“They’ll tell you one thing and turn around and do another”
West Virginia teachers denounce attack on public education
20 February 2019
Teachers across West Virginia walked out of their classrooms on Monday in a strike against a bill circulating in the state legislature that would divert funding from public schools.
Leaders of the state trade unions focused their opposition on the Republican-sponsored Senate Bill 451, which would create seven charter schools in the state and create a voucher program to finance private schools.
The unions had called for support for a version of the bill different in degree, but not kind, pushed by Democrats in the state House. This would also have opened the door to charter schools, but not vouchers and some other measures. Both versions would provide a paltry five percent raise to teachers while disregarding spiraling health care costs, large class sizes and decrepit facilities.
Whether sponsored by Republicans or Democrats, the bills are overwhelmingly opposed by West Virginia teachers, who last year waged a nine-day statewide strike that coalesced out of wildcat walkouts.
Last year’s struggle of West Virginia teachers was betrayed by the trade unions, which sent teachers back to work with bogus promises of legislative reforms to benefit public education. Instead, as the bills circulating in the state legislature show, the ending of that strike only bought time for politicians of both parties to launch new attacks.
World Socialist Web Site Teachers Newsletter reporters spoke to striking teachers who gathered in Charleston, the state capital.
Sandy, a service employee, said she was participating “to fight this bill. I feel bad for the community and bad for the kids. My dad lives in Florida, where they have…