“We are tired of waiting”
West Virginia teachers demand quality pay, health care
23 February 2018
Thousands of teachers, students, public employees and their supporters participated in a demonstration in Charleston, West Virginia on Thursday, the first day of a two-day teacher walkout throughout the state.
Those participating in the rally expressed great determination to oppose a derisory pay increase passed by the West Virginia legislature and the starving of the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA).
The WSWS spoke to many of those participating in the rally.
Kay Shirey, a guidance counselor at Eastern Greenbrier Middle School, said, “We were here 30-years ago fighting the same battles. They keep saying, ‘wait we will fix this.’ We are tired of waiting.
“I am fighting for the future of West Virginia. I want the kids to have qualified teachers. We can’t get qualified teachers now. We have over 700 unfilled positions now, and we will have more next year.
“Their solution is to dumb down the standards, and that is hurting the students. For years they have been saying, ‘We have to hold the kids to high standards.’ Now they just want to dumb everything down.”
Ty Braenwich has just started as an 8th grade Social Studies teacher also at Eastern Greenbrier Middle School. “I went to West Virginia University. Out of my class, most of the graduates took jobs in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Virginia. I am the only one who stayed in West Virginia.
“We work hard. It’s not just in the classroom. We are preparing lesson plans, grading papers, getting ready for our day. Yesterday, I worked from 7 am to 6 pm and still took work home with me.
“We are living…