/ Modified may 7, 2018 9:57 a.m.

Exploring the Daily Impact of the Teacher Walkout

How the Capitol, a church and classrooms in Southern Arizona responded to the protests.

Leading up to the passage of a spending bill, Arizona 360 looked at the day-by-day impacts of the walkout.

Friday, April 27 - When Ryan Burbank learned Tuesday that his son's school would cancel classes he only had 48 hours to act. Burbank, a children's pastor at Victory Worship Center in Tucson, helped assemble the necessary resources for his church to open the #RedforEd Day Camp. It opened by Thursday, the first day of the teacher walkout.

It was free to children in kindergarten through sixth grade and included breakfast and lunch. Within the first few days more than 500 children attended the impromptu day camp.

“We are making the commitment that we are here to provide hope for as long as we can,” said Burbank.

Monday, April 30 – Arizona 360 traveled to the Capitol in Phoenix, where lawmakers began considering a spending bill to boost teacher pay. #RedforEd supporters continued to rally outside as legislators met, chanting their demands.

“I’m incredibly disappointed to see there’s no new sustainable revenue sources. One of the basic demands of this group,” Democratic Rep. Athena Salman said from the House floor.

Outside the Capitol, Tyler Kiecolt, an elementary school teacher, explained that their protests go beyond the need for teacher raises.

“What we definitely want is for our kids to have safe schools, and access to curriculum and access to counselors. And the funding for that does not seem to be there.”

Tuesday, May 1 – While many traditional public schools in Southern Arizona closed during the walkout, Altar Valley School District in Three Points kept its elementary and middle schools open for the duration of the walkout.

“We decided as a school that participating for one day would be best,” said Jill Haney, a fifth-grade teacher at Altar Valley Middle School.

When educators traveled to the Capitol to participate in Thursday's rally, the school used substitutes to keep classes open. Teachers returned the following day out of concern for students and families who rely on the school for meals and childcare, according to Haney.

Wednesday, May 2 – While Canyon Del Oro High School closed for the walkout, it appeared to be a normal school day in Chris Yetman's math class.

Yetman, who supported the walkout, continued to offer review sessions for students taking Advanced Placement calculus exams in a few weeks. Yetman said he wanted students to be prepared, regardless of the walkout.

“I am not being paid for any of this time,” said Yetman. “I have received zero dollars for everything I have done in the past four days.”

Yetman and his wife are both teachers, and he said their stagnant salaries caused their quality of life to decline over the years.

"It's upsetting because they obviously do so much for us. Mr. Yetman doesn't have to be here," said senior Juliana Thomas.

Senior Albert Windes said during the walkout many of his teachers posted assignments online or hosted reviews.

“Class is cancelled, but school is not out,” said Windes. “Everyone is still working.”

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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