we have the community support behind us and that we are organized to move in an effective way,” Patel said.

Teachers will gather before school to come together, link arms and walk into school as one in a show of solidarity.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.