Immigration to Be Central Focus in Arizona’s Teachers Strike

Teacher Kassandra Dominguez, organizer of the #RedForEd rally at the Arizona Capitol, speaks to several hundred teachers protesting low pay on March 21, 2018. (Photo: Tom Tingle/The Republic)

Payday Senior Labor Reporter Mike Elk filed a dispatch from Phoenix from the Guardian:

Unlike West Virginia or Oklahoma, the issues of immigration will probably take center stage in Arizona, as nearly 45% of the school system’s students are Latino and more than half of Arizona’s public school students hail from communities of color.

The state – which has passed tough immigration laws in recent years – has been successfully sued for attempting to ban Mexican-American studies in schools under threat of defunding school programs.

People say “let’s not bring the race into this discussion”, said the Arizona congressman Raúl Grijalva. “‘It’s simply about a conservative state and their teachers.’ Well, it’s much more complex. Some of the strongest support you are having is from Latino schools and Latino parents.”

Grijalava said the Arizona teachers strike was calling out the racism that he believes is at the core of the underfunding of schools in the Latino community.

“It might not be overt [racism], but it’s certainly covert,” said Grijalva.

Go to the Guardian to read the full story. 


About the Author

Mike Elk
A Sidney-award winning labor reporter, Mike Elk is the founder of Payday Report and also covers labor and immigration for The Guardian. In 2015, he was illegally fired for union organizing as Politico’s senior labor reporter and used his $70,000 NLRB settlement to start Payday. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh He can be reached at

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