CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Almost a year to the day after West Virginia teachers went on a strike that released a national “Red4Ed” movement, they’re doing it again.
Teachers and school support workers lined streets outside schools with picket signs and jam-packed the state Capitol for the very first day of a walkout Tuesday over complicated education legislation that they view as lacking their input and as retaliation for last year’s strike.
How long this one goes on will be a everyday choice, leaders of 3 unions for instructors and school service employees stated at a news conference Monday.
“We are left with no other option,” stated Fred Albert, president of the American Federation of Educators’ West Virginia chapter.
The 2018 walkout launched the nationwide movement that included strikes in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Washington state, and more recently, Los Angeles and Denver. Teachers in Oakland, California, have licensed a strike starting Thursday.
Now the movement has come complete circle.
Nearly all of West Virginia’s 55 counties called off public school classes Tuesday. The only county where class were open was in Putnam County, where school parking lots were almost empty anyway. A couple of cars and trucks trickled in to drop trainees off however no buses were seen.
Teachers from neighboring counties joined Putnam County instructors on the picket line as drivers honked their support.
Teachers’ unions oppose complex legislation under consideration that, amongst other things, would produce the state’s first charter schools and allow education cost savings accounts for moms and dads to pay for private school.
“Our trainees are first and are not for sale,” said Poca High School English teacher Meghan Stevens. “We think in the power of public education.”
The unions have stated lawmakers never asked for their insight into what has actually ended up being a rushed process in the Senate, which directly passed an modified expense Monday night. The House of Delegates was set to take up the expense again Tuesday.
West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee stated based on the Senate’s actions, “it appears that they are more interested in listening to the outside interests than they are the educators across West Virginia.”
“We will work as carefully as we can to get a resolution, but at this point, there doesn’t seem to be a resolution.”
One sticking point has been a arrangement to produce the state’s initially charter schools, which the unions think would erode standard public education but expense advocates state would provide moms and dads more school options. Charter school laws have actually been enacted in 43 other states and Washington, D.C.
The Senate variation would permit for up to 7 charter schools statewide and offer for up to 1,000 education savings accounts for moms and dads to pay for personal school. The accounts would be for special-needs trainees and those who have actually been bullied.
The House variation does not call for such cost savings accounts and would limit charter schools to one each in Cabell and Kanawha counties.
Gov. Jim Justice said Tuesday he would veto the bill if it consists of the cost savings accounts and more than two charter schools. He was crucial of how the Senate handled the legislation.
“What they’re doing is dead incorrect,” Justice stated. “It’s lunacy to me.”
Among other things, the Senate gotten rid of an earlier clause that would invalidate the entire legislation if any part is struck down.
Senate President Mitch Carmichael stated the expense discovered a middle ground and has “great arrangements.” It would give teachers extra 5 percent pay raises on top of 5 percent raises they received after last year’s strike.
Carmichael stated the costs’s goal is “getting our education system out of the doldrums.”
“Why would anybody desire to stand in the status quo and stay in the previous?” he said.