Thousands  of  Virginia  instructors  march  to  state  capitol  requiring  more  funding,  much better  incomes

Thousands of Virginia instructors march to state capitol requiring more funding, much better incomes

By Anne Rowe for DPS board, February 9, 2019

Thousands of Virginia teachers left their class and rallied in Richmond on Monday to demand more education financing and higher incomes. Educators gathered in front of the state capitol constructing, just as their fellow educators did during strikes and rallies last year in West Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, and North Carolina.

Virginia Educators United (VEU), which organized Monday’s rally, wants schools to have appropriate assistance staff, such as nurses and social workers, competitive wages for assistance personnel, improved school infrastructure, and better recruitment and retention of top quality teachers. VEU urged teachers to take a individual day to participate in the rally.

“I simply think it’s one of those things where we have been waiting patiently and we always state, the [Great Economic Downturn] this, the economic crisis that. That was 2008; we put on’t have time to wait any longer so we requirement to fund education now,” Kevin Hickerson, president of the Fairfax Education Association, informed ThinkProgress. 

Hickerson stated that in Fairfax, like lots of other school districts throughout the nation, it’s typical for instructors to be working two or 3 tasks in order to make ends meet. The district requires to take additional steps to guarantee assistance workers, such as custodians, bus chauffeurs, and cafeteria workers, can afford to live in the neighborhoods in which they work.

In an analysis of states’ funding formulas by the Education Law Center and Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education, Virginia got a grade of “F” on its funding distribution. Virginia’s average instructor wage is a little less than average at $56,861, compared to $58,353, but in the Richmond area, the average teacher salary is just $51,064, state data programs. According to the National Education Association, Virginia ranks 34 th in the country in average instructor pay.

Salaries aren’t the just factor instructors decided to demonstration; the schools themselves desperately requirement enhancements, according to Hickerson.

“Our facilities needs a lot of upgrades and enhancements. When you put on’t take care of things now in terms of buildings, they just expense more later on down the line. We need to upgrade our buildings and we requirement to get out of trailers,” he said. “We have close to a thousand trailers here in Fairfax County and I wear’t desire my daughter going into a trailer to discover and I don’t desire other kids to likewise have that experience.”

Hickerson included that there are mold problems, heating problems, and leaks in trailers and on top of that, trailers might not be the safest place for students to find out.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) proposed a 5 percent pay boost for teachers and $268.7 million in new cash for public schools in December. Republican leaders in the house of delegates have stated they assistance a 5 percent pay raise. The Republican-controlled state senate has said it wants more versatility for how local federal governments invest increased education funding.

When asked why Virginia instructors aren’t all set for a statewide strike like other states, Hickerson stated that in addition to legal problems teachers might encounter due to public staff member strikes being forbidden, the upcoming state elections present an opportunity to make change.

“I think we have a golden opportunity this election season with both our chambers up for quote in the house and the senate. I think we have a excellent opportunity to get public education-friendly prospects into those seats,” he said. “I think there is a great chance we can turn the home and the senate and bring public education to the forefront where we wear’t necessarily requirement those strikes and cumulative action that makes us eliminate ourselves from our job. That doesn’t mean we stop lobbying or the momentum we started but at the same time that’s where we need to be putting our time and effort right now.” 

Teachers unions haven’t called back their concerns about school funding after the 2018 statewide strikes. In Los Angeles, teachers went on strike for a week and won major concessions. Some of the improvements consist of a 50 percent decrease in standardized testing, turning 30 schools into community schools, and making sure that schools have nurses working five days a week.

This month, Denver teachers voted to go on strike after more than a year of negotiations. Educators there desire to modification their performance-based settlement system, which they say is complicated and limits opportunities for some teachers to improve their pay.

There are likewise continuous conversations of work interruptions in West Virginia and Oakland, California. In West Virginia, the state senate sophisticated education legislation that welcomes school option, something teachers unions have opposed. West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee told the press, “everything is on the table” when asked if another instructor walkout would occur in reaction to the legislation.

In Oakland, Ismael Armendariz, vice president of the Oakland Education Association, said the L.A. strike has stimulated instructors, who have been working without a contract given that 2017 and are asking for a 12 percent pay boost over 3 years.

“One thing that resonated with our members is that when you combat, you win,” Armendariz said.