“Everybody needs to go on strike”
Charleston, West Virginia residents support teachers fighting to defend public education
23 February 2019
Teachers in West Virginia were back in classes this week after their second strike in less than a year was sabotaged by the unions, including the West Virginia Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers – West Virginia. The strike was called off in coordination with the national American Federation of Teachers to make sure that it would not overlap with the strike initiated by thousands of teachers in Oakland, California.
While the state legislature, which is controlled by the Republican Party, retreated on far-reaching attacks on public education, including the introduction of for-profit charter schools, this is only temporary. All of the basic issues for which teachers went on strike last year remain unresolved: underfunded schools, large class sizes, low wages and poor health insurance.
Republican State Senator Craig Blair, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told The Journal that similar legislation would be considered in next year’s legislative session. “A year from now we will have had time enough for the public and our education community to digest what was in Senate Bill 451 and understand that it is a really advanced idea in the beginning for being able to allow the flexibility in the classrooms and a better education system,” Blair said.
A bill which provides for a five percent wage increase for teachers, part of “clean bill” supported by Republican Governor Jim Justice, a billionaire coal baron who campaigned for office as a Democrat, is making its way through the legislature after being passed by the House on Friday.
The pay raise is expected to be taken up by…