Teacher  strikes:  What’s  next  in  your  state

Teacher strikes: What’s next in your state

By Anne Rowe for DPS board, February 1, 2019

The Los Angeles teachers’ strike is behind us, but more tension lies ahead: Teachers in Virginia plan to rally at the Capitol on Monday for more education funding. Back in California, Oakland instructors will vote this week on whether to strike.

In Denver, a strike planned for Monday is on hold, pending a possible state intervention. In West Virginia, Republicans kicked off another face-off with instructors after GOP leaders drafted legislation that would tie brand-new pay raises to limits on unions, bigger class sizes and a sweeping enactment of school option.

All this comes on the heels of walkouts and strikes by teachers in 2018.

What instructors want

In general: higher incomes, smaller class sizes, more support personnel and more regard. Over the past decade and a half, demands on instructors in terms of screening and responsibility have actually gone up while their pay and authority have not.

“The complexity of our tasks is that our working conditions are the kids’ knowing conditions,” stated Daniel Jocz, a high school history instructor in Los Angeles and a 2016 California Teacher of the Year.

The day after the strike, Jocz, 39, subbed for a coworker’s class period and found himself attempting to control 42 sixth-grade students in one space.

“That many sixth-graders is stressful,” he stated. “Now picture that on a larger scale, where you’ve got kids speaking multiple languages and all requiring help.”


Los Angeles teachers, who strategy to strike Monday, want pay raises. However they’re also asking for smaller classes. A instructor discusses how crowded it gets.

Labor is having a minute. Will it last?

Teacher walkouts in Republican-controlled states such as West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona last year garnered nationwide attention. Normally, the teachers gained pay increases and extra cash for schools. Then came Los Angeles, an massive metropolitan school system in a blue state. A 6 percent pay increase over two years for instructors was mainly settled prior to the strike began, which freed instructors to campaign for extra resources, such as more school nurses and smaller class sizes – which they won.

“We are restoring neighborhood,” stated Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation for Teachers. “What you’re seeing is a labor movement that is knowing how to ended up being a motion again.”


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

The wins may be short-term. West Virginia teachers won a 5 percent pay raise after a statewide strike last year, however Republicans unveiled draft legislation Jan. 24 that would tie additional pay raises to larger class sizes. The expense would send out more money to personal schools and charter schools, which would be licensed in West Virginia for the very first time.

Mike Antonucci, who scrutinizes unions for the nonprofit education news website The 74, said a second coming of labor has actually been heralded before, “only to see more school option and right-to-work laws enacted, and the unionization rates drop.”

Teachers unions are “over-promising what they can accomplish,” he said.

More: Even when instructors strike, Americans provide them high grades, poll programs. Unions fare worse.

More cash for schools. Maybe.

Lawmakers in numerous red states are offering to increase education spending – a pivot from several years ago when the party looked for to cut school budget plans.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp proposed a $3,000 salary increase for instructors to aid with retention, he said. 

The Texas Senate proposed a $5,000 raise for instructors. New Mexico legislators proposed funneling more money into public schools and boosting the base pay of mid-career teachers from about $44,000 per year to $50,000.

Related: Teachers love their jobs but can’t pay their bills, poll reveals

In Florida, legislators are thinking about whether to give schools more versatility on how to pay instructors. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, proposed a state budget plan last week that includes $347 million more for schools over last year’s amount.

Will the increases take place?

Proposals are one thing; death them into law is another.

For example, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb urged districts to raise teacher pay, however the proposition doesn’t set aside extra loan to fund those boosts.

More on Indiana: Teacher walkout possible if General Assembly neglects pay problem

Teachers in workplace: Wins by Tony Evers, Jahana Hayes, Okla. teachers show ‘new beginning’

Richard Ingersoll, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education who studies the educator labor force, stated he’s hesitant.

“It’s extremely hard to increase salaries due to the fact that there are so numerous instructors,” he said.

Pensions and benefits costs are a problem

As America battles with how much to pay instructors, health care costs and pensions consume up loan that could go towards raises or class.

In Los Angeles, staff member benefit costs increased 138 percent from 2001 to 2016, census information show.

“Teacher incomes have not kept up with inflation over the previous 20 years, but overall settlement has,” said Chad Aldeman, a senior associate partner at the nonpartisan think tank Bellwether Education Partners.

School districts and states should satisfy the assures they made to older and retired employees, while the very same benefits are cut for new employees.

“As of today, it’s the worst time to ended up being a instructor in terms of advantages,” Aldeman stated.

How to offer with it?

  • Holcomb, Indiana’s Republican guv, proposed paying off part of the education system’s pension liability to totally free up about $70 million in school budgets.
  • Arizona started needing instructors and public workers to make higher payroll contributions into their pensions. 
  • Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed questionable legislation in 2017 that guides freshly hired instructors into 401(k)-style plans rather than pension systems.

Contributing: Nicquel Terry Ellis, USA TODAY; Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star

Education protection at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Structure does not offer editorial input.

Read or Share this story: https://www. usatoday.com/story/news/education/2019/01/26/teacher-strike-denver-oakland-west-virginia-virginia/2680582002/