PHOENIX: Teachers in Arizona and Colorado turned their state Capitols into a sea of red Thursday as they kicked off widespread walkouts that shut down public schools in a bid for better pay and education funding, building on educator revolt that emerged elsewhere in the U.S. but whose political prospects were not clear.

Tens of thousands of teachers wearing red shirts and holding “Money for Schools” signs launched the first-ever statewide strike by marching 2 miles in 90-degree heat to a rally at the Arizona Capitol. They plan to walk out again Friday to press lawmakers for their demands as will Colorado educators.

Educators in both states want more classroom resources and have received offers either for increased school funding or pay, but they say the money isn’t guaranteed and the efforts don’t go far enough. The walkouts are the climax of an uprising that spread from West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

Most of Arizona’s public schools will be closed the rest of the week, and about half of all Colorado students will see their schools shuttered over the two days as teachers take up the Arizona movement’s #RedforEd mantle.

“I feel like funding for the schools should be at the top of the list,” said Brandon Hartley, a charter school teacher from the Phoenix suburb of Peoria who brought his 7-year-old son to the Arizona rally.

Other parents who brought their children to the protest in Phoenix expressed support despite school closures that led makeshift day care operations to open at schools and recreation centers to help working parents. Food banks and some schools also were providing free meals that many students rely on.

Mariaelena Sandoval brought her 11-year-old daughter and held a sign that said, “I’m a Republican, I’m voting and I’m #RedforEd.” She said she had a “wake-up call” when she learned a teacher paid out of pocket for a field trip.

“I’m walking for her,” Sandoval said of her daughter.

The crowd, many of whom carried water jugs and umbrellas to combat the heat, streamed through the streets of downtown Phoenix as employees at courthouses and office buildings left work to watch. Phoenix Police Department estimated the crowd size at 50,000.

In much cooler Colorado, several thousand educators rallied around the Capitol, with many using personal time to attend two days of protests expected to draw as many as 10,000 demonstrators. They chanted, “Education is our right” and “We’re not gonna take it anymore,” getting honks from passing cars.