An unprecedented wave of public school teacher walkouts and strikes, impossible to consider even a few months ago, is overturning assumptions that teachers and other public school workers are either apolitical or fearful to act.
In February of 2018, public school educators in West Virginia kicked off what is now an undeniable movement of teacher strikes across the U.S. Starting first with a few school closings and then a few counties, teacher actions in WV quickly evolved into a nine-day public school walkout shutting down all 55 school districts across the entire state. Abysmal teacher pay was of course an issue, but WV educators stayed out on strike fighting rising healthcare costs and other issues, all the while making sure students missing school were fed and looked after. Now educators in Oklahoma and Kentucky are walking out over per pupil funding and pension plans, respectively. It appears Arizona could be up next.
By any measure of workplace dignity, NC is not very different from these red state upstarts. We have done more with less for a decade. Despite repeated pleas for full funding, we continue to languish at 43rd in the nation for per pupil spending, but continuously cut taxes for the rich, cut government spending and refuse to spend available tax surpluses on programs that directly benefit children and families, namely public schools and healthcare.
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