School’s Out for Striking
Over the past decade alone, teachers’ salaries have fallen by 4.5%. In cities like Los Angeles, student-teacher ratios can reach an average of 37-1. Charter school initiatives, driven by investments from billionaires and dwindling public education budgets, are only hurting public school teachers. In West Virginia, where over 22,000 teachers went on strike last February, they still haven’t won a comfortable living wage or the healthcare benefits they demanded – but they have learned the power that lies in collective labor action, and even went on a one-day strike again earlier this year to halt state legislation that would have introduced the first charter schools to the state.
In short, organized labor action is on the rise again for the first time since the 1970s, and this time teachers are at the vanguard. This means hostility from wealthy private school proponents, resistance from austerity-minded political bodies, and, sometimes, violence from law enforcement. MuckRock is tracking how state education departments, local school boards, and district administrators have been handling the strikes, and we hope to continue filing in states, towns and counties where teachers are standing up for the basic dignity and compensation they deserve. Check out the articles and existing requests to gain some insight into what is at stake in each of the strikes that we’ve covered, or file a new request to add to this project.