West Virginia teachers strike, This time, it’s not about pay raises, what we know


West Virginia lecturers strike, This time, it’s not about pay raises.

West Virginia lecturers are livid with state lawmakers — once more.

About 19,000 lecturers walked off the job on Tuesday, closing down practically each faculty within the state for the second time in a yr. However this time, lecturers should not combating for pay raises. They’re protesting Republican efforts to denationalise public training.

Union leaders referred to as for a strike Monday night after Republicans senators voted for a invoice that will open the door to permitting the primary constitution colleges in West Virginia. Meaning among the cash earmarked for public colleges could be diverted to fund privately run constitution colleges, homeschooling, and on-line courses. The training invoice would additionally make it simpler to fireplace lecturers with out contemplating seniority throughout layoffs.

Senators handed the invoice with a slim 18-16 majority and despatched it to the Home of Delegates. The chamber is anticipated to vote on the invoice Tuesday afternoon.

“The state Senate is attempting for a second time this yr to ram via a so-called training invoice that defunds public training, retaliates towards lecturers who stood up for his or her college students final yr, and seems to be pushed by outdoors rich pursuits like People for Prosperity that, like [Education Secretary] Betsy DeVos, wish to get rid of public colleges,” stated Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Lecturers, in an announcement Monday.

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The backlash caught some lawmakers off guard, contemplating that the training invoice additionally contains cash for pay raises and extra nurses and college workers. However lecturers say they received’t enable the state to start out privatizing public training simply to allow them to get a elevate. They need legislators to scrap the invoice and begin over.

So as an alternative of going to class, hundreds of lecturers crowded the Capitol constructing in West Virginia Tuesday morning to specific their disgust.

This newest coordinated motion comes practically a yr after West Virginia lecturers launched a profitable nine-day strike in February 2018 to extend instructor salaries — a transfer that rippled throughout the nation and fueled comparable strikes in six states. And the pattern continues in 2019: Lecturers in Los Angeles went on strike in January, Denver lecturers walked out of sophistication final week, and Oakland, California, lecturers plan to strike on Thursday.

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Now educators in West Virginia are flexing their muscle tissues once more, exhibiting politicians that they’re keen to battle for greater than a pay elevate.

The nationwide lecturers revolt started in West Virginia
Public faculty lecturers in West Virginia began a nationwide motion after they launched a significant strike final February.

A complete of 35,000 educators and college workers didn’t present up for work throughout the stoppage, including as much as a complete of 318,600 misplaced workdays.

Lecturers within the state had been offended that they hadn’t acquired an across-the-board wage elevate since 2014, and had been among the many lowest-paid lecturers within the nation. The common instructor wage within the state was $44,701 in 2016, in response to the Nationwide Schooling Affiliation, making West Virginia 48th within the nation.

Lawmakers, each Democrat and Republican, have been slicing company and enterprise taxes for greater than a decade. In consequence, public colleges have been shedding tens of millions of {dollars} a yr in state cash, which is the principle supply of funding for native colleges, adopted by native property taxes. The state of West Virginia now spends 11.four p.c much less per pupil than it did earlier than the economic system tanked in 2008.

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So West Virginia lecturers went on strike, shutting down all 680 public colleges within the state for 9 days. The walkout led to March, after the governor and state leaders agreed to present lecturers what they needed: a 5 p.c elevate and a maintain on rising medical insurance premiums.

Underpaid lecturers throughout the nation had been watching.

Greater than 100,000 public faculty lecturers in six states have walked out of sophistication since, rebelling towards years of stagnant wages, crumbling infrastructure, and deep finances cuts to training. The strikes in Arizona, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, California, and Colorado had broad public assist, forcing state lawmakers to boost pay and fueling a nationwide motion to spice up funding in public training.

Now West Virginia’s lecturers have began one other battle. Whether or not their technique will work a second time continues to be unclear.


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