Tucson teachers are ramping up their RedForEd protests in the coming weeks. Organizers are continuing to schedule walk-ins on Wednesday mornings and now they're adding "Stand-Out" protests.
"I'm so intensely proud to be part of this movement. I think the theme song for this movement is we're not going to take it anymore," said Marea Jenness.
Jenness is a Biology teacher at Tucson High -- 16 years now.
She said factoring in cost of living increases, her pay is lower now than when she was first hired. "Now I'm a master teacher. I'm national board certified and I can't pay my bills. I'm making 20 percent less than I was 16 years ago."
Jenness is spearheading the Tucson #RedforEd movement. Right now, teachers are gearing up for a "Stand Out" as seen in Oklahoma. The demonstrations will start in the Amphi District on April 17th -- after-school -- from 4 to 7. "Every big street corner on Oracle from Wilds in Catalina to Grant in Tucson is going to have teachers in red with signs asking for the teacher's support," she said.
TUSD teachers will follow the next week -- April 25th -- with protests along Broadway. "Same deal from downtown all the way out to Houghton road,"
Jenness is also working with the organizers who are planning this year's Labor Day -- May First -- March and Rally. She said this year, they're focusing on the RedforEd movement and she trying to fly in one of the striking teachers from Oklahoma "to inspire us. And to give us the reality of what it means to fight that hard for our jobs and public education."
The battle for bigger paychecks, she said, has created a new experience -- a special bond that's building between teachers across the region. "Sometimes teachers teach in isolation. We're in our own rooms with our own kids all day. Sometimes once a week we get together in professional learning communities. But now I feel super connected to all the other teachers in Southern Arizona and it's a really powerful feeling."
On display all around Southern Arizona.