It’s been a year since the 2018 teacher strike known as “Red4Ed” that took place in West Virginia, as well as several other states across the nation. The movement was protesting education legislation that teachers feel is more focused on outside sources than the betterment of the schools as a whole. In addition, educators are asking for higher pay and better insurance. The movement lasted for 13 days last year, leaving many students without their usual teachers. Because educators feel their voices still have not been heard, they are going on strike again, according to USA Today.
The state-wide walkout in West Virginia last year earned educators a 5 percent pay raise, which comes out to about a $2,000 increase per teacher. English teacher Katie Endicott from Mingo Central Comprehensive High School expressed her frustration that educators still feel their voices have not been heard. She added that they will march for as long as necessary to ensure change takes place.
“It’s really disheartening to see the process play out and to see that people are using public education as a form of retaliation. But, at the same time, we’re really resolved in the fight and we’re not going to back down. We’re not going to quit because we know that the future of public education is at stake.”
New legislation proposed on Monday will transform the landscape of West Virginia education. While the bill would increase funding for public schools, it would also allow for the establishment of charter schools in a state that currently has none. If this bill is passed, money would be drawn from public education accounts to be used towards private and online schooling. It would make private school more affordable for parents across the state. Teachers feel that is would be an inappropriate use of public funding.
Almost a year after West Virginia teachers and other school employees shut down schools across the state, demanding higher pay and better benefits, union officials announced Monday night they would go on strike again https://t.co/1SeBELwf6U pic.twitter.com/LB4na4PUMa
— CNN (@CNN) February 19, 2019
The strike caused the state to cancel school in almost every country on Tuesday. Republican Senator Mitch Carmichael feels that this movement is only disadvantaging thousands of students who are simply trying to go to class, according to NPR.
“After years of ruining our state’s public education system, the teacher union bosses have finally lost their grip on the Legislature and seemingly have lost their grip on reality. Locking our students out of schools because the teachers union bosses have lost is an embarrassment for our state.”
Furthermore, legislators feel that it is premature for teachers to take such drastic action to protest a bill that has only just been announced.