Something seems to be brewing in red-state land after a long time. Workers are sensing their own power, and teachers unions in several states are considering following the example of a wildcat strike by West Virginia teachers:
Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, issued a statement Tuesday evening saying local leaders of the organization had been consulted and they agreed "the work action is over and our schools will reopen tomorrow."
Lee said teachers across all 55 West Virginia counties had stood "in solidarity" until they won a 5 percent raise approved by lawmakers. Lee added, "without them, today's agreement would not have happened." [...]
West Virginia's teachers have been among the lowest paid in the nation and haven't had a salary increase in four years. Teachers had been on strike since Feb. 22. — abcnews.go.com/...
Oklahoma's largest teacher union says "schools will shut down" if a pay raise for teachers is not approved by April 23.
“We have to be really smart and really strategic, and we have to give the (state) Legislature time to pass something,” said David DuVall, executive director of the Oklahoma Education Association, which announced the deadline on Tuesday. [...]
A Facebook group called "Oklahoma Teacher Walkout — The Time Is Now!" that was created last week had more than 40,700 members Monday evening.
That date seems to be in flux and may move up to an earlier date after several teachers hopped on social media to say it should be earlier than April. The teacher’s union will have a press conference on Thursday to announce more details. Oklahoma teachers are considering a wildcat strike because of years of inaction and bad faith by the OK legislature:
Dank, a third-grade teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, gained national attention after she began panhandling to raise money for her classroom. Like many other teachers in a state with some of the lowest education spending in the country, Dank was at her wit’s end. Her frustration came to a head two weeks ago, following yet another failed legislative attempt to increase teacher pay. And so she started an online petition, asking for signatures from those who would support a walkout by teachers. Soon another Oklahoma teacher named Alberto Morejon launched a Facebook group to mobilize fellow educators for a walkout, quickly drawing tens of thousands of members. — theintercept.com/...
In West Virginia, students and teachers supported each other, knowing that well-funded education systems are essential for the state’s success. So many students in West Virginia rely on school lunches for food that teachers organize pantries and soup kitchens for their student bodies:
Back to Oklahoma:
"What spurred this momentum was so many teachers across the state are at their wit's end," said Teresa Danks, a third-grade teacher in Tulsa who is also the founder of the nonprofit Begging for Education. "No bills have been passed in favor of teacher pay or funding, the frustration and low morale has continued to grow. We're losing teachers like crazy to other states." — www.cnn.com/...
Education funding levels in several states have not recovered after the financial crisis. Oklahoma is in the worst shape and schools in over 100 counties in Oklahoma are only open four days a week.
House Bill 1033, part of the Step Up Oklahoma Plan would have funded a teachers’ pay raise, but it has not passed.
Teachers in Arizona are considering a work-stoppage and are protesting today by wearing red to school. Support their movement at #RedForEd.
Arizona teachers are wearing red to school Wednesday in protest of the state's low pay, a main factor they say has driven thousands of qualified educators out of the classroom.
A group of Arizona teachers spontaneously organized the #RedForEd grassroots effort — which has spurred talks on social media of a possible strike — over the weekend. Thousands of the state's classroom teachers are expected to participate. — www.azcentral.com/...
Arizona ranks 50th out of 50 states when it comes to median teachers’ pay (adjusted for cost of living).
For Resha Gentry-Ballance, the murmurs started online. A few days ago, her colleague shared a Facebook post about the teacher strike in West Virginia. Email chains and social media threads followed. Soon Gentry-Ballance, who leads the classroom teachers' association in the Phoenix Union High School District, was listening as a coworker explained the mobilizing strategies that made West Virginia’s strike successful.
“Everyone in West Virginia walked out,” Gentry-Ballance said, as if in disbelief. “It was a huge, big statewide action. To get that kind of support, that’s really amazing.” [...]
Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas says that Ducey’s plan is too little, too late.
“The governor has had four years to come up with a long-term plan, and I don’t see it — I see in the year that he’s about to be re-elected a plan to put some available dollars into districts,” Thomas said in an interview on Monday. “Districts have needed those dollars every year he’s been in office.”