West Virginia teachers strike, This time, it’s not about pay raises – News


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 almost each college within the state for the second time in a yr. However this time, lecturers aren’t preventing for pay raises. They’re protesting Republican efforts to denationalise public schooling.

Union leaders known as for a strike Monday night after Republicans senators voted for a invoice that may open the door to permitting the primary constitution faculties in West Virginia. Which means a number of the cash earmarked for public faculties can be diverted to fund privately run constitution faculties, homeschooling, and on-line lessons. The schooling invoice would additionally make it simpler to fireside 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 predicted to vote on the invoice Tuesday afternoon.

“The state Senate is attempting for a second time this yr to ram by way of a so-called schooling invoice that defunds public schooling, retaliates in opposition to 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 faculties,” 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 schooling invoice additionally consists of cash for pay raises and extra nurses and faculty workers. However lecturers say they received’t permit the state to start out privatizing public schooling simply to allow them to get a increase. They need legislators to scrap the invoice and begin over.

So as an alternative of going to class, 1000’s of lecturers crowded the Capitol constructing in West Virginia Tuesday morning to specific their disgust.

This newest coordinated motion comes almost a yr after West Virginia lecturers launched a profitable nine-day strike in February 2018 to extend trainer salaries — a transfer that rippled throughout the nation and fueled comparable strikes in six states. And the development 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 muscular tissues once more, exhibiting politicians that they’re keen to struggle for greater than a pay increase.

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

A complete of 35,000 educators and faculty 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 have been offended that they hadn’t obtained an across-the-board wage increase since 2014, and have been among the many lowest-paid lecturers within the nation. The common trainer wage within the state was $44,701 in 2016, in accordance with the Nationwide Training 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. Because of this, public faculties have been shedding hundreds of thousands of {dollars} a yr in state cash, which is the primary supply of funding for native faculties, adopted by native property taxes. The state of West Virginia now spends 11.four % much less per pupil than it did earlier than the financial system tanked in 2008.

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So West Virginia lecturers went on strike, shutting down all 680 public faculties within the state for 9 days. The walkout resulted in March, after the governor and state leaders agreed to provide lecturers what they wished: a 5 % increase and a maintain on growing medical health insurance premiums.

Underpaid lecturers throughout the nation have been watching.

Greater than 100,000 public college lecturers in six states have walked out of sophistication since, rebelling in opposition to years of stagnant wages, crumbling infrastructure, and deep price range cuts to schooling. The strikes in Arizona, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, California, and Colorado had broad public help, forcing state lawmakers to lift pay and fueling a nationwide motion to spice up funding in public schooling.

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


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