West Virginia’s most recent statewide teacher walkout came and went so quickly there was too little time and attention to comprehend and appreciate the impact the teachers’ actions will likely have long-term on changing the narrative of the teacher movement and how politically progressive advocates and candidates relate to it. In the very first day of the strike, teachers squelched new state legislation they objected to and then held out an additional day to ensure it would die. The day after schools reopened, the teachers got what they wanted—a “clean” bill increasing teacher pay five percent.But, unlike their largely successful labor action from last year, this time the teachers weren’t making pocketbook issues the focal points of their demands. Instead, it was all about stopping school privatization through charter schools and a new voucher program. The point of the strike was to oppose a Senate bill that included bringing charters and a voucher program to the state even though the measure included the pay raise teachers wanted. Teachers accompanied their protests in the capitol building with chants of “Hey-hey, ho-ho, charter schools have got to go.” This was a huge gamble for the teachers, not only because they risked a… Read full this story
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